This study deals with a particular kind of short story in South African English literature - a kind of story variously called the fireside tale, tall tale,
skaz narrative or (the term used here) the 'oral-style' story. Most famously exemplified in the Oom Schalk Lourens narratives of Herman Charles Bosman, the oral-style story has its roots in the hunting tale and camp-fire yarn of the nineteenth century and has dozens of exponents in South African literature, most of them long forgotten. Here this neglect has been addressed.
Tales at the Outspan (1862) provides a point of departure, and is followed by discussions of works by William Charles Scully, Percy FitzPatrick, Ernest Glanville, Perceval Gibbon, Francis Carey Slater, Pauline Smith, and Aegidius Jean Blignaut, all of whom used the oral-style story genre.
In the work of Herman Charles Bosman, however, the South African oral-style story comes into its own. In his Oom Schalk Lourens figure is invested all of the complexity and 'double-voicedness' that was latent - and largely dormant - in the earlier works. Bosman demonstrates his sophistication particularly in his metafictional use of the oral-style story.
The study concludes with a discussion of the use of oral forms in the work of more recent black writers - among them Bessie Head, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, and Njabulo Ndebele.
One of the most striking features of cultural life in South Africa has been the extent to which one area of cultural practice - theatre - has more than any other testified to the present condition of the country, now in transition between its colonial past and a decolonized future. But in what sense and how far does the critical force of theatre in South Africa as a mode of intervention continue?
In the immediate post-election moment, theatre seemed to be pursuing an escapist, nostalgic route, relieved of its historical burden of protest and opposition. But, as the contributors to this volume show, new voices have been emerging, and a more complex politics of the theatre, involving feminist and gay initiatives, physical theatre, festival theatre and theatre-for-education, has become apparent.
Both new and familiar players in South African theatre studies from around the world here respond to or anticipate the altered conditions of the country, while exploring the notion that theatre continues to 'intervene.' This broad focus enables a wide and stimulating range of approaches: contributors examine strategies of intervention among audiences, theatres, established and fledgling writers, canonical and new texts, traditional and innovative critical perspectives. The book concludes with four recent interviews with influential practitioners about the meaning and future of theatre in South Africa: Athol Fugard, Fatima Dike, Reza de Wet, and Janet Suzman.