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This review is taken from PN Review 57, Volume 14 Number 1, September - October 1987.

LITERARY LIONS A Land Apart: a South African Reader, edited by André Brink and J. M. Coetzee (Faber) £9.95

'It's difficult to describe or understand the kind of excitement everyone is feeling. There is danger around but you still want action all the time. I think that in Belfast they must be feeling the same thing. But not in Kampala. Even though you are not quite sure you will be coming home, you want something to happen. You don't like it to be too quiet.'

This perceptive comment from the tape-recorded diary of Maria Tholo, who lived in a township near Cape Town during the 1976 uprisings, validates the editors' decision to include a wide variety of sources in A Land Apart. Their aim is to present a 'sample of the variety and quality of South African writing in English and Afrikaans of the past ten years or so.' The English section begins with a powerful and concise story by Nadine Gordimer, 'A Lion on the Freeway', in which the lion escaping from his cage in the city zoo becomes a symbol of the oppressed blacks: 'he's out on the freeway now, bewildered, finding his way, turning his splendid head at last to claim what he's never seen, the country where he's king.' She and Mazisi Kunene are the best known writers in this section, the major emphasis being on the 'generation of 1976'. Drama is excluded; since the Afrikaans section is translated into English no poetry appears there, but there are poems by Kunene, Christopher Hope and by several younger poets in the English section. ...


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