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Title:Love in the time of mirrors: the real and the imaginary in Zakes Mda's 'The Sculptors of Mapungubwe'
Author:Sewlall, HarryISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
literary criticism
About person:Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda (1948-)ISNI
Abstract:In his acceptance speech for the Oliver Schreiner Prize in 1997, Zakes Mda, while repudiating the influence of Latin-American magic realism in his fiction, went on to validate the presence of the real and the unreal in his works as an expression of a quintessentially African world-view (1997). In 'The Sculptors of Mapungubwe' (2013), Mda conjures up the mythic aura of an ancient civilization that existed around the year '1223 CE' in the precincts of Mapungubwe in Southern Africa. In recuperating the past, the novel sets in motion a contemporary dialectic on issues such as artistic freedom in a politically intolerant society, our ecological and ethical responsibility for other life forms that share our planet, attitudes towards homoeroticism, and above all, corruption in government circles and how it taints the rest of society. This article postulates that the appeal of 'The Sculptors of Mapungubwe' lies in its dual conception - as a work of popular fiction on one level, imbricated in the mythical, and as an artistic chronotope on the other, attesting to the contrary states of human nature across time and space. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]