This essay analyzes five novels set in Namibia, focusing on their treatment of individual and communal identity both on the level of narration and on that of character and plot. All of the novels employ techniques of internal focalization in unusual and innovative ways to shed light on questions of identity from different perspectives, sometimes oscillating between individual and communal voices and views. The first two novels, Joseph Diescho's Troubled Waters and Kaleni Hiyalwa's Meekulu's Children, revolve around Namibia's liberation struggle and show how the questioning of identity patterns imposed by the apartheid regime leads to the emergence of hope; they also reveal the effects of the struggle's violence and terror on the population. Neshani Andreas's two novels—The Purple Violet of Oshaantu (2001) and her unpublished Who Told You That You Were Naked (2011)—present conflicts between individual autonomy and traditional village authorities in the nineteenth century through to the present. Peter Orner's The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo creates a vivid picture of a rural community of teachers in a country still scarred and fragmented just after independence, defying bleakness and isolation through routines, solidarity, and a lively interest in human eccentricities.


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pp. 20-38
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