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Shakespeare in South Africa: The Future

Shakespeare in South Africa -- page 10

Shakespeare's direct influence on South African cultural development, starting with the missionaries and ending with Umabatha is over, and will not come again. Individual artists will probably continue to make use of him from time to time. Nadine Gordimer's novel My Son's Story (1991) has been moved into the realm of women re-writing Shakespeare, in this case Othello, courtesy of the work of Marianne Novy (cf. Novy 1999, 2001) and Thomas Cartelli (1999). Several of Andr" Brink's best-known novels, such as Looking on Darkness (1975) and An Instant in the Wind (1976), bear testimony to his prolonged preoccupation with Shakespeare (Diale 2002). Geoffrey Haresnape has recently published a collection of stories in which Africa writes and re-writes Shakespeare (Haresnape 1999). Many South African poets have produced Shakespeare-inspired poems (see Gray 1997, for a sampling). The visual artists have not been idle: one thinks, for instance of the late Lucky Sibiya's series of Macbeth prints in the Fort Hare Art Gallery, or Cecil Skotnes's woodcuts for Stephen Gray's edition of Plaatje's Mhudi (1978). There is the remarkable ballet Hamlet, choreographed by Veronica Paeper with music by Peter Klatzow (1992), which apparently caused something of a sensation when the Cape Town Ballet took it to Sadler's Wells. And so the process of transfiguration will probably go on.

Institute for the Study of English in Africa
 Rhodes University
 January 2003


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