Black Consciousness and South Africa’s National Literature

  • Tom Penfold

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Tom Penfold
    Pages 1-16
  3. Tom Penfold
    Pages 17-40
  4. Tom Penfold
    Pages 91-111
  5. Tom Penfold
    Pages 113-136
  6. Tom Penfold
    Pages 137-144
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 145-149

About this book


“A compelling account of the development of Black Consciousness as a cultural phenomenon, which complements and extends existing intellectual and literary histories. Ranging from BC’s 1970s heyday to its contemporary legacy, this timely study includes illuminating discussion of key Soweto Poets and their post-apartheid successors, whom Penfold strikingly dubs ‘Poets of No Sure Place’. A significant contribution to South African studies.”
--Dr Peter Blair, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Chester, UK

This book analyses Black Consciousness poetry and theatre from the 1970s through to the present. South Africa’s literature, like its history, has been beset by disagreement and contradiction, and has been consistently difficult to pin down as one, united entity. Much existing criticism on South Africa’s national literature has attempted to overcome these divisions by discussing material written from a variety of different subject positions together. This book argues that Black Consciousness desired a new South Africa where African and European cultures were valued equally, and writers could represent both as they wished. Thus, a body of literature was created that addressed a range of audiences and imagined the South African nation in different ways. This book explores Black Consciousness in order to demonstrate how South African writers have responded in various ways to the changing history and politics of their country.


National literature Cultural ideology Poetry Steve Biko Postcolonial

Authors and affiliations

  • Tom Penfold
    • 1
  1. 1.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

Bibliographic information