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dc.contributor.advisor Nkealah, N. E. Kgoshiadira, Pitsi Rebeccah 2017-02-14T08:37:29Z 2017-02-14T08:37:29Z 2015
dc.description Thesis (M.A. (English Studies)) -- University of Limpopo, 2015 en_US
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines different modes of female subversion in the novel, The Madonna of Excelsior (2002) by Zakes Mda. Using feminist theory, the study explores how women in the novel transgress apartheid laws and how they use existing discriminatory laws to their own advantage. In addition, it illustrates how these women rise above those existing laws to establish their own subjectivity and independence. The Madonna of Excelsior is a novel set in apartheid South Africa where laws prohibiting sexual relationships between whites and blacks were in effect. Niki, the main character in the novel, transgresses these laws by having sexual intercourse with white men, one of whom eventually fathers her baby. Niki gives birth to Popi who is ostracised by the Mahlatswetsa community because of her mixed racial identity. In spite of growing up in a prejudiced community, Popi works hard and becomes an important member of the town council later on when apartheid gives way to black rule. Popi subverts apartheid and the prejudice of her community by accepting herself as a coloured person, by being active in the political affairs of the Mahlatswetsa community, by engaging with the community through her service at the library and during funerals, and by reconciling with Tjaart Cronje, her half-brother. Popi’s mother, Niki, also subverts apartheid’s discriminatory laws by having sexual relationships with Afrikaner men such as Johannes Smit and Stephanus Cronje. Through these affairs, she exposes the hypocrisy of the Afrikaners and the unfairness of their laws. However, Niki’s subversion goes beyond the use of sex and the body. In her marriage with Pule, she suffers wife battering and marital infidelity. In this instance, Niki subverts traditional expectations of women by leaving Pule and establishing an independent life for herself and her children. In giving birth to Popi and raising her as a coloured child, Niki exposes the double standards of Afrikaner morality. She subverts viii the judgmental attitude of the Mahlatswetsa community by withdrawing from the community and resorting to bee-keeping. In this isolated space, she finds healing. Other female characters in the novel, such as Maria, Mampe and The Seller of Songs, also subvert the apartheid system and their communities through their sexual escapades with white men and their service to the community. On her part, Cecilia Mapeta subverts apartheid by her direct rejection of illicit sex with white men and her pursuit of education. In contrast to her, Maria and Mampe use mainly sex and the body to ensure their survival in a racist South Africa. The Seller of Songs, like Popi, uses her service to the community to subvert its prejudice. In their different circumstances, the women characters in this novel employ different subversive strategies, all of which work ultimately to their advantage. On the whole, this study argues that female subversion in Zakes Mda’s The Madonna of Excelsior is effected through various media, including sex and the body, racial differentiation, education, silence, community engagement, political activity, and family reconciliation. en_US
dc.format.extent viii, 118 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 8 en_US
dc.subject Female subversion en_US
dc.subject Feminist theory en_US
dc.subject.lcsh English fiction -- History and criticism en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Feminism and literature en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Women in literature en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Abused women en_US
dc.title Female subversion in Zakes Mda's novel, The Madonna of Excelsior en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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