Plot, Structure, and Characters

Part One (earth)[1]: Childhood
Truth is not a collection of facts which can be narrated
but a landscape through which one travels in the dark.[2]

‘Beginnings fascinate me no end’, Brink says in his States of Emergency.[3] In the same novel he also writes: ‘The intimation of the end is also a preparation for entering into the dark night of the soul’.[4] This sense of how the end lies latent in the beginning is reflected in the form of A Chain of Voices, which begins in a rather unusual way for a novel, a way that we recognize from for example An Instant in the Wind or A Dry White Season; we get the cold facts of the story right from the beginning: ‘Nothing determines an end so fatally as a beginning.’[5] Thus, ‘our desire for causal completion’, which is ‘one of the strongest of interests available to the author’,[6] is met right at the beginning. A Chain of Voices starts out in the form of a report from a court of law, dated March 10, 1825. The report is set somewhat apart from the novel proper, and serves as a background to it. The report is in fact authentic, although Brink has altered parts of it to suit his purpose.[7] In an essay written ‘in the course of my research for a new novel I have been working on for some time’, Brink writes about a specific revolt (out of two that he considers especially significant), a revolt which

occurred in the remote Bokkeveld region of Worcester district in February 1825. Twelve slaves and one free man (the latter was soon discharged) were accused of murdering three white men and wounding a white woman, in an attempt to free themselves and inspire others to follow their example, with the ultimate aim of taking over the colony.

Following a rumour about new measures in connection with slavery to be promulgated in the near future, they were somehow led to believe that it would involve their emancipation. In addition, some of them had overheard their masters discussing the unbearable restrictions imposed on owners and expressing the resolve rather to shoot all their slaves than set them free.

The date of Christmas 1824 or New Year’s Day 1825 was mentioned as the Day of Liberation. When that day came and went without any sign of freedom the young slave Galant, as previously arranged with his family and comrades, killed the master with whom he had grown up as a child and the brief and violent revolt was under way.[8]

There can be no doubt that this historical incident is what Brink uses as a basis in A Chain of Voices. He further notes that ‘the slave-owner mentality exemplified in the case of 1825, still forms a main ingredient in the social and political thinking of this Government’,[9] thus making explicit an intended link with contemporary South Africa.

The novel ends in the same key as it begins, presenting the verdict and sentence which are foreshadowed in the initial ‘act of accusation’. Our sense of doom is roused by this literary technique, by the way we are prepared for the tragic end of the story at the beginning of the novel. We are also allowed to observe that the rule in this country is that the accusation and verdict is one and the same thing. Right from the start we know the consequences of this terrible system of slavery for the characters involved. All through the novel we may hope and wish for Galant to succeed, but we know all the time that this is futile. This gives us a sense of the characters merely being small pieces in a game totally beyond their control. With such a deterministic framework, it would be reasonable to suggest that the novel is concerned with the problems of free will and responsibility. However, the degree of hopelessness aroused in the reader by the court report frame may vary. It is possible to feel that

the legal facts (also) serve to bracket the narrative from the external historical world: they utterly seal the failure of the rebellion. This drastic legal closure cuts off all historical continuity and the hope for change.[10]

But the tragic outcome is completely dependent on the weaknesses of the main characters,[11] and reading the novel does not result only in a feeling of hopelessness. How can this be? The kind of hopelessness apparently implicit in the structure stems from the legal papers serving as the frame story. But the novel in between is so full of life, joy, passion, friendship and love, that a sense of hope comes across through all the misery and despite all the characters’ weaknesses, and, eventually, despite the unavoidable execution of Galant. There is no hope for Galant, it is true, but the novel must be looked upon as relevant today, or relevant in relation to some sort of temporal development. The hope is for the future, that Galant and people suffering the same fate as he, have not done so in vain. In this respect, Brink shows the existence of truly positive human qualities that can be counted on in the struggle for freedom and justice, qualities that in fact manifest themselves because of the struggle, and that would otherwise never have been discovered. However, he does not explicitly condemn any of the characters, even those with obvious deficient moral feeling. It seems as if all the characters are part of the implied author, as defined by Booth as well as by Rimmon-Kenan.[12] The governing principle could thus be said to be something along the lines of Terence: Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto: I am a man; nothing human do I count foreign to me.

In Brink’s latest novel, On the Contrary, the protagonist Estienne Barbier has a conversation with his guardian angel Jeanne D’Arc about knowing how things will end, before they do. Estienne asks,

‘And now you are telling me that I, too, will lose?’
‘You will be taken, you will die. But whether you will lose is your own choice.’
‘How can one go on if the end is certain?’
‘The end is always certain. Losing is not. And that, I should think, is more important.’
‘How did you prevail?’
‘I was contrary enough.’ Her small sad smile—in the slowly gathering light of dawn she was now visible—as she said, ‘Aide-toi, Dieu t’aidera.’[13]

Brink, through the spirit of Jeanne D’Arc, seems to claim that a just cause is more important than individual lives, or that even if one feels that one will fail or indeed has failed, one does not know how things will develop in terms of a larger historical context.[14] One may have contributed to something positive, even if one does not live to see the successful outcome personally: ‘The individual may die, but the group must remain: this is the illusion that keeps us from going mad.’[15] This seems to be a very important aspect in Brink’s thinking and forms part of the ‘apocalyptic spirit’ that Brink shares with several South African fellow-writers.[16]

The main incident in the novel, the rebellion and murder of Nicolaas van der Merwe and what followed it, is described in great detail in the court report. Every significant and insignificant detail is accounted for: ‘two guns […] one of which was without a lock’ (p. 12). One gets the feeling that by digging into these details the whole question of why the rebellion took place is pushed back. Seen in isolation, minute detail by minute detail, there is no doubt that a serious crime has been committed, for which its perpetrator(s) and accessories deserve to be punished. The case is so strong that even the ‘habit’ of Nicolaas van der Merwe’s of making Pamela (a slave woman) ‘spend the night in his house’ (p. 9) may be included without risk of obscuring the main issue: the rebellion. This is ‘The voice of Law and Order’[17] revealing itself, nothing seems hidden or forgotten. The brutality and inhumanity of the murders committed by the prisoners is self-evident. We learn that they are all sentenced to death, and—setting aside the discussion of the rights and wrongs of the death penalty—we are likely to agree to the sentence. Can anything make us understand the reasons behind these beastly acts? Is any reason objectively good enough on a moral basis to justify such extremities? Though seeming like rhetorical questions, these questions do not have easy answers, and an attempt to answer them is bound to bring out feelings and thoughts that may contradict each other. This foreshadows the dilemma of turning to violence as a means of improving your situation in An Act of Terror. In Writing in a State of Siege, Brink employs the following argument:

Something achieved through violence […] can be held only through violence.

It may also be argued that some situations become so inextricably bound up with violence that only violence can break the deadlock.

whatever road South Africa may choose in the future, whether that of violent revolution or of relatively peaceful change, there can be no victory over evil unless there is Soul-Force in the struggle, unless those of us committed to the fight against oppression and injustice are also morally superior to our adversaries.[18]

This may seem naïve. What is ‘Soul-Force’? To Brink, it seems, violence is acceptable in certain cases, and that South Africa is such a case. But the use of violence should be reserved for those who can be trusted not to take advantage of the situation. An attitude like this, of course, poses important and difficult questions: Who will fit into this category? Who shall decide this? Does the end sometimes justify the means? And if so, who is to decide when?

The form of A Chain of Voices has already been commented on, and it reflects what seems to be one of Brink’s most important tools when telling his story, namely that of contrast.[19] This principle underlies the narrative throughout the novel. According to Brink, ‘in our dangerous society almost everything is experienced in terms of either/or. The most glaring: black/white; segregation/integration, etc.…’.[20] But the use of contrast in the novel is of another kind, meant to shake the very foundations of those contrasts mentioned in the statement just quoted. As he goes on to say later in the same paragraph: ‘In such a closed situation, I suggest, intellectual activity can contribute to a defusing of the tension created by simplistic polarities by clarifying the complexity of the issues involved and by exploring other options’. The greatest contrast in the novel as a whole is one of those already mentioned, between the ‘black’ and ‘white’ perception of what really happened and the reasons behind it. The structure of the novel then, is based on the idea of contrast. Thus we are confronted with contrasts from beginning to end. The use of contrast as a tool is expressed on the thematic level largely in the conflict between justice and injustice. This conflict is frequently treated in the same way as in many modern thriller movies (for instance the Mad Max films). The basic pattern in these is that the main character at the beginning of the story experiences something so traumatic that all his later outbursts of violence are excused or even welcomed. A similar pattern is used by Brink in ;A Chain of Voices, as well as in some other of his novels. The danger inherent in this kind of structure is that the story may disappear in a romantic treatment of violence, revenge being the key word and the final goal. And, true, this may be pointed to, not perhaps directly as a weakness, but at least as a dangerous technique for a writer who wants to be taken seriously. One thing that can be said in Brink’s defence is that he is writing from a historical point of view, with a well-documented frame of reference. The situation he describes, which is also very much his own, is of a kind that calls for strong contrasts and strong feelings.

I shall now proceed to give a close reading of the novel proper, with emphasis on the chapters[21] that are narrated by the four central characters already singled out for special attention. From what they say about themselves and each other, I shall try to establish them as characters, define their relation to each other, and make an attempt to clarify what they have in them to make them act as they do, their motivations, as it were, both conscious and unconscious. I agree with Northrop Frye that people live

not directly or nakedly in nature like the animals, but within a mythological universe, a body of assumptions and beliefs developed from existential concerns. Most of this is held unconsciously, which means that our imaginations may recognize elements of it, when presented in art or literature, without consciously understanding what it is that we recognize. Practically all that we can see of this body of concern is socially conditioned and culturally inherited. Below the cultural inheritance there must be a common psychological inheritance, otherwise forms of culture and imagination outside our own traditions would not be intelligible to us.[22]

It is this ‘mythological universe’ I wish to explore, the elements of it that my imagination is able to recognize. As Frye indicates, inheritance is a keyword here, but we shall see in Brink’s novel several attempts to break out of the fate of inheritance and social conditions; we shall see that one fails, but that one, possibly two, succeed.

Before I go on I will conclude with Wellek and Warren, that ‘a poem [in a wide sense] is not an individual experience or a sum of experiences, but only a potential cause of experiences’.[23] To me, this means that I should try to point to the novel’s semantic potential and explore some of it from my own position and point of view; which is what I propose to do.

The first person we meet is Ma-Rose. Her first sentence is in sharp contrast to the court report and is like a comment on it: ‘To know is not enough. One must try to understand too’ (p. 19). This view she shares with the figure Jim in Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim. When Jim is asked in court about the facts concerning the shipwreck, he thinks to himself: ‘as if facts could explain anything!’[24] (I shall return to some more similarities between Brink and Conrad later. Apart from the obvious fact that they are both novelists, they have the colonial experience in common, which may be one reason for some of the similarities in their works). According to Ma-Rose, no one knows the truth, both slave and master are ‘Liars all. Only a free man can tell the truth’ (p. 19). She is implying that in an existential sense neither slave nor master is free, a view which is rather condescendingly referred to by one critic as a ‘liberal humanist’s assumption’.[25] I see no point in questioning the validity of her statement. The term ‘free’ is tricky to use about anyone in its literal sense, but being part of a society of slavery, even as master, must affect the human being in ways over which he has little control. This transition from the case report to the first chapter may also serve as the first example of the use of contrast in the text. It poses the question: what is truth? Is there such a thing as an objective truth, or does each and every one of us have only individual ones? This is a major theme of the novel, but it is a theme that is not developed into any kind of conclusion, other than that the ‘final’ truth consists of many subjective and contradictory truths. The question about an objective truth, however, remains unresolved.

Ma-Rose accepts the slave-master relationship. According to her ‘primitive’ and inherited view of social structure, the strong has a right to do whatever he pleases with the weak. The wise thing is to obey. She is, however, portrayed as a very wise person, somehow knowing the rebellion would have to come: ‘I could feel it coming’ (p. 170). She knows that the conditions in her country will not last forever, that the oppressed are bound, sooner or later, to assert themselves and shake off the chains of slavery. As part of nature, part of history and part of the country, she feels close to the beginning of history, to the creation of the world as she knows it; nothing changes rapidly, history is a slow process. Ma-Rose has history on her side, things will change as water changes mountains; ‘Sometimes patiently, wearing away its courses through many years; sometimes in a wild and sudden flood’ (p. 170). Calling her view of social structure ‘primitive’ may not be fair, however. The ancestors of Ma-Rose seem to have had a fairly advanced social structure:

In their communal relationships and elaborate links of mutual responsibility, with their generic love of children and respect for the aged, they cultivated a respect for human values and human worth far in advance of the materialistic West. […] At the time that the first Portuguese navigators made their voyages of discovery around the Cape of Good Hope, it is arguable that Darkest Africa was a more democratic place than the medieval Europe from which they had sailed.[26]

It is of course very difficult to find evidence to support assumptions like these, and they serve as much to describe the state of Europe as that of South Africa at that time. Nevertheless, we get a notion of what life may have been like before the Europeans made their permanent imprint on that part of the African continent, and we also get a notion of Ma-Rose’s cultural heritage. Possessing a special peacefulness, she is somehow above the trivialities, the conflicts of men. She describes man as having been created by Tsui-Goab from stone—the stones that she sees in the mountains are dead on the outside but glowing red on the inside (p. 20). This comparison emphasizes the long history of her people as well as the latent revolt behind its seemingly calm surface. ‘One might just as well try to get rid of stones.’[27] The metaphorical use of stones and rocks also gives connotations to the Bible. There this metaphor is used in several connections, and in one passage where Jesus is told to rebuke his disciples, He answered: ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’[28] Like the Disciples, Galant and his kind cannot be silenced for long; the very stones will cry out. There is a limit to the degree of oppression a person can tolerate.[29]

Ma-Rose is a very religious person, living closely in touch with the nature religion she has inherited from her ancestors. As already mentioned, she believes that man was created by Tsui-Goab. In The First Life of Adamastor, Brink elaborates a little on the myth of creation she believes in:

Tsui-Goab had first fashioned the solid rock-bed of the earth and then had broken stones from it and blown breath into them and turned them into human beings, Kanima the first man, the Ostrich Feather; and his wife Haunamaos, the Yellow Copper.[30]

(If we turn to Conrad again, in Lord Jim Marlow describes Doramin, the Malay chief, as ‘a figure of a man roughly fashioned of stone’.[31]) To get a closer look at what Ma-Rose’s religion consists of, it seems useful to look at Galant’s description of some of the stories she has passed on to him:

There are the water-weeds you’re not allowed to touch because they’re spirits of girls who offended the rain: and rain is to be treated with respect, otherwise it sends the lightning to kill you and turn you into a weed in the marsh. —There are the night-walkers running about in the dark accompanied by their owls and baboons: moving backwards, and carrying diseases to naughty children; it’s the night-walker women who come to a man in his dreams and make him hard and draw his seed from him leaving him weak and weary in the morning; and it’s the night-walker men who visit a woman in her sleep to plant the seed of dead children in her womb and turn her insides bitter so that she will never look at an ordinary man again. —There’s Tsui-Goab who made the world and all the people, and rain and sun and wind and fire; and Gaunab who lives in the night and rules over all that happens in the dark. —And there’s the Lightning Bird that scorches the grass where it settles to lay its egg which burrows into the earth in search of moisture. There it lies abiding its time, swelling and growing, until the clouds start thundering overhead again: then a new Lightning Bird is hatched. The lightning is its spittle, and the clouds its dark wings spread out over the world. —Such are the stories of Ma-Rose. (p. 37).

This rather long citation is necessary if we are to understand some of Ma-Rose’s, as well as Galant’s, religious background. The Calvinist background of Piet and Nicolaas is more familiar to us. These two different beliefs have in common a mixture of religion and myth, but there the similarities end. Ma-Rose’s religion is a nature religion that focuses on man’s place in nature, at nature’s mercy, as it were, with emphasis on the interpretation of signs and omens. Piet’s Calvinism, on the other hand, focuses on sin, salvation, and damnation; all in the hands of a stern God who shows no forgiveness for those who are not among the Elect. The point for Piet is to do what he thinks will please God, making ample room for interpretation, and not to abide by the laws of nature. Nature has become an enemy, also within oneself, in the form of sinful thoughts and desires.

Ma-Rose and her tribe used to live in the mountains and they used them as shelter from the farms. The farms look firmly settled but they are not (p. 21). Her people have been here forever, but the whites are still strangers, ‘They do not understand yet’ (p. 21). They are newcomers. Ma-Rose’s people are the Khoikhoin (‘Khoin’).[32] They are the indigenous people of the mountains. Then the white people came, Piet van der Merwe’s grandfather, to ‘tame the land’—‘but it’s no use’ (p. 21).[33] For Ma-Rose’s people, the country was not wild. They lived in it and with it, and through the ages they learnt how to come to terms with it. The whites called it wild—but they really made it wild.[34] In her youth she lived like her people have always done, but then she settled for good—first on Lagenvlei, Piet’s farm, then on Houd-den-Bek. When Piet (Nicolaas’ father) fell ill she nursed him, but his wife, Alida, sent her away again because she was jealous—‘with reason’ (p. 22). Ma-Rose knew him better than she did.

Apart from being a female counterpart to Piet, Ma-Rose is in many ways an archetypal mother figure. The prefix ‘Ma’ to her name shows that this is a general notion among the people on the farm. This is how Galant describes her:

Ma-Rose smelling of dung-fire and buchu,[35] warm as a kaross protecting you against the world, surrounding you like an attic filled with smells. Ma-Rose with her cure for every ill […] And whenever I cannot sleep she holds me close to her, uttering the sounds of a mother-hen as she caresses me[ …] Always Ma-Rose. Tied in a bundle on her back while she goes about her work, kneeling to rub the floor, or leaning over the open hearth to reach the copper pots and the black kettle, stirring me to sleep. (pp. 37–38).

To both Nicolaas and Galant, Ma-Rose was the mother figure. This is how Barend, Nicolaas’ elder brother, remembers the role of Ma-Rose in relation to Nicolaas and Galant when they were babies: ‘For most of the day he [Nicolaas] and Galant would lie side by side on a kaross beside the house, and often I saw Ma-Rose suckling them, one to each breast’ (p. 103). Later, Ma-Rose will feel ‘split in two, like an old stone falling apart. For I love them both’ (p. 176–177). Furthermore, Ma-Rose has slept with ‘all the men of these parts and from far away’ (p. 23). Sex functions as a release of tensions that otherwise may become dangerous and destructive; at the same time it provides a sense of freedom for the slaves. The sexual aspect of Ma-Rose, as well as that of other characters later in the novel, may create problems for the reader:

the only distinction between the two racial groups, other than the obvious one between masters and slaves, is that the whites experience severe sexual repression, while the nonwhites are obsessed with sex; indeed, some of the nonwhites can perceive themselves only in terms of sexual pleasure and fecundity. The undiscriminating sexuality of Ma-Rose, the slave earth mother, is endowed with an ill-defined liberatory quality, and the efficient and immediate cause of the revolt is a series of sexual transgressions by the white masters.[36]

This statement indicates a way of reading Brink’s novel that is possible to some extent and which rests on the recognition of a stereotypical use of sexual activity, exploited to the extent of serving as the sole explanation for the slave revolt. The problems raised by JanMohamed’s strongly critical statement are on three levels: first, is it true? second, if so, how does this affect the credibility of the character Ma-Rose (and other characters later in the novel)? third, is this a general weakness in Brink’s fiction? I shall deal with the first question first.

The statement does contain points that are appropriate as criticism of the novel. Brink balances on a thin line between being speculative in his use of sexuality and an attempt of converting it into an image of personal freedom and of an energy that is life-giving. If sex is viewed in this last mentioned way, it has the function of showing that the black people, though slaves, are in a sense more ‘free’ than the whites, and that the failing sexuality of the whites is a symptom in this connection. To some readers, the ‘speculative’ aspect will dominate, and thus reduce the potential of the novel. To other readers, the sexuality works as I suggest it is meant to. To an extent, however, both these one-sided readings are dependent on closing one’s eyes to the other possibility, which is still there. Why does Brink use sex in this way? A significant point in this connection is to look at Brink’s career as an author, briefly described in the introductory chapter. According to the ideals of Brink’s movement, the description of explosive subjects is one of the main duties of the author. And the most explosive subject when openly explored, in South Africa, seems to be that of sex, especially when described in a relationship between black and white, ‘because should this morality be accepted an entire political ideology will be threatened’.[37] This was true at the time when the Sestigers started their movement and is probably true also today, and not only in South Africa. In a novel like Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, for example, we find a similar linking of sexuality with politics.[38] In another essay, Brink claims that ‘the sexual in itself represents an area of “offensiveness” which seems to attract more persistent attention than many others’.[39] In this way, it seems, we should not look upon the use of sex in his novels in isolation, but as a tool for enhancing the attention to ‘what I [Brink] am most deeply involved in: the experience and expression of human freedom, and the agony of human bondage’.[40] As Brink observes, life consists basically of three central facts: ‘birth, sexual union and death’.[41] He continues:

there is indeed a profound motivation (practical, social, biological, religious, ethical, etc.) for the central position occupied by sex in human life; and so it is only logical that this should extend to the arts […] The moment somebody transgresses on this domain the community’s defence mechanisms are alerted: what is primitive in the experience challenges sophistication; the hint of the unknown is potentially offensive […] Moral emancipation, because it is such an intensely personal process, is one of the primary signs of liberation in the individual—coinciding with, or facilitating, more public manifestations, including the political.[42]

Sex then, in Brink’s novels, should be regarded as expressions of liberating forces carrying with them a metaphorical dimension that comes through as political statements. Still, these are only explanations and ‘even to explain away is to admit that something requires excuse’.[43] I cannot dismiss JanMohamed’s criticism altogether. It is possible to read the novel with a reaction like his, but it is also possible to respond differently. I believe much has to do with the attitude of the reader, and how the novel works for you. I see two ways of understanding the use of sex in the novel, then; one simple and one complex, where sexuality assumes a metaphorical dimension that gives the last scene with Galant and Hester a power and significance that far exceeds an ‘ordinary’ sexual experience; a scene that, in fact, will be absurd if not interpreted metaphorically. If the rebellion is the physical climax of the novel, the symbolic climax is that of Galant and Hester’s sexual completion. This latter way of understanding the sexuality is the one we should choose if we want to realize the full potential of the novel.

The second question raised by JanMohamed, concerning the credibility of Ma-Rose, I am afraid is not as easily answered as one might wish. The credibility of Ma-Rose as a character depends first, among many other things, one one’s way of interpreting her sexuality, and next, on the use of sex throughout the novel. She will be credible if the reader accepts and believes in the metaphorical role sex attains in the novel, although the reader may possibly still think that Brink has rather overdone this aspect of her personality.

Dealing with the broader question of the use of sex generally, it is worth noting that sex plays an equally, if not more, important role in several of Brink’s other novels, and in connection with white as well as non-white characters. Moreover, sexual relations across the race boundaries are, for obvious reasons, recurring phenomena in this respect. Another critic has written about Brink’s use of loving women as being a means to ‘close the gap between utopian ideals and the grim realities of life in South African wilderness’, to ‘build bridges across the chasms that separate people’. The same critic concludes that ‘All their efforts fail. Love remains the only solution. Our world needs a love story’.[44] If the use of sex in A Chain of Voices then, is seen as too much emphasized or as used in a stereotypical way, this would be criticism that would affect all his novels.

JanMohamed’s further claim that sexual transgression is the immediate cause for the rebellion, however, is a view that seems to me not only to reduce the potential of the novel, but also to ignore substantial parts of it. Brink’s use of sex is not restricted to functioning as a power strategy or a tool of oppression between the races. We encounter it as such also in relationships inside the white group and inside the black group.[45] I hope to show that what lies behind the rebellions is much more complex and complicated than JanMohamed’s statement seems to suggest. Some newspaper reviewers of the novel have gone even farther along this line of criticism than JanMohamed, claiming that Brink with this novel is ‘trying so hard to enlighten his benighted countrymen and himself so much the victim of their clichés [sic]’.[46] This too alludes to his use of sex, and the notion that Brink exploits traditional stories about black people’s sexual capacity (‘they have such a sense of rhythm, you know’[47]) to the extent that he really reveals himself, despite his well-intended massage, as in fact to be a man of considerable prejudice himself. This reaction, however, is in deep contrast to those reviewers who think that Galant is too much of a philosopher, preaching ‘suburban Zen’.[48] With this brief outline of critical responses to the novel I hope to have at least shown that there are many possible reactions to the sexual aspect of the novel, without saying that there is any one ‘correct’ reaction.

From sexual ambiguity we move to religious ambiguity. Ma-Rose feels old, but she ‘sprouts’ in the summer. Piet has ‘had it, and I still have life in me’ (p. 26), she can stand the country. As opposed to the white ‘newcomers’, she is ‘rooted in rock’—a Biblical allusion already touched upon that links her with Christian images, in a way drawing her into the world view of the white settlers (and, to some extent, the European reader), in the same way as the white people are sometimes drawn into Ma-Rose’s culture.[49] In the present novel, the Bible provides the dominating world-view, superseding the aboriginal myths, although they too, certainly are there. In On the Contrary, however, this is turned around. In that novel we see that the character Estienne Barbier, on a similar quest as that of Ben Du Toit in A Dry White Season, is very strongly caught up in the mythological world of the natives: he sees a unicorn, a hippogryph, even a woman being hatched from an egg right in front of his eyes; the latter occurrence seeming to be nothing out of the ordinary to his Malay slave.[50] This is a very interesting exchange of culture, but an exchange that unfortunately seems to do neither Ma-Rose nor Piet much good. Nevertheless, it may have a positive potential. This will be dealt with later.[51]

In the next chapter we meet the old and crippled Piet, the previous master of the farm. We realize that Piet in his way is as attached to the country as Ma-Rose. He has got used to it, as opposed to his wife, Alida, who clings to his paralysed body when she hears a hyena (p. 27). Her life consists of ‘nights of terror, by day an alien sun’ (p. 60). The character of Piet takes form as a kind of contrast to Ma-Rose, at the same time as they are parallel characters. They obviously represent different worlds, seemingly miles apart. But what is the use of emphasising contrasts if, as we may suppose, Brink’s aim is to show the equality and common human basis that is not recognized in the society he describes? The contrast may well be only on the surface, socially, that is, not essentially. When we try to discern what the differences and what the similarities are from a basic, human point of view, the difference between surface and depth becomes clearer. The most obvious differences are skin colour and religion. If we, as modern people, turn down skin colour as a difference of any significance, we are left with religion. And they are both religious people, Piet with his Calvinist Christianity and Ma-Rose with her nature religion. They both believe very strongly, but Piet’s religion—or rather his interpretation of it—is a religion for rulers, while Ma-Rose’s religion is more easily identified with that of the ruled, with its great respect for authority, power, and strength. He, in a way, embodies what seems to be the traditional religious Boer with his firm belief that ‘The blessing of the Lord is on us’ (p. 110), subscribing to a kind of Christianity that takes every letter of the Bible seriously, but at the same time having a rather relaxed attitude to it, an attitude that is easily condemned as hypocrisy and that has proved decisive from the very first meeting between the two continents.[52] Piet’s religion, one may argue, is among the cornerstones of apartheid. A major difference between them, then, is their different religious backgrounds.[53] The similarities, however, are perhaps greater and also on a deeper, personal level, for example their view of themselves as part of history, their sexuality, and the special way in which they seem to understand each other. Piet may be seen as the embodiment of what Brink calls the Afrikaner’s ‘two streams of experience: a positive factor, which resided in the Afrikaner’s increasing exploration of and identification with Africa; and a negative, in his attempts to assert himself—one of God’s chosen people—against others’.[54] From the outside, for example from Nicolaas’ point of view, Ma-Rose and Piet are perceived as equally strong figures. Piet’s strength is evident, ‘No one was as strong as he was’ (p. 90), but Nicolaas also describes Ma-Rose as ‘large and safe as a mountain’ (p. 80), an image of strength giving rather different connotations than the description of Piet.

As Ma-Rose is an archetypal mother or woman, Piet may be called an archetypal father or man, up to a point at least. His greatest values are the traditional masculine ones of courage, strength and hard work, and he takes the children away from his wife ‘in order to shape them to his own image’ (p. 68). He is the Old Testament God of the farm, the almighty whose words are law. He is further described as ‘a father who knew only the sjambok and the thong to overcome resistance and instil fear where respect was impossible’ (p. 67). The consequences of this kind of upbringing we may easily imagine; a child ‘broken in like a horse […] learning to obtain by stealth what would undoubtedly be denied him in open confrontation’ (p. 68). This is a kind of factor that is of paramount importance to the continuation of the development of apartheid.

Piet is, as mentioned above, a very religious man, and he cannot comprehend what he has done to deserve his present state of paralysis. He links the absurdity he feels in connection with what he takes to be God’s punishment with the story about how God killed Uzza when he touched the Ark in order to keep it from falling off the cart.[55] In his own eyes he has lived his life in accordance with God’s commandments—it is totally incomprehensible to him that he should deserve what has happened to him and his family. His religion is solely based on the Old Testament, however, and on a very personal and perhaps too nimble, though human, interpretation of it.[56] He goes through his register of sins, but he has good excuses for all of them. An experience in Cape Town foreshadows what is to become the rule rather than the exception in years to come: the chaos in the town in connection with a slave revolt (pp. 33–34). He is disgusted by the revolt, because it disturbs what he takes to be God’s intention:

For it was an awful thing that had happened, a blasphemy against God Himself who had decreed that the sons of Canaan should forever be the servants of Shem and Jafeth. (p. 34).[57]

Showing the (mis)use of the Bible in this way, Brink, according to the Jesuit Priest Pierre Gibert,

does much more than criticize a curtailed Bible that has become a tool for the repressors if not for repression as such; he in fact questions the nature of the status of the Scripture within Christianity. He shows that some constructed interpretations of the Bible may serve to wipe out peoples, cultures, and groups.[58]

As Ma-Rose glorifies the past, so does Piet. Things were easier then, one could do as one pleased provided one had the strength and power to do it. He explicitly compares the past with the Biblical passage where ‘the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bare children unto them’ (p. 29). From stories about the past, Houd-den-Bek came to represent Paradise for Piet. This image is deeply rooted in him, and he pictures himself as a kind of Adam with the right to measure everything from his own perspective (p. 30). He found his Eve in the Cape (which was her Paradise), where he went in order to, among other things, ‘fetch a wife’ (p. 30). Impressed as she was by his determination and courage, he nevertheless had to steal her (p. 32). From this point onwards, Piet is the king of his ‘Paradise’. The wedding party is an orgy in sex and alcohol which may serve as an image of the mixture of orthodox Christianity and primitive desires providing the basis for a white minority that 150 years later would introduce apartheid. At a later stage in the novel, Piet is described by Hester thus: ‘In a way the excesses of his life, however offensive or maddening at times, had been to all of us a bulwark against the end’ (p. 358).

The revolt mentioned above reveals that Piet does not feel as at home in South Africa as he wants to believe he is: ‘Home. But even home looked strange’ (p. 35). There is something underneath that he does not understand, that he is not part of. His only solution to this creeping notion is to demonstrate his power. ‘Men are scared of facing the truth even though they know it’s there.’[59] His wife, on the other hand, is tied closer to the land by the tragedy: ‘through the death of my son and the imminent death of my husband […] I had acquired a responsibility towards the place, the landscape, ours, mine’ (p. 62). It seems like the death of family members, the experience of horror, creates bonds to the land in which the experience took place. ‘This land […] gains a hold on one, even if one comes to hate or fear it. You cannot leave, for it will not leave you.’[60]

The impression one is left with after having read about him, is that, in most ways, Piet really is a failure. He cannot see that his existence is nothing more than the reflection of his own mistakes and shortcomings. Most of the time he seems primitive and even evil, but at times we may feel pity for him, as in Alida’s description of their sex-life: ‘Piet’s laborious nocturnal assault on my unresisting but negative body’ (p. 75). In his masculine world, there is no place for softness, ‘feminine’ values. He will never allow his son ‘to be a sissy’ (p. 67).

Galant is Ma-Rose’s child, in the sense that she raised him. His real mother is Lys. ‘She was a fruit, green but sweet, and they ate her’ (p. 23), as the Europeans ‘ate’ South Africa. She is portrayed as the personification of goodness, innocence, and vulnerability.[61] She comes from another country across the sea, and in her younger days was a temptation to all men at the farm, also to Piet. When her own baby dies, Ma-Rose takes over the care for Galant and breast-feeds him and Nicolaas at the same time. Lys does not want to have anything to do with her own child. When Lys gets suicidal (‘lus’ in Dutch means ‘noose’, f.ex. on a rope),[62] Piet sells her to a man on his way to Cape Town. Lys dies shortly after, whereupon Ma-Rose keeps the baby and raises it as her own. Galant then, ‘might just as well have been Piet’s’ (p. 25). Ma-Rose describes him as having ‘a streak of the devil in him’ (p. 23). This plays with our traditional use of white and black as symbols of light and darkness. In this case, the black person, Lys—which to a Scandinavian can only mean ‘light’, and to a Frenchman would mean ‘lily’, with its connotations of brightness and purity—would be most likely to represent the God-like in Galant. If Piet, the white person, is Galant’s father, he, on the other hand, would most likely be the one to represent the devil in Galant, the black darkness. ‘Galant has many fathers. No one is his father, and everybody is’ (p. 25); he represents all his possible fathers. In one way he represents all the black people, in another way he is also part of the white; an everyman in the most literal sense of the word. Just as ‘All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz’,[63] all the world appears to have contributed to the making of Galant. In The Wall of The Plague, Andrea’s brother Boetie says:

Look here, in this country you got Black and you got White. But what about us? What’s ‘Coloured’? It’s nothing, it’s neither Black nor White, just in-between sort of, and they’re squeezing us from both sides […][64]

Galant, who comes from the ‘general area that Man first became distinguished from the other primates’,[65] may thus be seen as a synthesis of two continents (if we take Piet to be his father), a mixture of heaven and hell, light and darkness. In Brink’s Looking on Darkness we find something similar, in the main character’s exploration of his own past. His eighteenth century ancestor Adam is a result of a rape of his Malay mother by a white man. In that novel, this event is linked metaphorically to the Biblical story in Genesis mentioned earlier in connection with Piet, where ‘[…] the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them […]’,[66] but more explicitly than in A Chain of Voices: the white man is clearly symbolizing a son of God while the Malay woman symbolizes a daughter of man. The product of this combination is a half-god. This situation, and Brink’s way of describing it, is an allusion not only to the Bible, but it also gives connotations to the myth of Leda and the Swan. In this myth, the outcome of such a combination seems to be terror, but the combination also reminds us of the fact that Jesus, too, is a synthesis of God and man. Galant is a complex figure with a special name,[67] and our expectations of a person characterised by such extreme paradoxes of strong negative and positive powers are high.

In the chapter where Galant is given voice, the contrast of religion becomes even more apparent than it has been earlier. Piet’s last words in the previous chapter were highly religious and Galant’s first words are strongly coloured by myths connected with his nature religion. He is, like Ma-Rose, very much a part of nature, feeling at home in the wilderness. His first memory of a difference between himself, the brothers Nicolaas and Barend, and Hester, is that they wore shoes on Sundays and visiting days, whereas he always walked barefoot (p. 36). He imagines himself having left invisible footprints all over the land. Gibert gives an interesting analysis of Galant:

Galant is very comparable to Moses, in the same way as the people of slavery resemble the Hebrews of Egypt: like the Hebrews the blacks have preserved the memory of a past in freedom, particularly echoed by the astonishing character Ma-Rose. Like Moses, Galant was abandoned by his mother at birth and taken into care by a white family, who let him participate in the games of childhood and youth of his future master, Nicolaas. Like Moses, Galant will keep his original religion, which in this case is a pre-Christian (or pre-Biblical) religion, thanks to his ‘nurse’, Ma-Rose. Like Moses, he will become aware of the fact that he belongs to another people, despite having been raised in a way that should have enabled him to mix with the master and his people. In this way he will discover the necessity of liberating his own people […] In this way Galant will die, like Moses on the threshold to the Promised Land, one step away from the abolishment of slavery, something he had encouraged his people to struggle for.[68]

A Biblical allusion similar to this is the parallel between Galant/Nicolaas and Cain/Abel. Like Cain and Abel, Galant and Nicolaas grew up like brothers (as they in fact maybe were). They had no feeling of inequality or difference but realised as they grew up that one of them had the blessing of God and that the other did not. Cain (Galant), the non-blessed, kills Abel (Nicolaas), the blessed. This parallel gives the conflict a dimension that involves religion and God in the question of injustice. As we read the novel we are convinced that Galant is a victim of injustice, though we may understand its background. And like Cain, Galant kills his brother, against the will of God—the white population thus seems, in fact, to have God’s blessing to act as they do. If we see Galant as parallel to Cain, he not only kills his brother, but with the very same act he also rebels against the Christian God, a God who does not react when confronted with injustice as we do, but who seems to approve of the social structure on the farms. The revolt fails and order is re-established, much to our annoyance. Just as Cain revolts against God, Galant revolts against the white domination and its religious foundation. The allusion thus emphasizes the fact that the majority of the white population at this point in history, in fact genuinely feel that the present order is protected by God. The system of segregation has its moral foundation in the Bible, and rebellion against it must be rebellion against God. Nicolaas, however, somewhat different from the majority of the white characters, is sometimes seen doubting the moral foundation of the system he is a part of, doubting what he has been told is the order of God. We see from the way this Biblical allusion involves God and points to a religiously based practice of injustice, in addition to the Biblical passage mentioned earlier that serves as its justification, that from the start Brink wishes to distinguish between the traditional religion of Europe so often misused, and a sense of ‘true’ religiousness, something common to all kinds of religions, as it were. This is where the positive potential of the clash between two world-views mentioned earlier can be found. What we see is not a condemnation of Christianity as such, but a condemnation of some possible ways of exploiting its message. When Galant at one point is described by the metaphor ‘sulphur’ (p. 174), with its strong connotations to Christian orthodoxy, the picture described above becomes even more complicated and paradoxical. In the final analysis we may deduce from all this that not only is truth subjective, but that, strangely, God is too.

Galant gives a short account of the stories Ma-Rose used to tell him (p. 37). These are mythological stories, explaining nature phenomena and the creation of the world and man. Ma-Rose is very close to him, as his substitute mother but also as a reliever of sexual tension (pp. 37–38). Then he gives a description of the work on the farm through the year; endless exhausting work, with a constant awareness of what is in store for you if you do not give your utmost. A constant and heavy working pressure is a good strategy for a master who wants to control his slaves. With so much work, it is impossible to get much time to complain, not to mention to plan a rebellion. Nevertheless, the slaves have a certain pride in showing that they are good workers: ‘When you’ve cut your way through […] all [the farms] you know you can do a man’s work’ (p. 40). In Galant’s description of the stallion he helped giving birth to and which he looks upon as his own, we may find a parallel to himself: ‘A wild creature, the very devil of a horse, meant for veld and mountains, not for yard or stable’ (p. 42). What Galant tries to do in ‘his’ first chapter, it seems, is to explain what has happened by looking at specific incidents of his childhood. The episode of the taming of the horse, for example, is important in connection with the development of his personal identity. Barend has to try first, although he is scared. When he fails, to his father’s disappointment, Nicolaas has to try. When he fails, the slave Ontong, the expert, tries, but with the same result. We see that Piet uses his whip on his own children too, when he finds it appropriate. In his joy of watching ‘his’ horse throw off these people, we observe Galant’s instinctive, basic opposition to the authorities on the farm. The horse continues throwing off the people trying to tame it, until Galant is given a chance. He, of course, manages to tame the horse (p. 44). Here he gets a feeling of what it is to tame somebody, to force him to yield, give up:

there is no feeling in me. It is as something has died inside me the moment the fury left him […] a desperate urge inside me silently shouts at him to break loose again, for God’s sake, and to gallop away to where no one, not even I, will ever find him again. But the madness has gone from him. One can see it in his eyes, moist and round and mild as any cow’s. (p. 44–45).[69]

He is sad because the horse gave in, and is not interested in it any more. This image, obviously, is supposed to say something about the feelings of the conqueror, the master—or maybe how he should feel. Galant himself is likened to a horse that cannot be tamed when Ontong says about him: ‘They [Galant and his kind] pretend to be meek, but they belong to a breed of horse that refuses to be broken’ (p. 59). Cecilia describes him looking ‘as if his eyes were free’ (p. 118).

Galant further describes how they—Barend, Nicolaas and himself—play at the dam. They play together on what seems to be equal terms, but Galant always has to go first if something looks like it might become slightly dangerous (p. 45). Anyway, the dam provides a welcome break in a life of hard work. Galant and Nicolaas are the ones who get along best, and they become parallel characters from the moment Galant tells us that ‘it is always best when Nicolaas and I are alone’ (p. 46). They ‘discovered death together’ (p. 47). As Galant sees it, what caused them to drift apart was the fact that Nicolaas was taught to read and write, while Galant was not. Neither Nicolaas nor Barend wants to teach Galant, because, as they see it, he has no use for it. When he complains to Ma-Rose, she is of course right in answering that ‘It’s just looking for trouble’ (p. 48). Galant is fascinated with the newspapers, and one day he does what is unforgivable; he steals a copy from the master. Although he does not understand anything of what is written, he senses its potential. In the same way he is very curious about the Cape. Stories about it fill him with ‘new thoughts and images’ (pp. 49–50). Both these forbidden and to him unknown things may serve as a kind of hope for a better life: ‘even slaves, they say, are allowed to keep their own shops there [at the Cape] and get rich’ (p. 50). When asked if the stories are true, Ma-Rose replies: ‘“Yes, the Cape is truly a wonderful place. But it’s not our place. It belongs to the Honkhoikwa, the White people.” “Why can’t it be ours too, Ma-Rose?” “That’s not for you to ask”’ (p. 50). In his frustration he tears the newspaper to pieces and decides that he doesn’t need anything from the white people. His ambiguous attitude to his position is evident:

Yes, go to hell. I don’t need your goddamned newspaper. And why should I write my name on clay? I know it without seeing its marks. Galant is my name.
And yet. If only someone would tell me. Show me. What have I done, what am I, to be kept in this darkness? A horse locked up in a stable. The darkness of an attic. (p. 51).

The episode of the lion is another experience to widen the gap between Galant and Nicolaas. A lion has been killing sheep and a group of men are sent out to shoot it. Nicolaas, Barend and Galant are with them. As they go, the master himself represents the lion with ‘his hair like a great mane, and shining’ (p. 51). As they approach the lion, the men are split up in groups, Galant and Nicolaas forming one group with some other slaves and Hottentots. When the lion attacks them, Nicolaas loses his nerve and runs with the lion chasing him. Galant picks up the gun Nicolaas threw away in horror and shoots the lion. All is joy. But then Nicolaas acts as if he shot the lion. Why? Galant thinks to himself: ‘Now he [Nicolaas] really is one of them. I don’t understand. Again the darkness, the attic closing in on all sides. Is there no light at all? Is there no one who will not betray me? Hester?’ (p. 53).

Hester always followed the boys during their childhood, much to the annoyance of Barend and Nicolaas, but Galant would carry her on his back in order to stop their complaints about her. Her father, who used to be foreman on Houd-den-Bek, is dead and she now lives with the master and his wife. But then, one day, Barend forbids Galant to be with them when Hester is there. This makes him feel more and more estranged and different. He feels ‘the rage building up again, a horse inside me straining against the reins to break free’ (p. 55).

Pressing hard against one of the boulders poised below me I feel it shift slightly under my weight. Putting my full force behind it I push and heave, panting heavily, trying again and again until, at last, it gives way, balanced for a moment on the edge of the ridge below, the toppling over and rolling down, gathering speed, tearing smaller rocks and stones with it, in even greater bounds, with a noise like thunder, and striking sparks from whatever gets in its way. Suppose the sparks set the grass alight? Suppose I start a mountain fire and it rages all the way down from here to the wheatlands of the farm below? Let it burn. Let it all burn down. I’ll be the maker of thunderstorms! (p. 55).

These experiences are what lay the foundations for Galant’s rebellion.

The last episode Galant recounts in this chapter is the one in the attic where they used to play. Once he went there alone in order to spy on his masters: ‘The secret lies in what they do here when they are alone; in what they are’ (p. 58). And he discovers, ‘There is no secret. There is no answer. Only the difference remains: they there, I here’ (p. 58). This shows in a nutshell the frailty and the lack of justification inherent in the system of apartheid. It also shows what feelings and what potential for destruction it contains. Galant, a man with ‘lightning in his hands’ (p. 140), is by this stage ready to do anything to escape his fate. ‘Indeed there is risk involved in unshackling the condemned.’[70]

Brink’s portrayal of Galant has been criticized too: ‘Galant, who is after all uneducated, comes across in some of his monologues as a cultured philosopher, an extremely well-spoken storyteller and finally a sophisticated lover of Hester.’[71] This is an appropriate observation, I think, and observations along the same lines can also be made of the portrayal of Ma-Rose. Brink, in a way, lends them his own voice to convey their potential, to convey their reactions within a ‘European’ line of thinking in order to make them accessible to people with a different background. This may of course be criticized as a kind of literary imperialism, Brink in a way robbing his characters of their cultural integrity. But this aspect may be exaggerated, I think, and it reveals more the fact that, as will be the case with any author in his presentation of characters, Brink to some degree interprets his characters for us.

After having ‘lost’ Barend to Piet, Alida clings all the more to Nicolaas. She does not like Piet’s way of treating children at all, and wants to save Nicolaas from the kind of upbringing his elder brother goes through—‘God, oh God, I often thought, how would he survive in Piet’s world?’ (p. 68). At the same time, Alida blames Nicolaas for the ‘loss’ of Barend. When he was born, she had to let Piet take over more of the responsibility for Barend.

Alida describes Nicolaas as frail and delicate, and as an ‘enthusiastic pupil’ (p. 68) spending ‘hours with the Bible’ (p. 69). He shows a genuine interest in religious questions. But whenever Piet found out that Nicolaas was reading instead of working, then

Nicolaas would be beaten, one of those terrible floggings in which Piet spared neither slave nor son, going on endlessly, dull voluptuous smack upon smack penetrating to wherever I [Alida] was trying to hide with the corner of dress or apron stuffed into my mouth to stifle the sobs of rage and helplessness; and salt would be rubbed into the open wounds; and at night I would have to spend hours trying delicately to detach the torn shirt from the coagulated blood disfiguring a back that once had been babyish and smooth and mine. (p. 69).

At the same time as this citation shows the conditions under which Nicolaas grew up, it also brilliantly mixes terror and suffering with the unconditional motherly love for her child, thus giving a notion of the frustration of growing up in such confusing conditions. In the same way as Galant is used as a general character in the novel, representing the non-white side of the South African society, I think we may safely postulate that Nicolaas serves as the general Boer, representing the white side. We are thus left with four archetypes: The Mother, the Father, the Black, and the White. Even if it may be argued that Piet and Ma-Rose more strongly resemble the archetypes of Man and Woman, their function in the novel from my perspective are those of Father and Mother. This also shows their relation to the other central characters of the novel.

Nicolaas, the victim of a ‘slaughter’, suggestively uses that very word as his first in his first chapter in the novel. In the scene he describes, when he watches a slaughter for the first time, we notice how Piet uses humiliation as a tool in raising his sons. It is all about proving to be a man, any shortcomings are humiliating. ‘“We’ll soon find out if he’s a man” […] Pa never missed anything. “Well, Nicolaas? […] why you suddenly looking so pale?”’ (p. 78).

Nicolaas seems to be very confused and alienated, both from his family and the country, feelings that become more and more articulated throughout the novel:

Odd names and memories presenting themselves at random: like when the fog closes in over these highlands swathing everything in its blankness—only the occasional rock or hump or shrub protruding: you know very well they must be connected in some way; hidden in the fog must be a continuous and significant landscape, yet it remains invisible. All sense relinquished long ago, leaving only a meaningless opacity. Once upon a time the sun was shining. Once upon a time there were two boys and a girl—three with Barend—once there were two boys — once a boy and a girl—once a child who got sick at a slaughtering-stone and was mocked by the others. Once upon a time there was a woman who was nobody’s mother but whom we all called Ma, Ma-Rose, who dried our tears and laughed with us, and who used to tell better stories than anyone else in the world. Once upon a time there was a dam. Once there was a mountain. Once upon a time, long long ago. The ponderous world is smothered in a fog. (p. 79).

This rather long citation contains many important elements. First, it shows the absurdity Nicolaas feels, the sense of futility, the impossibility of shaping one’s own destiny. But if we turn to Camus, as we may safely do in this connection, his influence on Brink having already been noted,[72] we find that his definition of the absurd man does not really fit Nicolaas:

he [the Absurd Man] prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. Assured of his temporally limited freedom, of his revolt devoid of future and of his mortal consciousness, he lives out his adventure within the span of his lifetime. That is his field, that is his action, which he shields from any judgement but his own […] There is but one moral code that the absurd man can accept, the one that is not separated from God: the one that is dictated.[73]

According to Camus, life is absurd and the absurd man is ignorant of this situation. But Nicolaas senses what the absurd man cannot see, that ‘the absurd does not liberate; it binds. It does not authorize all actions. Everything is permitted does not mean that nothing is forbidden’.[74] Nicolaas, it seems, is on the verge of recognizing absurdity as such, and by doing so perhaps having a chance of coming to grips with it, whereas the absurd man lives in the middle of it without realizing it. We may thus see two different parts of Camus’ thinking represented by Nicolaas and Galant, respectively. Nicolaas can be seen as having the potential of Camus’ ‘metaphysical rebel’, whereas Galant is the ‘rebel slave’:

The slave protests against the condition in which he finds himself as a man; the metaphysical rebel protests against the condition in which he finds himself as a man. The rebel slave affirms that there is something in him that will not tolerate the manner in which his master treats him; the metaphysical rebel declares that he is frustrated by the universe.[75]

Nicolaas’ rebellion has to be metaphysical, because it is an intellectual rebellion. His beliefs, which provide the basis for his interpretation of reality, are what he has difficulties with accepting. The metaphysical rebellion as defined by Camus is an attempt to assert some basic and general values, independent of religion or culture. Nicolaas’ rebellion, however, is too weak and half-hearted to last. He has not got the guts to say to his father what Louis in Rumours of Rain said to his: ‘Can’t you see I’m desperate? I’m looking for a father I can respect.’[76] Nicolaas is also so profoundly a part of a religious tradition that he manages to explain the working of things sufficiently for himself within a Christian world view. Thus we see that the first citation by Camus, more or less, comes to be a characterization of Nicolaas in the course of the novel. But he might have recognized his situation as absurd, and we see that he almost does. Then the second citation would provide us with a correct characterization. He moves from absurd to rebel and back again, thus escaping the insight he might have gained: ‘With rebellion, awareness is born.’[77] In Brink’s own terms, Nicolaas may in fact be regarded as dead long before he actually dies: ‘I believe in rebellion as a dimension of existence; in fact as a prerequisite for life.’[78]

Secondly, the citation shows that Nicolaas feels closer to Galant than to his own brother, Barend, whom he forgets to mention the first time, a slip of the tongue (which, according to Freud, always has a reason): ‘For I needed Galant. He was the only one around who was prepared implicitly to accept me as an equal’ (p. 81). The relationship between Nicolaas and Barend contains all the familiar traumas of brotherly existence: the endless competition and comparing, jealousy, fighting, hatred, and love (‘More than once I [Barend] felt like strangling them [Nicolaas and Galant]’ (p. 104)). But above all, the passage cited shows a longing for simplicity and harmony, a kind of nostalgia connected to the happy memories of his childhood, with the dam as a particularly strong image of innocence and happiness, ‘a world in itself’ (p. 82), even if we already at that stage see the beginnings of what is to develop into the rebellion. Why can’t life be like that? ‘Keep the dam out of it. Its time is past’ (p. 123), Galant thinks later. All the ingredients needed to secure a successful existence for everyone involved are there; what makes the balance tip over and engender confusion and absurdity? Is the absurd man’s way of dealing with estrangeness the only way? These are questions that are raised by implication, and perhaps answered in the same way in the course of the novel. Nicolaas, however, does not find the answers. But at the same time he does not fully adopt his father’s solutions, because he has not got what it takes (or Nicolaas has something that Piet has not).

As in Brink’s The First Life Of Adamastor, which pictures what the first meeting between a native South African tribe and the first Europeans could have been like, it is a woman, or girl, who is the cause of the first clash between black and white (as we also recognize from the story of the Fall of Man in the Bible). When reaching an age where the difference between the sexes becomes important, and being the first to reach such an age, Barend, sounding like his father, forbids Galant to swim with them as long as Hester is also there (p. 83). Nicolaas feels that Barend may be right, but then again, maybe not; again he is confused. The scene following is where the dam loses its innocence. It feels awkward to all of them that Galant is not there, and the three of them also feel an additional uneasiness due to a maturing sexuality. Barend tries to get Hester to take off her clothes, first with threats, then with pleading. Nicolaas does not really understand what is going on, but he does not like it. In the end he asks Hester not to yield to Barend, and she walks away. It is revealed that Nicolaas’ desire for her is as strong as Barend’s, he is just a little more sophisticated. Barend is in a way more honest, he states what he wants, and expects to get it. Nicolaas is more cunning and takes a roundabout approach to his goal. He is aware of this and protects Hester ‘especially against myself […] we are created flesh, inclined to evil’ (p. 87). Through his years of confusion, his transformation from innocent childhood to the facing of ‘the facts of life’, he looks upon Hester as a provider of stability: ‘I would marry her […] Most of my other frail certainties had already been eroded. Hester made it bearable to go on’ (p. 87). To her he confides his sense of not belonging, his resentment at everything the farm represents to him. When Barend tricks her into marrying him instead, the world he thought he knew falls to pieces:

Pa. Always Pa. No one but him. The others seemed like the small branches and twigs one has to clear away to reach the trunk of the great, solid tree you wish to climb. He had always eluded me. That hard safe fork I never reached. And on that fifteenth birthday of Hester’s the deepest hurt, I think, lay not in her, or in what Barend had done, but in Pa, who appeared finally to have turned away from me in that one withering remark: It has nothing to do with you, Nicolaas, so shut up. (p. 90).

Here, the problem of communication is well demonstrated. Barend’s honour depends on Hester’s silence; Nicolaas’ honour depends on his protesting against the arrangement. None of them are able to speak. (I will return to Hester and problems of communication in Chapter V). Nicolaas, then, feels betrayed by everyone, but by his father most of all. He has wanted to be like him, ‘I swear I tried’ (p. 91):

Got to be a man, my boy. A real man. Marrow in your bones. You’re too much of a fancy turd.
But what do you expect of me, Pa? Tell me. What is ‘a man’?
A man’s got hair on his chest and he farts like a horse. (p. 90–91).

His primitive, although impressive strength, is what Nicolaas can never live up to. He will never live up to the expectations, never experience like Barend, that ‘Pa’s obvious satisfaction came as balsam to me’ (p. 104). The episode when Barend announces his decision to marry Hester, is to Nicolaas ‘a final confirmation of my worthlessness in his [Pa’s] eyes: a man without hair on his chest’ (p. 91). Humiliation again.

At this stage we meet for the first time Brink’s technique of making different persons refer to the same episode, showing how their actions are logical and reasonable according to their own situation and point of view. At the same time it also shows how the different characters think about the same episodes and memories without having the courage to discuss them with each other. That kind of communication seems to be dangerous. Each of them believes that he or she is the only one remembering these episodes or thinking about them, and to mention them would be humiliating and create a closeness that is dangerous in the environment in which they live. To Nicolaas the episode with the lion ‘offered itself as a last opportunity to win his [Piet’s] favour’ (p. 91). Nicolaas is terrified by the sound of the lion: ‘In that sound one discovered how untamed the land still was, and how untameable’—here Nicolaas uses Piet’s terminology. He is so ashamed of what happened, of his failure, that he lies and pretends to be the one who shot the lion. He is aware of cheating Galant of the glory, but he decides that he needs it more than Galant:

What difference could it make to Galant? It was immaterial to him whether he or I had shot the lion. To him it was nothing but a hunt, an animal tracked down and dispensed with. (p. 93).

In retrospect Nicolaas regrets this: ‘it was a last attempt to grab back something of what I should have known was irrevocably lost’ (p. 93). Without saying a word, however, it becomes clear to Nicolaas that Piet understands what really happened. Nicolaas feels humiliated again in front of his father, and guilty in front of Galant. But neither of them ever mentions anything about the episode again. Nicolaas is also angry with the lion, letting itself be killed like that. He wants it to be alive and wild again, something which echoes Galant’s attitude to the taming of the horse mentioned above.

Nicolaas’ last sentence reflects the paradoxical and very complicated heritage from the first Dutch settlers that can be argued to form a part of the Afrikaner mind up to this day: ‘all I was conscious of was that I didn’t want to be there; that I wasn’t meant to be there’ (p. 94). As the journalist Allister Sparks points out, the Dutch settlers brought with them an attitude and a view of life that soon came into conflict with life on the Cape. Especially for the individualist trekkers who moved into the country in complete isolation from the world around them; a ‘moral dichotomy’ evolved.[79]

A notion of their own racial superiority as the Elect of God was not all that Van Riebeeck’s settlers brought with them from Holland. They came, too, with a curious moral ambivalence that was uniquely the product of the Dutch Golden Age. This underwent a mutation on the South African veld and became one of the most enduringly puzzling characteristics of Afrikaner nationalism.[80]

The religious aspect is very important in this connection, where several paradoxes arose:

On the one hand their value system led them to see wealth as a presumptive sign of membership in the Elect, and on the other hand as corrupting and morally dangerous. So they lived in a state of tension, trapped between godliness and gain, between the Protestant work ethic and its commercial results. […] But the temptations of the flesh kept bubbling out, revealing themselves in the richly paradoxical culture of the age.[81]

As the sacral nationalism took hold and evolved its doctrine of racial singularity it pulled against the broader Christian injunction to love one’s neighbour. Once again a moral value system drove these descendants of the Dutch in two opposite directions at once.[82]

Living with these paradoxes must lead to at least one thing: a feeling of guilt. Racism is clearly not advocated by the Bible they held so high (the story of Ham, Shem and Japheth was used, but they must have been aware of how insufficient it is as a justification of slavery), and as the Dutch were acquiring ‘a reputation as great eaters and drinkers’[83] the Biblical, and particularly New Testament, message of asceticism, modesty, and sharing was grossly violated.[84] We find a good example of this in Brink’s latest novel, On the Contrary: ‘Relying on slaves and Hottentots for all the work on their farms, they themselves [one of the first colonist families] showed interest only in indulging in extravagant meals, interminable sopies[85] and incessant smoking of very strong tobacco.’[86] These paradoxes are also reflected in modern South Africa, for example in how the ‘homelands’ offer sensual pleasures that are strictly prohibited elsewhere in the country.[87]

This among other factors resulted in the fact that the Dutch ‘cut their ties with Europe, called themselves Afrikaners, and evolved a new language called Afrikaans, yet they continued to set themselves apart from Africa and its people’.[88] Brink notes,

whenever he [the typical first migrant] landed in trouble and felt threatened, he packed his wagons and moved away. When cornered by an enemy he pulled his wagons into a circle, a laager, from which he fought. On the one hand, this imbued in him a sense of evasion or postponement of problems: rather than solve something, it was easier to move off. On the other hand, it created a feeling of being threatened and beleaguered from all sides, with the only safety to be found inside the laager of his own people.[89]

In one sense they were very anxious to justify what they were doing as being in full accordance with the Bible, but in another sense they were the Elect, and as such granted salvation anyway; the rest of the world could really mind its own business if they did not like the Afrikaner way of handling things (in Holland it was difficult to determine who were the Elect and who were not; in South Africa this became easy!). Brink remarks further,

The religious fervour with which Afrikanerdom relived, in the Great Trek and its aftermath, the history of the Old Testament, influenced decisively their attitude towards the blacks scattered throughout the interior […] these were now the new hostile and heathen tribes of Canaan who had to be conquered in the name of the Lord…[90]

When we read about how Nicolaas expresses his feeling of discomfort at his whole existence, we have to bear in mind this heritage of paradox and religious conflict, and how the feeling of guilt and uneasiness came to be a part of the nature of the Afrikaner mentality. This is perhaps the most important difference between Nicolaas and Galant.

If it is possible to divide the personality into a ‘natural’ level and a ‘social’ level, I would propose that, on a ‘natural’, core level, Nicolaas and Galant are shown to have more in common with each other than with any other character in the novel, if we ignore what environment has done with them. In the same way, Piet and Ma-Rose genuinely understand each other better than anyone else. It is on a social level that they are different, and that is what determines the relationships at this time and place in history. Although the social division is negative and destructive, there lies a hope in the ‘natural’ level, which may divide people in accordance with criteria that are not discriminating in the negative sense of racism and that are more interested in what is common than in what is different. This could then be seen as another of Brink’s contrasts, breaking with what we expect and so easily take for granted. A citation from Brink’s States of Emergency comments on the act of discriminating along lines of exclusiveness instead of inclusiveness:

To keep things apart, distinct, separate (man and woman; life and death; beginning and end; the inside and the outside of a text; life and story), to define them in terms of their exclusivity rather than in terms of what they have in common, must end in schizophrenia, in the collapse of the mind which tries to keep the distinctions going. In this lies the failure of apartheid […] What is suppressed, Jung said somewhere, comes back to take its bloody revenge.[91]

What Brink is interested in—despite the fact that many of us, like the characters in A Chain of Voices, feel isolated and alone—is what we have in common as human beings; to focus on the point that the great majority of inter-human conflicts originate in differences that are socially specific, not humanly general.

We have now established the four archetypes already identified, and it is time to comment on their function in the text, and what I, at the beginning of this chapter, have called an important tool in expressing the message of the novel. Archetypes may have several functions; to focus on something we all recognize, to draw up ‘flat’ characters, to build on a tradition, to show the timelessness of something. Brink’s use of the archetypes functions on several of these levels: they do represent clusters of characteristics that we may recognize and label as archetypes—but they are more than that:

The principle of characterization in literature has always been defined as that of combining the ‘type’ with the ‘individual’ […] But how to apply the concept more generally? […] In some sense, the character which is an individual as well as a type is so constituted by being shown to be many types.[92]

This is what may be confusing when I refer to them as archetypes, because the characters in A Chain of Voices have very individual characteristics too. One reason for this is that the characters are ‘round’, they are complex and send complex signals, they ‘combine views and relations, are shown in different contexts’.[93] I would claim that the archetypal aspect of the characters functions on one level to show the timelessness of the background for the relationships described in the novel. The novel is not only about one unique incident, even if it is that too. It is about the general workings of human relationships that leads to the contemporary situation, and it is in this connection that the archetypal aspects of the characters have their function.

I will now move on to look at what may be the greatest obstacle on the road toward Brink’s notion of Monomotapa—the society of peace and harmony that is unattainable, but nevertheless is such an intriguing thought that one gives it up only very reluctantly.

[1] Brink used the four elements ‘earth’, ‘water’, ‘wind’, and ‘fire’ as structuring devices for the four parts of his novel. This will be further commented on later.
[2] André Brink, Looking on Darkness (London: Fontana Paperbacks, 1988), p. 34.
[3] Brink, States of Emergency, p. 17.
[4] Brink, States of Emergency, p. 206.
[5] Brink, Rumours of Rain, p. 401.
[6] Booth, p. 126.
[7] Jonckheere, p. 91.
[8] Brink, ‘Of Slaves and Masters’ (1978), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 158.
[9] Brink, ‘Of Slaves and Masters’, p. 162.
[10] JanMohamed, p. 73.
[11] These thoughts are inspired by the chapter ‘Thematic concepts: where philosophy meets literature’, in Stein Haugom Olsen, The End of Literary Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 177.
[12] Booth: ‘The “implied author” chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; we infer him as an ideal, literary, created version of the real man; he is the sum of his own choices’, Booth, pp. 74–75. Rimmon-Kenan takes the reader’s point of view more explicitly: ‘a construct inferred and assembled by the reader from all the components of the text’, Rimmon-Kenan, p. 87.
[13] André Brink, On the Contrary: Being the Life of a Famous Rebel, Soldier, Traveller, Explorer, Reader, Builder, Scribe, Latinist, Lover and Liar (London: Secker & Warburg, 1993), p. 322.
[14] Mandla in The Wall of the Plague: ‘We have one advantage, that history is on our side’, p. 282.
[15] Brink, The Wall of the Plague, p. 439.
[16] J.U. Jacobs, ‘The Colonial Mind in a State of Fear: The Psychosis of Terror in the Contemporary South African Novel’, North Dakota Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 3 (1989), p. 31.
[17] Brink, ‘Of Slaves and Masters’ (1978), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 160.
[18] In the essay ‘Mahatma Gandhi Today’ (1970), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 69.
[19] This is a term that I find adequate in this particular connection, but the meaning is, more or less, the same as the New Critics’ ‘irony’ or ‘paradox’.
[20] Brink, ‘The Intellectual and His World’ (1980), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 203.
[21] It is difficult to know exactly what to call the contributions from the different characters, but throughout I shall refer to them as ‘chapters’.
[22] Northrop Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1982), p. xvii.
[23] Wellek and Warren, p. 150.
[24] Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (London: Penguin Books, 1989), p. 63.
[25] Malvern van Wyk Smith, Grounds of Contest: A Survey of South African English Literature (Cape Town: Juta & Co. Ltd., 1990), p. 126.
[26] Allister Sparks, The Mind of South Africa: The Story of the Rise and Fall of Apartheid (London: Mandarin Paperbacks, 1993) p. 5.
[27] Brink, Rumours of Rain, p. 361.
[28] The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.: 1952), Luke. 19:40. All later Biblical references will be to this edition.
[29] What gave me this idea, apart from my own imagination, was a passage in Brink’s Writing in a State of Siege, which reads: ‘Looking on Chile, one recalls the words of Jesus about the very stones crying out. For something quite unique has been happening there, beginning in Santiago, then spreading across the whole country: women […] have risen in protest against the silencing and the disappearance of their relatives and friends.’ From the essay ‘The Writer in a State of Siege’ (1979), p. 191.
[30] André Brink, The First Life of Adamastor (London: Secker & Warburg, 1993), p 15.
[31] P. 234.
[32] Meaning ‘people of people’ in the Khoi language, and the term refers to what is commonly known as Hottentots (source: Brink, The First Life of Adamastor, p. 136). More specifically, they were an indigenous, yellow-skinned Stone Age people, now extinct as such (See Sparks, p. 7). ‘They were dispossessed of their grazing lands [as a result of the white arrival], and when that happened their clans crumbled. The white man’s diseases, which first arrived with smallpox in the mid-eighteenth century, did the rest. What remnants remained of these original inhabitants of southern Africa were absorbed into the polyglot community of freed slaves and mixed-race people that the ethnic categorists of apartheid have called “coloureds”’, Sparks, p. 12.
[33] ‘[…] the land was still so wild, you see, it had to be broken in like a horse. Every new generation did it in their own way’, Rumours of Rain, p. 222.
[34] See Brink, The First Life of Adamastor.
[35] Fragrant medical herb.
[36] JanMohamed, p. 72–73.
[37] Brink, ‘Literature and Offence’ (1976), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 126.
[38] Cf. ‘Milan Kundera’s dictum that politics unmasks the metaphysics of private life and private life unmasks the metaphysics of politics’, in Jacobs, p. 29.
[39] Brink, ‘Literature and Offence’ (1976), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 123.
[40] Brink, ‘Literature and Offence’, p. 123–124.
[41] Brink, ‘Literature and Offence’, p. 124.
[42] Brink, ‘Literature and Offence’, pp. 124–125.
[43] Booth, p. 131.
[44] Andon-Milligan, pp. 28–29.
[45] In the white group, for example in the relationship between Piet and Alida (Piet’s ‘nocturnal assault’ on Alida (p. 75)), or between Barend and Hester (the ‘fight of animals’ (p. 133)); and in the black group, for example between Galant and Bet (Galant using sex to teach Bet not to ‘make eyes at other men’ (p. 127)).
[46] Jane Kramer, ‘In the Garrison’, The New York Review of Books, Vol. xxix, No. 19 (1982), pp. 9–10.
[47] Mary Hope, ‘Journeys to the Heartland’, The Spectator, Vol. 253, No. 8152 (1984), p. 33.
[48] Moynahan, p. 16.
[49] For example where Alida describes her washing of Hester’s limbs as ‘forming them from clay’ (p. 73), a metaphor that makes us think of Ma-Rose and her mythology.
[50] Brink, On the Contrary, p. 110.
[51] See below.
[52] Brink, The First Life Of Adamastor, pp. 19–20, where the very first Dutchmen who set foot on the Cape are described as religious men who, in God’s name, used alcohol to fool the natives into prostituting their women.
[53] Even that difference may perhaps not be that great. In Rumours of Rain the Blacks are described as having a ‘tribal tradition which is not all that different from our own Old Testament background’ (p. 44), and in the essay ‘On Culture and Apartheid’ (1970), in Writing in a State of Siege, Brink refers to ‘the cultural unity of Afrikaners and Coloureds’ (p. 73).
[54] Brink, ‘Introduction: a Background to Dissidence’, in Brink, Writing in a State of Siege, p. 18.
[55] 2. Book of Samuel, 6. 3–8.
[56] ‘it is obvious that we are dealing with a Bible without Christ, without the Gospels.’ Gibert, p. 660. This and later citations taken from this article are translated with the assistance of N.Y. Lindgren.
[57] The specific place in the Bible from where the justification for segregation is found, is also referred to by Hermien in Looking on Darkness, p. 77: ‘You see, that’s where it comes from. We Whites are the children of Shem and Japhet and you are the children of Ham and his son Canaan. That’s why it is like that.’ The Biblical passage alluded to (Genesis, 9. 18–28), reads:

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled.
20 Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; 21 and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.’ 26 He also said, ‘Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. 27 God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.’


Gibert, p. 660.
[59] Brink, Rumours of Rain, p. 410.
[60] The character Louise Cellier, in Brink’s On the Contrary, p. 95.
[61] Her name is a variant of the name Elisabeth, which has been the name of several saints, for example Elisabeth of Türingen and Elisabeth of Portugal. Source: J. van der Schaar, Woordenboek van Voornamen (Utrecht: Prisma Pocket, 1990), p. 157.
[62] Wordenboek Noors-Nederlands/Nederlands-Noors (Groningen: BockWerk, 1993).
[63] Joseph Conrad, Youth, Heart of Darkness and the End of the Tether (London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1989), p. 117.
[64] Brink, The Wall of The Plague, p. 66.
[65] Sparks, p. 6.
[66] Genesis, 6. 4. Brink’s link is on p. 36 of the novel mentioned.
[67] The name Galant is a variant of the name Wieland, which means ‘artistic’, or ‘made in an artistic way’. It occurred for the first time around 1400 AD. Source: van der Schaar, p. 359.
[68] Gibert, pp. 657–658.
[69] The taming of a horse is a recurring image in Brink’s fiction. In Rumours of Rain, Martin Mynhardt, the protagonist, says about his wife to-be that he thinks he can tame her. His friend Bernard replies:

‘I’m sure you can. You can also break in a horse. But then, what? Once you’ve had your way and the horse meekly accepts the saddle—perhaps the thing you miss most, then, is the very wildness you tamed. And once that’s gone, it’s gone.’ (p. 87).

In On the Contrary, Tante Louise says: ‘Sometimes one spends so much time taming the horse that when it’s done it is no longer worth the effort.’ (p. 119). We encounter it again in A Chain of Voices, when Hester describes Barend as wanting to ‘break me in like a mare’ (p. 133).
[70] Brink, On the Contrary, p. 123.
[71] Jonckheere, p. 94.

[72] ‘I believe in the metaphysical concept of revolt as defined by Camus’. From the essay ‘On Culture and Apartheid’ (1970), in Brink, Writing in a State of Siege, p. 72.
[73] Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, (London: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 64.
[74] Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, p. 65.
[75] Albert Camus, The Rebel (New York: Vintage Books, 1991) p. 23.
[76] P. 367. This quotation immediately made me think of the film Rebel Without a Cause, which also treats the mixed feelings a son may have for his father. In this film there is also a search for ideals and morality, something Nicolaas seems to succeed in convincing himself is sufficiently accounted for in the Bible and the Christian/Calvinistic tradition.
[77] Camus, The Rebel, p. 15.
[78] Brink, ‘Mahatma Gandhi Today’ (1970), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 61.
[79] Sparks, p. 33.
[80] Sparks, p. 33.
[81] Sparks, p. 33–34.
[82] Sparks, p. 35.
[83] Sparks, p. 34.
[84] ‘the first colonists concentrated their teaching on the most horrible and dark parts of the Old Testament’, Gibert, p. 660 (my italics).
[85] Tot, draught.
[86] Brink, On the Contrary, p. 93.
[87] For a more extensive treatment of this issue, see Sparks, chapter II. This has changed, however, at least formally, since Sparks wrote his book in 1990. The ‘homelands’ are now called ‘former “homelands”’, and their jurisdiction should be the same as the national jurisdiction, thus putting an end to this practice. In the future, the ‘former homelands’ may become separate states, or become part of the surrounding province. Source: Fellesrådet for det Sørlige Afrika.
[88] Sparks, p. 38.
[89] Brink, ‘After Soweto’ (1976), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 136.
[90] Brink, ‘After Soweto’ (1976), in Writing in a State of Siege, p. 136.
[91] Brink, States of Emergency, pp. 195–196.
[92] Wellek and Warren, p. 32–33.
[93] Wellek and Warren, p. 33.

Lindgren (c) 2018