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Tangible Voice-Throwing: Empowering Corporeal Discourses in African Women’s Writing of Southern Africa


Bettina Weiss

This study is the first book-length analysis of African women’s writing of Southern Africa with a focus on writing the body. The thesis is that women are not voiceless, but hold a powerful, liberating potential: they «throw their voices» by implementing a strategic corporeal. Notably, this mode is not carried out in a way of emphasising corporeal difference by lack, but by attributing positive markers to the body. It reaches beyond a speaking which only represents women’s thoughts and emotions physically – a mode which might render the impression that they are incapable of expressing their conceptions and sentiments linguistically. It is an empowerment that reflects their skill to break up the bonds between language and body. This study is wide-ranging in its choice of authors and themes.


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A Note on Terminology, Orthography, Glossary, and Language 13


A Note an Terminology, Orthography, Glossary, and Language The adjectives Coloured, Black, and White are capitalised to demonstrate the socio- political identities and not possible biological features. I refrain from encapsulating the term Coloured within inverted commas as I have partly encountered in the reading of secondary literature. Within academic and political discourse, the ambiguity of coloured identity is also accompanied by the uncertainty about whether to use the so-called appellation as well as doubts about whether to use a capital C or the lower-case c (Grunebaum and Robins 170). Several discussions during my study in Southern Africa, from 9 February to 27 April 2002, revealed that inverted commas would render a fuzzy status to the term Coloured and only perpetuate the confusing discussion of dislocation.' As for apartheid, sometimes also seen capitalised, I follow the conventions of Francoise Nel's Style Guide entitled The South African Style Guide: A Usage and Reference Dictionag for Media Writers. In following Michael Chapman's example, I use the plural form: African literatures. I do agree that the singular form, African literature, reinforces the implication that it is a pan-African or homogenous concept which in fact it is not. African literatures are, as the plural denotes, polyphonous — they differ largely in theme, style, language, and in their cultural and historical background (Chapman 1-17). When referring to both genders in the text, I distance myself from the common usage lie/she' or `his/her' and apply the wording `she/he' or `her/his' instead. In the context of my study...

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