Post-Apartheid Hybridity Discourse and the Narrative Distinctions of Duiker’s Thirteen Cents

Michael D'Itri


K. Sello Duiker’s first novel, Thirteen Cents (2000), concludes with a fantastical apocalypse on Table Mountain that has most commonly been read by critics as the climax of a bildungsroman about Azure’s empowerment, overcoming of adversity, and esoteric self-knowledge among the lingering phantasmagoria of post-apartheid Cape Town. This article insists that to read the novel’s apocalypse sequence as a part of a bildungsroman is to ignore that Azure increasingly appeals to patterns of domination, violence and re-victimization that have been previously inflicted on him. Azure’s conjured apocalypse, this article also argues, embraces a form of hybridity which resembles Homi K. Bhabha’s elucidation of the term, and which is hence politically disengaged from the realities of racial difference in post-apartheid South Africa. Duiker thus employs a critical narrative model to counter uncritically homogenizing theorizations of hybridity.


hybridity; Duiker; South Africa; post-apartheid; Bhabha; bildungsroman; nation; race

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