Die Königs Erläuterung Spezial zu Sindiwe Magona: Mother to Mother in englischer Sprache ist eine verlässliche und bewährte Textanalyse und Interpretationshilfe für Schüler und weiterführende Informationsquelle für Lehrer und andere Interessierte: verständlich, übersichtlich und prägnant. In einem Band bieten dir die Königs Erläuterungen alles, was du zur Vorbereitung auf Referat, Klausur, Abitur oder Matura benötigst. Das spart dir lästiges Recherchieren und kostet weniger Zeit zur Vorbereitung. Alle wichtigen Infos zur Interpretation... - von der ausführlichen Inhaltsangabe über Aufbau, Personenkonstellation, Stil und Sprache bis zu Interpretationsansätzen - Abituraufgaben mit Musterlösungen ... sowohl kurz als auch ausführlich ... - Die Schnellübersicht fasst alle wesentlichen Infos zu Werk und Autor und Analyse zusammen. - Die Kapitelzusammenfassungen zeigen dir das Wichtigste eines Kapitels im Überblick - ideal auch zum Wiederholen. ... und klar strukturiert ... - Ein zweifarbiges Layout hilft dir Wesentliches einfacher und schneller zu erfassen. - Die Randspalte mit Schlüsselbegriffen ermöglichen dir eine bessere Orientierung. - Klar strukturierte Schaubilder verdeutlichen dir wichtige Sachverhalte auf einen Blick.
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KÖNIGS ERLÄUTERUNGEN SPEZIAL
Textanalyse und Interpretation zu
MOTHER TO MOTHER
Analyse | Interpretation in englischer Sprache
Zitierte Ausgaben: Magona, Sindiwe: Mother to Mother. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2016.
Über den Autor dieser Erläuterung: Patrick Charles wurde 1973 in Bournemouth, Südengland, geboren und studierte englische Literatur an der Universität von Newcastle. 1993 zog er nach Berlin, wo er eine Ausbildung zum Buchhändler machte und zehn Jahre lang als Buchhändler arbeitete. Seit 2004 ist er als freiberuflicher Autor von Schulüchern und Lernhilfen und als Übersetzer im Kulturbereich tätig. Er lebt mit seiner Familie in Berlin.
1. Auflage 2018
© 2017 by C. Bange Verlag, 96142 Hollfeld Alle Rechte vorbehalten! Titelabbildung: © svetazi/Fotolia
Hinweise zur Bedienung
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1. At a glance – the most important points
2. Sindiwe Magona: Life & Works
2.2 Contemporary Background
Apartheid in South Africa
2.3 Notes on Other Important Works
3. Analyses and Interpretations
3.1 Origins and Sources
The murder of Amy Biehl
The author’s life and experiences
1 - Mandisa’s Lament (p. 1)
2 - Mowbray – Wednesday 25 August 1993 (p. 5)
3 - 5.15 pm – Wednesday 25 August 1993 (p. 20)
4 - 7.30 pm (p. 40)
5 (p. 48)
6 - 4 am – Thursday 28 August 1993 (p. 79)
7 (p. 88)
8 (p. 115)
9 - 6 am Thursday 26 August (p. 164)
10 (p. 173)
11 (p. 198)
12 (p. 203)
The narrative perspective – mother to mother
Layers of memories
Thoughts and memories – an introspective narrative
Mandisa’s extended family
Friends and neighbours
The other mother
The dead white girl
Other secondary characters
IDENTITY & INEQUALITY
VIOLENCE, HATRED & DEHUMANISATION
COMMUNITY, FAMILY, TRADITION & HISTORY
GUILT, HOPE, DESPAIR & COPING WITH GRIEF
THE ORGANISING THEME
3.6 Style and Language
A subjective and emotional narrative voice
Use of Xhosa
Archaic and unusual diction
3.7 Approaches to Interpretation
4. Critical Reception
A brief overview of the history of South Africa
Some useful terms
6. Sample Exam Questions and Answers
Task 1: **
Task 2: **
Task 3: ***
Edition used for this study guide
About the author
Secondary literature on Mother to Mother
About South Africa
About Amy Biehl
This study guide to Sindiwe Magona’s novel Mother to Mother is designed to provide an easy-to-use overview of the structure, context, themes and characters of the novel. Here is a quick rundown of the most important points.
Part 2 takes a brief look at Sindiwe Magona and her career.
Magona was born in 1943 in the village of Gungululu in South Africa. She has written a multi-volume autobiography, novels, short stories, poetry and biographies.
Mother to Mother is a semi-autobiographical fictionalised account of the murder of a white american girl (Amy Biehl) and describes the era and aftermath of apartheid in South Africa.
Part 3 offers analyses and interpretations of the novel.
Mother to Mother – Origins and sources:
The novel is set in places where Magona lived and during a time when she was also living there. It draws heavily on her own life and experience, and looks at the lives of Xhosa people in the townships of South Africa.
The narrator is a mother of three called Mandisa. Her eldest son Mxolisi has been involved with a group of student protesters in the township of Guguletu, near Cape Town. In August 1993 he gets caught up in a mob which assaults and kills a white girl in a car.
The novel is in the form of Mandisa’s address directly to the dead girl’s mother. She tells the story of her life and how she had Mxolisi when she was just 15. Her story covers her childhood in the slums of Blouvlei, the government-ordered forced resettlement of the people from there to the township of Guguletu near Cape Town, where families and communities were torn apart, and her struggles to raise her children. Throughout her life she and her children have been witness to and victims of racist oppression and brutality from the police. She moves back and forth in time as she tells her story, explaining how things happened the way they did.
The novel is about the origins of events and their consequences, so it moves back and forth in time to illustrate how Mxolisi came to be the troubled, disobedient and violent young man he is in 1993. It also includes descriptions of specific episodes in South African history, as well as stories from Xhosa history and the origins of the hatred and racism in the country.
Mandisa and her son Mxolisi are central to everything that happens and everything the novel is about.
the narrator, mother of three children
she became accidentally pregnant when she was 14
Mandisas eldest son, who kills the white girl
Lunga and Siziwe
Mandisas second son and her daughter
China, Lungile & Dwadwa
Mandisa’s three husbands and the fathers of her children
Mandisa’s extended family (Mama, Tata, Khaya, et al.)
Other characters like Chinas family, Mandisas friends and neighbours or the white girl and her mother
The themes we will look at in this study guide are issues of identity and inequality: violence and oppression; communities, families and traditions; and grief, guilt, hope and despair. There is a larger theme behind all of these which organises the structure of the narrative, and that is an investigation of the past.
Style and language:
The style of the novel moves between a clear and direct address (from “me” to “you”) and a richer, poetic style. The language is an interesting combination of unusual English diction and structures and a mixture of the various languages people of Mandisa’s status would speak – English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.
Mother to Mother can be interpreted and read as both an informative, semi-autobiographical fictionalised account of the killing of Amy Biehl and as a look at bigger historical issues and symbolism.
Sindiwe Magona (*1943)© picture alliance/Scanpix TT NEWS AGENCY
Gungululu (village in what is now called the Eastern Cape, formerly Transkei), South Africa
27 August: Sindiwe Magona is born, eldest of eight children
She works for years as a junior school teacher.
Already the mother of two children, Magona is now pregnant with a third when her husband leaves the family.
Completes a graduate degree (her third academic degree) from Columbia University (USA) via post.
New York, USA
Magona moves with her family to New York to work at the United Nations.
Awarded an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters by Hartwick College in Oneonta (New York State, USA).
Up to 1994
Works for the UN, presenting anti-apartheid radio programmes.
Cape Town, South Africa
Publication of the first part of her autobiography To My Childrens Children.
Mother to Mother was published.
New York/Cape Town
Magona has been working for the UN’s Public Information Department before retiring in 2003 and moving back to South Africa.
Writer in Residence at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town; also works for Georgia State University (USA).
In this year, Magona is awarded several major prizes. She is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to South African Literature, as well as other prizes recognising her literary work, her social activism and her efforts to promote and celebrate Xhosa culture.
2012 she is joint winner with Nadine Gordimer of the Mbokodo Award in Creative Writing.
Mother to Mother is set in the Western Cape province of South Africa and covers a period from the early 1970s up until 1993.
The book describes the era and aftermath of apartheid in South Africa and is the real world backdrop to the murder of Amy Biehl in August 1993.
Mother to Mother is set in the Western Cape province of South Africa and covers a period from the early 1970s up until 1993. The story is largely situated in a black township near Cape Town called Guguletu. Other locations include the squatters’ settlement of Blouvlei, where Mandisa grew up, and her ancestral village Gungululu, where her grandmother still lives. All the African characters in the novel belong to the Xhosa people, and we see many examples of tribal customs and traditions.
The book describes the era and aftermath of apartheid in South Africa, a period of extreme racial oppression, state neglect, police brutality and political turmoil and violence. This is the real world backdrop to the murder of Amy Biehl in August 1993 (see p. 32); the novel is a fictionalised account of the killing.
The majority of the book – and the entirety of its present-day time frame, in 1993 – is set in the township of Guguletu, which is 15 kilometres outside Cape Town, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Today Guguletu has a population of over 98,000, and more than 98% are black Africans. The primary language spoken in the township is Xhosa.
Guguletu (which comes from the Xhosa phrase for “our pride”, igugu lethu) was founded in the 1960s as a home for the black people of the Cape Town district of Langa. During apartheid, blacks in the region were not allowed to live in Cape Town and were forced to live in one district, which became desperately overcrowded. Residents were relocated to Guguletu and other newly-founded townships, where overcrowding, lack of education, jobs and adequate infrastructure (electricity, running water, waste removal, etc.) greatly increased social tensions. Guguletu is infamous for its high levels of crime, including world-famous murders like that of Amy Biehl, and it remains a troubled and problem-ridden community even in the 21st century, with an estimated murder every two and a half days between 2005 and 2010.
Blouvlei is the squatters’ settlement where Mandisa remembers growing up, before her family was forcibly relocated to Guguletu. Blouvlei was founded by squatters – people who occupy land or buildings without permission and without paying rent. It was one of three major squatters’ settlements, the others being Windermere and Epping Forest, which were founded by people coming south to find work in Cape Town during and after the Second World War. They were estimated to be home to roughly 20,000 people each. Cape Town was a “closed city” (blacks were not allowed to live there) and there was very little employment or hope for jobs. Poverty was widespread amongst the black population.
Successive governments made efforts to redirect some of the migrants to a “reception depot” in Langa, which itself became terribly overcrowded. After the war, some settlers were allowed by the local council to buy the land they had occupied, but the national government took control of everything related to housing across the country and began to relocate blackAfricans as a part of the efforts to enforce segregation.
There were groups of civil rights activists in Blouvlei who worked to resist the forced relocations as part of their struggles against the apartheid system. As Mandisa explains in the novel, however, these efforts were futile, because the government used police and the military to literally destroy the settlements, forcing the inhabitants cross-country to the newly-founded segregated townships like Guguletu.
Mandisa is sent away from Guguletu to live with her grandmother in the ancestral village where her mother was born. This is a very different world from the one she has known so far in her fourteen years: It is a traditional tribal village where old customs are still in effect and there are none of the amenities of even the township slums. Mandisa is lovesick for China and does not adapt easily to the village.
Gungululu is the name of a district as well as of the village, and is situated in the Eastern Cape region – Mandisa describes it as comprising “some twenty or so villages” (p. 101). This is also where the author Sindiwe Magona was born (see Chapter 2.1). At the time covered in the novel, the village and the region were a part of the Transkei, which existed as a state (although unrecognised by the South African government) from 1976 to 1994.
The village is presented in an ambiguous way in the novel (pp. 88–114). Mandisa’s reaction is predictably and even understandably negative – she is a teenager from a bustling township, torn away from her boyfriend and stuck in a backwards village in the middle of nowhere. She complains that the village is “remote”, but worse, she is “separated from China” (p. 108). But there is a simplicity and a calm in the village which she appreciates, and she admits that the place isn’t bad and that the school is good (p. 108). As is the case with the traditions and customs that have so much influence over her life, Mandisa is frustrated and restrained by rural life, yet appreciates its rooted, solid essence.
Apartheid in South Africa
Apartheid (meaning literally “separateness”) was a system of racial segregation in South Africa. It existed as a state-ordered policy determining South African society from 1948 until 1991.
Segregation is the act or policy of separating people of different races, religions or genders, and treating them differently. Many cultures across the world and throughout history, from 8th century China to 13th century Europe and the USA in the 20th century, have practiced segregation in order to separate people of different races in daily life. Even following the end of apartheid in South Africa, segregation by race, religion and gender still exists in various countries all around the world.
The apartheid system was based on a very simple ideology – white supremacy. The fundamental idea was that white-skinned people are in every way superior to darker-skinned people, and that blacks must be repressed and segregated in order to benefit the white ruling class. This repression and segregation was the form that apartheid took and the guiding principle for how society was structured. The white rulers were predominantly Afrikaners, who were descended from the Dutch colonists of the 17th and 18th centuries. They maintained a firm grip on politics, the economy and land ownership and had, since the 17th century, enforced increasingly strict and regulated racial divisions and separations. The development of apartheid – from isolated, casual racist oppression within regions and communities to outright national policy – was gradual, taking over two centuries, and it then lasted in its most strict and brutal form for a little less than fifty years.
A very brief history of apartheid
Pre-20th century racial oppression and discrimination was more freewheeling and casual: there was a slave era, the increasing theft of land and resources from native peoples by European (mostly Dutch) settlers, and with the coming of the British there was a rise in industrialisation and a great expansion of mining projects (South Africa is home to some of the most profitable diamond mines on the planet, with roughly 49% of all diamonds still being mined in Central and South Africa). Black people were pushed off their land when the white settlers wanted to use it themselves; they were forbidden from living in certain places and doing certain work; they were not allowed to vote or enter white churches; and criminal acts against blacks were barely noticed and rarely dealt with seriously by white authorities. The Dutch settlers had already introduced a hierarchy of race, with whites at the top, Indians and Asians somewhere in the middle, and blacks at the very bottom.
By the mid-20th century, however, the central government began to institute stricter and more precise legislation to enforce the system of white supremacy.
The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act in 1949 is considered to be the first step in the institutionalisation of white supremacy as state policy. This law, and the Immorality Act of the following year, made it a crime to marry or have sexual relationships across racial lines.
Another 1950 law, the Population Registration Act, defined the four legal racial groups: black, white, coloured and Indian. Your race defined where you could live, what job you could have, and who you were allowed to interact with. Identification papers included these racial designations, and citizens were not able to cross the boundaries of their assigned region without these papers.
In 1953 the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act defined racially-specific public services, such as hospitals, universities and public parks, which were not allowed to be used by members of other races.
Also passed in 1953, the Bantu Education Act segregated national education, effectively cutting black South Africans off from the better-financed and organised educational infrastructure, which was from this point on only available to whites.
In the 1950s the government also created the “pass laws”, which stopped black South Africans from being able to travel freely in the country. The pass laws in particular limited blacks’ ability to enter urban areas; black South Africans were now required to provide authorisation from a white employer to be able to enter specific towns and cities (when China vanishes, Mandisa first believes he may have been arrested for just this crime: “Maybe he had been arrested for a pass offence”, p. 144).
These laws led to the forced relocations of the 1960s–1980s, during which millions of non-white Africans were removed from their homes and made to live in so-called “tribal homelands” – although these areas often had no historical validity or relevance for the tribes. These regions were also largely unsuitable for larger populations, with very poor agricultural potential and little or no infrastructure. Some of these so-called bantustans became independent republics. The goal of the white supremacist governments was to strip black Africans of their South African citizenship as they moved into the bantustans, thus removing all remaining rights from the blacks and freeing the white rulers of all remaining responsibility for the blacks.
Petty and grand apartheid – Very broadly speaking, apartheid in South Africa came in two forms. Petty apartheid is the segregation of public facilities (hospitals, public toilets, churches, public transport etc.) and social events, meaning that blacks and whites are not allowed – by law – to share these facilities or to mix with one another in “social events”. Grand apartheid is concerned with housing and employment. So the relocations which play such a huge role in Mandisa’s youth are an example of grand apartheid: the government telling her and her family where they are allowed to live (see p. 28, where Mandisa describes the shock of being relocated to Guguletu). Black labour was necessary to uphold South Africa’s industries – particularly mining – because the blacks could be exploited with poor wages, little or no labour law protections, and inadequate security for dangerous jobs. This government control of work is also a case of grand apartheid.
The apartheid system was hugely controversial and widely denounced all around the world. As well as activism and resistance within South Africa, there were global movements aimed at stopping and removing the institution of white supremacy as state policy. Many countries joined in arms and trade embargoes against South Africa. In 1973 the United Nations officially defined the apartheid system as a crime against humanity, which would allow criminal prosecution of individuals responsible for upholding and enforcing the system. Not all member states signed the declaration: by 2008, nearly 90 states had still not signed.
Sport under apartheid – The world of sports is not relevant to Mother to Mother, but a brief look at the subject highlights the injustice and absurdity of white supremacist policies on a social as well as international level. Because the apartheid system forbids multiracial sports teams, it was almost impossible for teams from other countries to play any kind of sports in South Africa. No teams were permitted to compete if they contained members of different races.
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