Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

For early encouragement and the conversations that influenced this book, I thank Silvia Elsner, Loyiso Nongxa, Manuela Vogel and Liese van der Watt. Lindiwe Dovey has been a constant interlocutor for this work, and her stimulating conversations and challenging interventions are everywhere inscribed in its pages. ...

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

Some time ago, a student at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, asked me, in a class on South African writing: ‘So when did apartheid end?’, meaning when were the first democratic elections held. Or, perhaps, when was grand apartheid dismantled and taken off the statute books? ...

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Chapter 1: Against translation, in defence of accent

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pp. 1-16

Translation would seem to offer much to someone imagining a future different from the apartheid past: it emphasises mutuality, is intent on contextualisation and demands of one to imagine the position of another. Yet in the following pages I make a number of arguments against translation. ...

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Chapter 2: There was this missing quotation mark

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pp. 17-44

One way of talking about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been to use the language of learning and teaching. Those who delivered their testimonies were sometimes described as the teachers, or the Commission itself was described as a teaching machine; those who listened were the learners. ...

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Chapter 3: Njabulo Ndebele's ordinary address

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pp. 45-60

In this chapter, accent is understood in the most literal way, as it refers to the varieties of English spoken by South Africans. Accentedness and lack of accentedness are themes running through the work of Njabulo Ndebele, considered by many to be the leading intellectual in South Africa today. ...

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Chapter 4: Thembinkosi Goniwe's eyes

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pp. 61-78

In this chapter, the location of accented thinking is once again a university campus. This time the intellectual space is not provided by the tearoom or the staffroom, and the histories of these spaces’ referential frameworks and tastes. This chapter analyses two related scenes. ...

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Chapter 5: A history of translation and non-translation

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pp. 79-96

This chapter develops further the sceptical and uncelebratory understandings of translation introduced earlier. The histories of translation in early colonial South Africa might have provided an instance of accented interaction, yet did not. Despite the multilingualism of the early encounters, and the presence of a number of skilled translator and interpreter figures, ...

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Chapter 6: The copy and the lost original

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pp. 97-110

In the previous chapter, the early history of intertextuality in South African writing was mapped out – or, more precisely, the history of an early lack of intertextuality. I argued, through a reading of early colonial Cape documents, that the beginnings of European written traditions in South Africa had an explicit agenda precisely of not engaging with the local context. ...

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Chapter 7: He places his chair against mine and translates

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pp. 111-128

All teachers can be said to translate and interpret material to some extent, and this is particularly true of the teacher whose practices are accented. This chapter examines two examples of the ‘ideal’ teacher’s accentedness; and in addition the asymmetries of power and advancement involved in this translation and accenting work. ...

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Chapter 8: The multilingual scholar of the future

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pp. 129-140

Jacob Dlamini’s Native Nostalgia, published in October 2009, is a text in search of lost archives, and deeply interested in how we can read and interpret the discourses of the dispossessed. Dlamini, a South African historian living and working mostly in the USA and Catalonia, uses words that seem to have been ...

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Chapter 9: A book must be returned to the library from which it was borrowed

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pp. 141-156

In 2002, in the journal Research in African Literatures, an unauthorised transcript of a recorded interview between Zoë Wicomb and Hein Willemse, Afrikaans academic and writer, was published (Willemse 2002:144-152). The head note to the transcript reads: ...

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Chapter 10: The surprisingly accented classroom

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pp. 157-166

In South Africa in recent years, a strong trend in creative and scholarly writing has been one in which writers try to imagine how to step away from South Africa’s divisive past, and how to create other, unified, pasts. These imaginings have at times included fantasies of descent that are harmful in their self-forgiveness (a common genre in white South African writing in particular), ...

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Concluding remarks

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pp. 167-170

This book has offered a defence of difficulty, of failure and of misunderstanding. It has argued that the long ending of apartheid can only be brought about by a high degree of tolerance for difference and for disagreement. Accented thinking, as it has been theorised in these pages, brings difference to the surface, and does not strive for a unified and unitary position. ...

References

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pp. 171-176

Index

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pp. 177-182

Back Cover

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