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Opland, Jeff (2007) 'The first novel in Xhosa.' Research in African Literatures, 38 (4). pp. 87-110.

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The first novel in the Xhosa language, USamson, written by the greatest figure in the history of Xhosa literature, S. E. K. Mqhayi (1875–1945), and published in 1907, is now lost. It was produced at a time when black people in South Africa were becoming bolder in their demand for human rights, forming independent black churches and political organizations. It appeared after a period of gestation for Xhosa literature in newspapers, at a time when missionaries were discussing the publication of books in Xhosa, but Mqhayi paid for its printing and organized its distribution. The novelette added details of setting and characterization to the biblical story to encourage the youth to gather behind black leaders who lacked support. Caught in the social tension between Xhosa and Mfengu, USamson was heavily criticized by I. W. Wauchope for departing from biblical narrative, but more generally defended by readers, who looked forward to the further publication of Xhosa literature in books.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
ISSN: 00345210
Copyright Statement: Post-print copy may be mounted subject to 12 month embargo. Publisher's version may not be used. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009 10:37

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