The First Two Stories

So I decided to write a second blog post for the week since I did not speak about the African literature that we will be discussing during our next seminar. I have just completed reading the literature and decided to share my thoughts with you. The first of the stories that I would like to speak about is Masande Ntshanga’s Space (2013). It took a while for me to get into this story. However, after reading it again I started to pick up on the themes of the struggles that the four main characters endure.

The story covers the adventures of four school boys while at the same time covering themes of socio-economic, political and educational sturggles experienced in poverty (Ntsepo, 2015). This is reinforced at the end of the story when it is revealed that the grey man is not an alien, but is rather CK’s father who is in a very sick state due to having contracted HIV, as well as the family’s poor economic circumstances. I found the story to be disturbing as the descriptions of the reality of poverty are unsettling. Although the story was written in a more informal manner due to the young age of the narrator, the speaker used metaphors and made observations that caused him to seem more mature. This in turn increased the sense of the reality experienced by the boys.

The next story which I read was Lidudumalingani’s Memories We Lost (2015). This story links with the previous one through its use of poverty. The central characters of this story are two siblings, one of which (the younger sister) has a mental illness. The people of the community in which they live, however, believe that she is possessed by a spirit.

I really enjoyed this story not only because I am majoring in psychology but also because I appreciated the vivid and moving descriptions written by Lidudumalingani on the struggles of mental illness. I found it particularly interesting to read about the communities’ perceptions of the young girl’s struggles, and the way in which they attempted to deal with them through more traditional methods. The structure of the story also really drew me in. The story is written in a confusing and complex manner – jumping back and forth between different periods in time, and creating ambiguity in the gender of the speaker. I believe that the author did this in order to represent the confusion experienced by those suffering with a mental disorder, as well as portray the complexity of these illnesses.

References

Lidudumalingani. (2015). Memories we lost. South Africa: Short Sharp Stories.

Ntsepo, N. (2015, June 8). Blogging the caine prize: Masande Ntshanga’s ‘space’. [Online document]. Retrieved from https://africainwords.com/2015/06/08/blogging-the-caine-prize-masande-ntshangas-space/

Ntshanga, M. (2013). Space. South Africa.

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