Identifying National Identities in Jabulani Mngadi’s Inaugural Novel, Imiyalezo
Keywords:identities, idealised identities, national identities, hybridisation, double consciousness
This article aims to discuss national identities as depicted by Mngadi in his debut novel, Imiyalezo (1978). Affirming du Bois’ (1903) notion of the double consciousness and Anderson’s (1983) concept of ‘imagined communities’, the article contends that the national identities are not only a depiction of the idealised past but also the author’s wrestling with the present. Just like people generally remember the good old days when they face the bad new ones, these national identities are essentially hybrid in nature, representing both the past and the present. Rooted in the backdrop of the postcolonial theory and based on the textual approach of the qualitative research method, this article asserts that Mngadi is a postcolonial writer, he ‘writes back’, rights the wrongs of the past, as he attempts to reassert the somehow lost and threatened identities of his nation and in the process speaks on behalf of the subaltern. The article provides a deep understanding of identity issues in South Africa’s post-independence epoch, with reference to Mngadi’s debut novel, and locates the significance of this novel during colonial oppression and in post-independence.
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