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Journal Articles French Studies in Southern Africa Year : 2014

Duty-bound to translate from Zulu

Le devoir de traduction. Pourquoi traduire un roman zoulou


A propos the translation from Zulu to French of Mathews Mngadi's debut novel Asikho ndawo bakithi (We are done with, people), the paper argues in favour of translation of literature written in African vernacular languages, and dismisses its perception as mere didactic literature. In post-apartheid South Africa, its capacity of bearing witness to issues central to the life of Black people cannot be overestimated. Asikho, among other texts, centers on the lack of accommodation in townships for ordinary black people and the attending miseries and purposeless violence visited upon them as a consequence, culminating in the destruction of entire families and the negation of the social ethos as they find themselves at the mercy of slum lords. The author places the blame squarely on Apartheid selfish policies, not shying away though from denouncing misguided political lines among Black people. The strength of this testimony largely outweighs a somewhat artificial register which still reflects the purist norms set by the erstwhile language boards, making the text at times a challenge for today's readers. Translating, it is argued, is a condition for creative writing in African languages to proceed, and can be a trigger to innovate, so as to reach out to the potential 'born-free' readership.
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halshs-01098428 , version 1 (24-12-2014)


  • HAL Id : halshs-01098428 , version 1


Michel Lafon. Le devoir de traduction. Pourquoi traduire un roman zoulou. French Studies in Southern Africa, 2014, Ecrire et publier en Afrique francophone. Enjeux et perspectives, 44 (2), pp.190 - 214. ⟨halshs-01098428⟩
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