Ecocritical Motif And Contemporary Challenges In Zakes Mdas Novels

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Issues on development have taken the central stage in post-apartheid literature in South Africa. Writers have tried to preempt developmental needs to cushion the adverse effect of apartheid. Zakes Mda is one of the leading novelists in this regard. Out of his popular works on various thematic concerns of post-apartheid South Africa, three were selected for this study, viz The Heart of Redness, Ways of Dying and The Whale Caller. This study aimed at exploring post-apartheid developmental challenges explored in the selected novels and the possible consequences of the options available on the environment using ecocriticism. The objectives of the study were to: (i) explain the centrality of nature in the exposition of Xhosa’s culture in Mda’s novels; (ii) examine how metaphor of land is central to the socio-economic challenges of modern South Africa explored in the novels; (iii) assess the divergence on the type of development suitable to post-apartheid South Africa; (iv) interrogate how Mda mediates between nature and modernity to canvass a new approach to peaceful co-existence in South Africa and; and (v) evaluate how human characters in Mda’s selected novels relate to other natural phenomena. rnrnThe methodology was descriptive; mainly textual analysis. The study therefore adopted deep ecology model propounded by Naess, Devall and Sessions to bring out how literature and the environment relate in Mda’s literary works. The researcher sourced for information from the internet and the library. The choice of Mda’s novels were based on the novelist exploration of modern challenges encountered in post-apartheid South Africa and the centrality of natural resources on issues related to development in South Africa. rnThe findings of this study were that:rni. Mda portrays Xhosa peoples’ socio-economic and belief systems as products of their interaction with the natural environment;rnii. land issues created the two conflicting groups of believers in the traditional ethos and unbelievers which originated from the colonial era;rniii. Mda portrays Zim and Qukezwa as upholders of traditional culture (believers) while Bhonco and Xoliswa (unbelievers) represent foreign concept; rniv. the novelist creates an interface between the two extreme groups of believers and unbelievers to channel a course for an ecological friendly development for South Africa; andrnv. Mda metaphorically reunites human and non-human characters of nature through dialogue to achieve an all-encompassing development.rn rnThe study concluded that to facilitate a nature friendly development as Mda canvasses a conscious adoption of the values Africans attach to the environment (they dwell in) should not be compromised. This is imperative because any replication of the apartheid wanton abuse of the environment for commercial appropriation shall portend worst consequences than the despotic regime. The study thus recommended that in order to mitigate the effect of the apartheid experience on South Africans, the reviewers of African novels should emphasise cultural based development in the region

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Ecocritical Motif And Contemporary Challenges In Zakes Mdas  Novels