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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The white English-speaking South Africans: 'bastards', 'wimps', 'ghosts with ears', or something else again?
Author:Foley, A.
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:English-speaking South Africans
English language
Abstract:Yvonne Banning's article on the position of the WESSA (white English-speaking South African) in contemporary drama, published in 'The English Academy Review' of 1989, joins a long tradition of clumsy hatchet jobs performed by WESSAs upon their own group. The present author's intention is to redress this situation by supplying a more precise and comprehensive delineation of the identity and role of contemporary WESSAs through a detailed examination of their position within the wider sociopolitical structure of South Africa. In particular, he intends to debunk certain myths which have come to be associated with the WESSA group as a whole (the myths of the WESSA as a bastard, a whimp or a 'ghost with ears'). He shows that the WESSA's identity crisis is the result of the fact that they are locked into a situation of intense intergroup tension and violence, with no effective control over the government, alienated from the source of their cultural heritage, and isolated and marginalized within the social structure. Finally, his reply to Banning's account of the role of WESSAs in contemporary South African English literature shows that it is incoherent in at least three ways: in its reductive analysis of the plays selected; in its disregard for the contribution made by WESSAs in the wider literary context of the plays; and in its unrepresentative selection of texts dealing with the contemporary dilemmas and responses of WESSAs. Bibliogr., notes, ref.