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Reconstituting the self and the burden of belonging in the Native Commissioner (2006) by Shaun Johnson

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dc.contributor.advisor Levey, David Nyoni, Knowledge 2019-05-23T10:55:09Z 2019-05-23T10:55:09Z 2017-08
dc.identifier.citation Nyoni, Knowledge (2017) Reconstituting the self and the burden of belonging in the Native Commissioner (2006) by Shaun Johnson, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <>
dc.description.abstract Post-apartheid writing has been characterized by an ardent search for a voice that truly depicts the painful apartheid past. The establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) promoted a confessional mode of writing as a means to obtaining healing, hence reconstitution. Such a paradigm shift in writing necessitated imagined characters to re-invent and re-align themselves with the new post-apartheid dispensation if they were to remain relevant to South African readership. Reinvention of characters is made possible through several means and various organs of reconstitution such as history, narration, possession of one’s landscape and a disavowal of belonging as depicted in The Native Commissioner. This study seeks to examine the process of self-constitution undergone by the co-protagonist and surrogate narrator, Sam Jameson, following his failure to function as an individual and father in post-apartheid South Africa. To this end, a close reading of the novel is done, to better understand the context of Sam’s trauma. The study traces the self-reconstitutive process of Sam from the moment he decides to re-visit his father’s past, to the moment when he finds release from the trauma. I argue that an investigation of his father’s life, as well as his, ultimately gives him agency over his own. Sam’s identity shifts from his childhood past, in which apartheid exerts primary influence, to that of an adult who lives in the post-apartheid moment, having come to terms with his past. Telling his story, to him becomes an act of re-creation and self-invention and the means by which he formulates his own identity. At the end of the story, it is a totally liberated individual that the reader witnesses. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource ( 122 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Autobiography en
dc.subject Apartheid en
dc.subject Biography en
dc.subject Cityscape en
dc.subject Confession en
dc.subject Ecocriticism en
dc.subject Environment en
dc.subject Landscape en
dc.subject Identity en
dc.subject Mindscape en
dc.subject Self-reconstitution en
dc.subject Shaun Johnson en
dc.subject The Native Commissioner en
dc.subject.ddc 823.92
dc.subject.lcsh Johnson, Shaun en
dc.subject.lcsh Apartheid -- South Africa -- Fiction en
dc.subject.lcsh Self in literature en
dc.subject.lcsh Self-perception in literature en
dc.title Reconstituting the self and the burden of belonging in the Native Commissioner (2006) by Shaun Johnson en
dc.type Dissertation en
dc.description.department English Studies en M.A. (English)

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