‘Imagine Someone Speaking as They Speak’: Linguistic Divide and Convoluted Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nadine Gordimer’s Apartheid-Era Work

Michael Andindilile


This essay revisits Nadine Gordimer’s apartheid-era fiction to examine how the representation of a range of discourses in her fiction constitutes a means through which she appraises apartheid engendered cross-cultural relations and exchange. Using Gordimer’s The Lying Days (1953) - her inaugural novel, The Conservationist (1972) - her sixth, and July’s People (1981) - her eighth out of her nine apartheid-era novels as examples, the essay argues that Gordimer’s treatise of apartheid and its divisive policies is manifested in her attempt to embody African discourses in her apartheid-era fiction. It also demonstrates how skewed cross-cultural exchange stems from both divisive policies and the inability to develop mutually beneficial indigenous culture.


Cultural Translation; apartheid; cross-cultural exchange

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