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    Migrant masculinities and spatial transformation in recent South African and Zimbabwean fiction
    (University of Zululand, 2023) Phakathi, Blessing; Akpome, Aghogho & Ndabayakhe, Vuyiswa
    This study foregrounds the links between migrant masculinities and spatial transformation in recent South African and Zimbabwean fiction written by women authors. Using various postcolonial theories dealing with masculinity, I argue that the authors of the selected novels suggest that changes in the performance of masculinity by their main male characters are linked with movement between different socio-cultural spaces. This means that the male character’s sense of self and his performance of masculinity are influenced by the status of his migrancy. The novels reveal that various degrees of migrancy influence the performance of masculinities both in private and public spaces. Migrancy between two cities in the same country, between rural and urban spaces in the same country, between one urban space in one country to another country, are determinants of the resultant masculinities constructed and performed in the respective spaces. Using Nkealah’s (2014) idea of absented presences, I also demonstrate the ways in which the chosen texts foreground the performance of masculinities by women in households headed by single women where there are no men. The major significance of the study is its uses of literary and cultural analysis to shed light on the endemic crisis of problematic masculinities currently facing communities across South Africa and Zimbabwe.
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    Contesting identities: a study of the nexus between double-consciousness and belonging in Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017); Samira Ahmed’s Love, Hate & Other Filters (2018) and Gloria Chao’s American Panda (2018)
    (University of Zululand, 2022) Mbiba, Lizwe; Mafu, L.
    This study’s purpose is to interrogate the connection that exists between double-consciousness, belonging and identity among minority ethnic groups in the modern American society. The study also analyses how those Americans who are not predominantly white Americans and have ethnic origins in some parts of the world like Asian and African continents, seem to live less fulfilling lives and resultantly writhe with prejudices and segregation in their quest to achieve the full potential of their lives. The end result of this process is an existential crisis that is directly linked to their contradictory identities. It is in the study that the researcher also asks how societal as well as familial expectations and stereotypes impact on the identity of their members leading to dualism of character (double-consciousness). The focus of this research is thus to analyse the link between the individual, family, societal values and how this complement and influence each other in the formation of identity and belongingness to that particular society.
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    The body as a prison in late medieval and renaissance literature: carceral metaphors of gender and other constructs
    (University of Zululand, 2023) Ringwood, Frances Mary; Addison, C A
    The following dissertation entitled The Idea of the Body as a Prison in Renaissance and Medieval Literature: Carceral Metaphors of Gender and Other Constructs uses close reading to explore the idea of the body as a prison for the soul in selected texts. Writers including Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, William Shakespeare, John Webster, and John Milton use the idea creatively to explore themes such as gender, misogyny, love, suicide, theodicy, disability and fame. In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer uses the idea of the body as a prison to demonstrate how Criseyde’s body could feel like a prison because of the social strictures governing her life. Donne uses the idea of the body as a prison playfully in his erotic poetry to show how spiritual love can act as a form of release from the body’s prison. His sermons, on the other hand, adhere more strictly to religious prescriptions about the body being prisonlike because the faithful ought to want to escape its association with death and be reborn into everlasting life. Chaucer and Donne approached the idea of the body as a prison in a circumspect manner, but there were other writers who did not, and in misogynistic discourse the idea of the body as a prison was transformed into a woman-hating trope so that a female body is depicted as a snare for a man, often leading him into the trap of marriage. La Roman de la Rose and The Romaunt of the Rose contain many examples of these misogynist tropes. Ben Jonson’s Epicene, or The Silent Woman is a Renaissance play that rehearses the same misogynist ideas. Medieval feminist Christine de Pizan and female literary characters, such as Chaucer’s Wife of Bath in the Canterbury Tales and Noah’s Wife in The Wakefield Noah challenge misogynistic pigeonholing of women by insisting on using their voices to quarrel with woman haters, travelling outside the home, and showing sympathy for other oppressed women. Marriage was not always seen as a trap for a man and in Chaucer’s ‘Nun’s Priest’s Tale’ the wife provides and helps facilitate release for the husband. In Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Claudio sees death as a prison because he would rather be alive with Juliet. Then, in The Winter’s Tale, Hermione withholds her presence from her misogynistic husband, Leontes, until he fully reforms himself and provides acceptable restitution. Hermione is a wife whose transformation from a supposed statue releases Leontes from his guilt. Webster’s Duchess of Malfi is a similar but more forthright example of a transcendent feminist (according to Iris Marion Young’s definition of “transcendence”) for she refuses to let her brothers turn her body into her prison. Milton’s preoccupation with the idea of the body as a prison is initially used to interrogate gender and sexuality in his Comus. However, after he lost his sight later in his career, he changed his approach so that the metaphor of the body as a prison revealed his own responses to theodicy and his blindness in Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes. C S Lewis has, in his analysis of romance allegory, shown that the metaphor of the body as a prison was used in that genre to paint the inner, psychological world of various romance writers. His ideas have not been applied to Milton’s work, or the writings of any of the other Renaissance authors discussed here. He does apply his analyses to Chaucer’s chivalric romances and the Roman, but with less focus on women than that of this research. Therefore, The Body as a Prison in Late Medieval and Renaissance Literature: Carceral Metaphors of Gender and Other Constructs represents a novel contribution to scholarship on the idea of the body as a prison for the soul because of its feminist underpinning.
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    Protest in the poetry of Dennis Brutus and Ogaga Ifowodo
    (2022) Ogbinaka, Mark Ovuokerie
    This study examines how the poetry of Dennis Brutus of South Africa and Ogaga Ifowodo from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has embodied protest literature by fostering the political and social struggles of their times. The study discovers parallels in the work of these two poets, despite the distance between them in region and period. It offers fresh insights into the notion of protest literature in different societies. This is achieved through a postcolonial and analytical evaluation of selected works by both poets. Brutus began to protest against apartheid in the late 1950s and continued until the mid-1990s, while Ifowodo started his protest against the military interface in politics in the late 1980s and continues today. The research examines the works of these poets not only critically, but also in the light of the different socio-political and historical conditions which engendered them. A deepened knowledge of postcolonial poetry in the related literature showsthat protest is the meeting point between these two important postcolonial regions (South Africa and Nigeria). The study reads the key prison poetry of the two poets in dialogue as several aspects of their struggle with solitude and other types of suffering offer insights into each other that have not been observed before. Furthermore, their versification and responses to the people’s plight through poetry demonstrate many parallel themes concerning the oppression, deprivation and unjust arrest and detention that people experienced in the apartheid era as well as in recent times in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This work, apart from undertaking a comprehensive study of the poetry of Brutus and Ifowodo from an analytical point of view, has also been instrumental in contributing robustly to the ongoing discourse on postcolonial literature in Africa.
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    Challenges Posed by the Use of English as the Language of Learning and Teaching in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) high schools.
    (Univeristy of Zululand, 2021) Cele-Sangweni, Esther Emily
    This study set out to investigate factors behind the poor academic performance of Grade 12 learners in the township schools of KwaZulu-Natal. The research was conducted in 12 public high schools of the Department of Basic Education in the districts of Umlazi and Pinetown. The enquiry was prompted by the observation that learners from township schools often struggle to do well in both the Matric examinations and at first year university studies, yet official reports of learner performance give the impression that Grade 12 learners’ academic performance is improving. The study posited that the relatively poor academic performance is a result of a myriad of factors that make learning a struggle for South African township learners. It postulated that these factors included the use of English as a medium of learning and teaching among second language speakers of the language, learners’ social and economic circumstances, their learning and home environments, and their psychological attitudes or conditions. However, the main focus of the study was the use of English as a medium of learning and teaching. Therefore, the theoretical foundation of the study was the question of language competence and language use, especially in South African education. The study adopted Noam Chomsky’s theory of Transformational Generative Grammar as well as later modifications of the theory as its framework.The core of the study was linguistic and communicative competence. It emphasised that for township high school learners to perform well academically they need to master the language of learning and teaching in the following crucial areas: vocabulary and grammatical rules that allow for understanding and creative production of the language; the four language skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening; all forms of the communicative systems that work in language; and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) which will enable them to understand and use the formal language register of classroom discourse and textbooks, as well as to think analytically and critically to solve problems, to use their imagination and engage in inductive and deductive reasoning. Using a Mixed Methods approach, the study found that, although on paper, all South African children have access to education, for learners in the townships, learning is an on-going struggle. The poor and unstable living, social and school conditions in which they live and learn do not allow them to acquire the linguistic competences required of them to learn and be taught in English, especially since they are taught English First Additional Language which is regarded as inferior to English Home Language taught in former Model C schools. These conditions do not promote excellent academic development and achievement, neither are they conducive to cognitive development and learning. In spite of this, the majority of learners, educators and parents preferred that English, which is perceived as a high status language with power, ‘linguistic capital’ and functional value, be used as the medium of learning and teaching. The study asserts that as long as English remains the medium of instruction, without additional English language support, the majority of learners from township and rural schools who write the Grade 12 examinations will not be competent enough in English to be successfully able to learn and be examined in it. Therefore, the study suggests that, for these learners to do well in the Matric examination and first year university, special interventions should be introduced. The study proposes that these could include identifying and gaining a deeper understanding of the hurdles that confront township learners; introducing creative teaching and learning approaches as well as language choices and uses that could solve some of the linguistic and learning problems. The study proposes an intervention education model whose aim would be to develop learners holistically and prepare them to perform well in the Grade 12 examination and first year university studies.
University of Zululand