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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Protest and commitment in Bessie Head's utopia
Author:Ogwude, Sophia ObiajuluISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:South Africa
About person:Bessie Amelia Head (1937-1986)ISNI
Abstract:Some writers argue that, in spite of the brutalization, degradation, alienation, and exile black South Africans suffered at the hands of the whites, there is no sustained, prophetic, imaginative, utopian, futuristic literature emanating from black South Africa. Bessie Head's first three major works, however, which were published in a very quick succession (1968, 1972, 1974) point to the contrary. The starting point for the utopian writer is usually his or her present sociopolitical reality - aspects of which s/he must find unacceptable, and so satirize. The writer's aim is usually to present a vision for a better future. Bessie Head is a visionary writer who asserts her favoured values and ideologies in her artistic creations. She uses utopia to two ends; first to protest and then to correct by providing qualitatively better alternatives to the act of living in South Africa. Head's protest mission has unfortunately been glossed over by many because her obvious concerns belie the real issues she deals with in her works. Ironically, a study of the novelist's aesthetics more readily reveals her social and political commitment. Bibliogr.