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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Literature and social justice: poetic voices and the quest for a just society in Namibia
Author:Malaba, MbongeniISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:Namibia
English language
social justice
national liberation struggles
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131752.2015.1034945
Abstract:This article analyses six anthologies of Namibian poetry dating from 1982 until 2005. It first discusses the role of poetry as a means of raising the political consciousness of participants in the Namibian war of liberation, and the tension between party-political propaganda and aesthetic merit. Due cognizance is taken of SWAPO's resolution to declare English as the official language at Independence, and the article explores the use of the English language in early and contemporary black Namibian poetry. The central focus is on evaluating the representation of issues relating to the quest for social justice in South West Africa/Namibia. This focus highlights the presence of 'the five faces of oppression' identified by Iris Young (in Sharon Gewirtz. 1998. Conceptualising social justice in education: mapping the territory. Journal of Educational Policy 13 (4): 469-470) in both the colonial and neo-colonial eras. Selected poems from the chosen anthologies representing the SWAPO cadres are analysed in relation to the colonial era. These deal with the motivations of various recruits, who were propelled by the desire to fight colonial injustice, which was manifested in the exploitation and marginalization of the black people of Namibia. Their sense of powerlessness led to the adoption of military force in the battle against imperialism, as violence seemed the only means through which political freedom could be attained. However, the defeat of the South African forces did not lead to an end to the exploitation: the new ruling elite seemed determined to preserve political privileges, rather than to pursue the original goals of the revolution. Selected poems from the more recent anthologies express the ongoing need to fight for equality, freedom and an end to exploitation in the political, economic and domestic spheres. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]