SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Easton, Kai (2014) Travelling Light: Images - via Wicomb - from the Gifberge to Glasgow. . Available from

[img] Video (Visual travelogue presented at York & Oxford conferences 2012, 2014) - Draft Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Request a copy
Text - Draft Version
Download (82kB) | Preview


Kai Easton Travelling Light: Images (via Wicomb) from the Gifberg(e) to Glasgow My main title – not original – is borrowed from a book by the South African photographer Paul Weinberg. Two other books (Remarks on Colour and International Waters) of photographic exhibitions by British photographer Roger Palmer (originally from Portsmouth and for nearly two decades based in Glasgow with stints in Cape Town in between as well as a professorship at Leeds) also frame this visual travelogue on the work of Zoë Wicomb. We know, from biographical blurbs, that Wicomb was born in the rural northern Cape – Little Namaqualand. We know, from her first collection of stories You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town that the Gifberg(e) is a mountain. It is not that far from the green Beeswater sign that dots the N7 on the way up north from Cape Town. Beeswater, we are told in these biographical blurbs on book covers, is where Wicomb was born – there or nearby. If you pull in from the main road towards Beeswater, you see a gate and a track. No distance is offered. You do not know how many miles it is or how long it will take. It is near Vredendal, a town big enough to find cell phone repair shops, supermarkets and dentists. Cape Town is the metropolis; Beeswater the hinterland. Overseas, Wicomb comes first to London; Nottingham follows; Glasgow later. This cosmopolitan Scottish city – edgy and elegant at the same time – has also been home to Wicomb for nearly two decades. How true would it be to say that Scotland (or Glasgow) contributes to the shape of her work? How much does South Africa (or the Cape) (or Namaqualand) continue to ground Wicomb’s writing and what form does this take? Exploring ideas of origins and relocations, place and (auto) biography, this essay negotiates the borderlines of image and text. The snapshot and the quick moving image are integral companions to the essay, documenting and mapping ideas of the translocal, and the ways in which we might get there.

Item Type: Films
Additional Information: A collection of essays, edited by Kai Easton and Derek Attridge, entitled: Zoe Wicomb and the Translocal: Writing Scotland and South Africa, is forthcoming and will include a revised version of the York paper (described in the abstract), with illustrations including some of the stills from the video, as well as new material gathered on more recent visits to Scotland and South Africa. The revised material engages with Wicomb's most recent novel, October, published in 2014, following the award of the Windham Campbell Prize (from Yale) that she received in 2013. For coverage of the conference at York in 2012, see:
Keywords: Zoe Wicomb, South African literature, Scotland, Cape Town, Glasgow, Translocal, Cosmopolitan, Gifberge, Namaqualand, Western Cape,
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for English Studies [closed]
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2015 17:04
Related URLs: https://www.soa ... uth-africa.html (Organisation URL)

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item