Abstract

This essay explores the South African author P. J. Philander's epic Zimbabwe (1968), an Afrikaans poem of 307 alternate quatrains largely based on the disproved notion that the Phoenicians built the ancient complex of Great Zimbabwe and established a religion of phallic or fertility worship. The essay initially traces the longstanding debate on the "mystery" of Great Zimbabwe and arrives at the conclusion that the poet made a deliberate choice for the Semitic or Phoenician thesis. In the second phase of the discussion, Zimbabwe is read with Frantz Fanon's classic text Les damnés de la terre, especially with regard to the complex but key binary relationship between settlers and aboriginals. In conclusion, the essay discusses the author's political ambivalence and his attempts at making the rise and decline of Great Zimbabwe applicable to apartheid South Africa.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 125-148
Launched on MUSE
2008-02-11
Open Access
No
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