"Places Elsewhere, Then and Now: Allegory 'Before' and 'After' South Africa's Transition?"

2010. English Studies in Africa 53(1): 91-103.

Allegorical writing is often associated with conditions of censorship or political oppression, but the predominance of (non-allegorical) realism in apartheid-era fiction suggests that this association does not apply to ‘pre-transitional South African literature’. How, then, might we view the place of allegory in ‘post-transitional South African literature’? This article addresses this question and applies it to a set of texts (published in 2008) that contain various allegorical elements: political allegory, allegory of place and futuristic/dystopian allegory. They are Tom Eaton’s The Wading, Mandla Langa’s The Lost Colours of the Chameleon, Nthikeng Mohlele’s The Scent of Bliss and Lauren Beukes’s Moxyland.