The Aesthetics of Discontent and Dissidence in Lesego Rampolokeng’s Blackheart: Epilogue to Insanity (2004) And Whiteheart: Prologue to Hysteria (2005)
Wachira, Ibrahim Gichingiri
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This study examines the motifs of discontent and dissidence in the two novels by the South African poet, playwright and novelist Lesego Rampolokeng. The study is based on the premise that black South African writers use literature as a vehicle for self-expression to communicate the traumatic pain of systemic racism of apartheid as a lived experience that still influences the way black South Africans relate with themselves and with others whose existence is shaped by the psychological affect of apartheid. The primary goal is to demonstrate fictionalized discontent and dissidence as social metaphors deployed by Rampolokeng to communicate the aberrations of apartheid and to show their connectivity to the existential realities of black subject especially at the linguistic and psychological levels. The study employs the psychoanalytic theory to analyze the two novels in order to unearth their fictionalized resistance and its significance at the level of themes. The theoretical framework will lean on the connection between language and psychoanalysis as posited by Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva and Melanie Klein. This study employs textual analysis as the methodology for collecting, organizing, interpreting and analyzing data on the social metaphors of discontent and dissidence from the two novels. Many studies have been carried out on Rampolokeng‘s poetry but little on his two novels which are the concern of this study. Consequently, the study widens the critical horizons by which Rampolokeng‘s literary works can be read and interpreted. By approaching the two novels under the aesthetics of discontent and dissidence to communicate the common themes, the study underscores the insistence, relevance and commitment to social justice of this South African writer making him an important voice in both literature and reality emanating out of South Africa. Key words: Rampolokeng, Protest literature, Psychoanalysis, Textual resistance, Apartheid.