Kopano Matlwa’s Novelistic Discourse Alongside The Aging of Post-Apartheid South Africa
The paper seeks to track the moulting of Kopano Matlwa’s socio-political commentary on South Africa’s post-independence life, as represented in her fiction.Matlwa is a black South African writer writing in English. Due to the patriarchy of the apartheid system that oppressed black people in South Africa before independence that was attained in 1994, Matlwa is one of the South African writers who were doubly oppressed as both black and female. For these reasons, her voice that started to emerge in 2007 with her debut novel is important to focus on, especially as her literary project engages with socio-political dimensions brought about by the new democratic government. The writer intends to glean evidence of the novelist’s stylistic and thematic evolution. This will be done through a critique of literary analyses of Matlwa’s work from the days of her acclaimed debut novel whenmany critics lauded her contribution, including Spencer (2009). The paper's approach is that of looking longitudinally at Matlwa’s literary development from Coconut (2007) through to the thematic and textual aspects of her second and penultimate novels Spilt Milk (2010) and Period Pain (2016) respectively. Among commentary on Matlwa’s latter works I will discuss my analytical observations on her ouvre in the context of the views of critics such asMcCabe (2020) and Montle (2022). The central theory I intend to apply to my consideration of Matlwa’s artistry is ecocriticism. I will adopt the perspective of the writersRoorda (2001), Hoving (2017), as well as Ogbazi and Udeh (2020) who, together with other theorists, have helped characterise and refine the theory of ecocriticism since its inception and coagulation of the 1990s.
Keywords - African humanism, Ecocriticism, Kopano Matlwa, Post-apartheid South Africa, South African Literature