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|Leiden University catalogue
|Reading the South Atlantic: Chile, South Africa, the Cold War, and Mark Behr's 'The Smell of Apples'
|African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)
|Mark Behr (1963-2015)
|This article focuses on the often-ignored figure of the Chilean general at the heart of Mark Behr's (in)famous post-apartheid novel 'The Smell of Apples' (1995). It asks the question: What can a Latin American general mean to the protagonist of the novel and to South Africa more generally? Analysing the forms of mimicry and doubling at play in the text, it argues that the Chilean general serves as an uncanny double whose representation helps to reveal the psychological mechanisms of acknowledgement and repression that underpinned Afrikaner support for apartheid's military regime. It further argues that Behr's concomitant use of Pinochet's Chile as an uncanny double for apartheid South Africa points to Cold War anti-communist military and political networks, routed through the United States but also existing bilaterally between Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and South Africa, that allowed for the circulation of both technologies and cultures of State-sponsored terror, and which later opened into shared modes of democratic transformation. The article ultimately poses Behr's text as a call for further readings of the South Atlantic as a zone of transit and transfer between Southern Africa and South America. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]