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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Creating new worlds in Southern Africa: Bessie Head and the question of power
Author:Brown, Lloyd W.
Periodical:Umoja: a scholarly journal of Black Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
Abstract:This article deals with Bessie Head, a South African 'Colored' novelist. Since 1946 she has lived in chosen exile in Botswana. Her three novels are set in Botswana, and on the whole her themes do reflect the exile's prevailing sense of homelessness. But in its most profound sense. Head's fiction draws significantly upon the experience of being a non-white in South Africa. Head's work as a writer is rather closely integrated with her personal life in Botswana, for she has chosen to live in a rural village, working in a farming co-operative in which political refugees of all kinds (Black and White) attempt to develop a thriving community out of Botswana's arid terrain - creating, in Head's words, 'new worlds out of nothing'. On the whole her moral intensity makes for a vigorous directness in the thematic difinitions of social systems as they now exist. But an even more impressive strength consists of her ability to create or suggest possibilities for 'new worlds' in her fictive milieu while at the same insisting on the persistence of destructive patterns of power in both that milieu and the world it imitates. Notes.