This essay makes the argument that Nadine Gordimer's July's People (1981) contains both a dystopian critique of apartheid South Africa and utopian projections that anticipate a more egalitarian postapartheid dispensation. Gordimer criticizes chiefly white South African liberals for failing to recognize that their material well-being owes a great deal to the discriminatory policies of apartheid. Although they reject the color bar, white liberals, she finds, resist redistribution of South Africa's material resources. In addition, one of the central burdens of the essay is to show that Gordimer's use of utopia in July's People accords with the postmodern rejection of prescription and grand narratives. Gordimer does not imagine a full-fledged postapartheid South Africa; rather, she merely adumbrates possibilities for a more equal co-existence between blacks and whites. If apartheid, with its policies of racial segregation, tipped the economic balance in favor of whites, Gordimer envisions a postapartheid future where whites would remedy the economic disparities between them and their fellow black South Africans.


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pp. 68-84
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