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Shirley, Goodness & Mercy book. Read 23 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Despite Van Wyk's later becoming involved in the anti- apa. stories that he made them his own. His two memoirs, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy and Eggs to Lay, Chickens to. Hatch, bear all the hallmarks. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Helene Strauss and others published and coloured identity in Chris van Wyk's Shirley, Goodness and Mercy.

Shirley Goodness And Mercy Pdf

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Remembering, resisting and re-imagining colouredness in Shirley, Goodness and Mercy A number of scholars of coloured identity in South Africa have suggested that the onset of democracy has permitted the creative and affirmative re-articulation of colouredness as a social identity in ways that were impossible under white supremacist rule.

This process of re-articulation is intimately tied to the construction of cultural memory, since group consciousness is reliant on the production of a shared historical narrative within which individuals with divergent personal backgrounds can imagine the interconnectedness of their past, present and future with others. Whereas each of these texts can be read as taking part in an ideological project prioritised by the Black Consciousness Movement BCM already in the early s — namely to challenge dominant colonial and apartheid versions of history through the dissemination of suppressed local histories — they do so from a post-apartheid perspective.

The text also enables a rethinking of creolisation as a process of identity formation that takes place in contexts where the cultural codes governing behaviour are difficult to decipher.

The text charts both the personal and political coming of age of an inquisitive young boy who struggles to sift through all the unwritten rules that regulate behaviour in apartheid South Africa. The retrospective narrative voice makes it clear from the outset that this is a story in which the personal and political are intimately intertwined.

The narrative opens with an account of the political dramas unfolding in South Africa in , when Van Wyk is four years old: the Sharpeville massacre, the banning of the ANC and PAC, and the incarceration of many political activists.

The news of her death comes to him as it: does to all four-year-olds from the overhanging vines of the adults, through the eaves of the wise who suddenly are not so wise.

For his ouma, the poetic voice explains, this road, which is: cobbled with the dirges of beer cans tremulous with stones and filled with more people than children born to the world that day grows gradually shorter, but for Van Wyk: staring over her shoulder, it grew longer and longer. Since the young Chris is not made privy to the talk of grownups, he positions himself at the edges of their exchanges, where he snatches titbits of conversation and pieces them together into what he hopes are reliable versions of events.

If you can hear them out there in the lounge, they can hear you here in the kitchen. Make busy noises like drinking a glass of water, singing bits of pop songs, calling the dog outside.

Read a book or do some homework. If they come into the kitchen to switch on the kettle or something, they see a boy struggling with maths and not just staring at a wall.

Be wary of jokes coming from the lounge. If someone in the lounge tells a joke, try not to laugh. But [his] family is not unique in this regard. Discourses that construct white privilege as both normative and deserved permeate the programmes on Springbok Radio 33 Burdened by race: Coloured identities in southern Africa that people in Riverlea listen to. White people have phones and so they can phone in and win prizes.

We listen to the radio, but like eavesdroppers, listening to white people talk and laugh and cry and win prizes and stuff like that.

The eavesdropper always has to hide in the wings, and is continually at risk of being exposed and shamed.

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The Van Wyk household, he explains, usually runs out of toilet paper by the middle of the week, when sheets cut up from used copies of The Star have to serve as a substitute. The subjectivities that are staged in Shirley, Goodness and Mercy are shown to be incomplete and to require adjustment according to context. Yet do these shifts necessarily produce creolised formations of identity?

Creolisation is about a bricolage drawing freely [sic] upon what is available, recreating with new content and in new forms a distinctive culture, a creation in a situation of domination and conflict. The act of eavesdropping serves as a fitting metaphor for the creolisation process, for it requires a person to listen attentively, to learn, unlearn, resist and negotiate the information gleaned from overheard exchanges, and to shape this knowledge into performances of identity that range from being self- directed to being coerced.

The eavesdropper is necessarily subjected to a set of social norms that constrain his or her agency. The pressures that shape racial and cultural identification for Van Wyk interestingly shift in accordance with the changes that national and struggle politics undergo throughout the s, s and s. These shifts can be recognised in the different ways in which he tries to make sense of coloured identity as positioned midway between white and black in the racial hierarchy.

The manner in which he negotiates this positioning works to a number of ends in the text. As a child, he on occasion finds himself unable to resist drawing on the racist ideology that circulates freely in Riverlea.

Yet he also demonstrates that the coloured community of Riverlea is anything but uniform in their support for discourses of intra-black racism. So fuck the Walburghs and fuck Verwoerd. He begins to recognise that expressions of intra-black racism among his peers are closely tied to the psychological divisions that pervade coloured self-imagining.

These divisions are spawned in large measure by discourses of racialisation within which human worth is measured in terms of arbitrary somatic markers, and people are judged according to their perceived physical and, by implication, moral proximity to whiteness.

The cultural inequalities that permeate colonial and apartheid discourse instead tend to filter into day-to-day interpersonal interactions, where processes of creolisation produce interpretations of identity and of bodily markers along hierarchical lines. Van Wyk registers his growing alienation from such expressions of racial self-loathing and finds himself drawn to the BCM which he accesses through an interest in poetry and writing.

From this moment on, he takes an active role in the struggle against the knowledge systems of apartheid, and swiftly internalises Black Consciousness ideology in his poetry.

In Van Wyk is appointed as the editor of Staffrider, the Black Consciousness-inspired South African literary journal first published in By refusing to acknowledge the terms within which apartheid attempted to fix race, the BCM of the s and s did important work to expose the slipperiness and arbitrariness of racial signification.

The oppositional vocabularies forged by the BCM during these years broadened the identity narratives available to coloured South Africans by foregrounding intra-black connections. Yet despite its crucial 37 Burdened by race: Coloured identities in southern Africa revision of interpersonal relations, Black Consciousness ideology did not always accommodate all oppressed groups equally.

A similar argument could be made in relation to the production of discourses of non-racialism by the United Democratic Front UDF in the s. That these certainties have shifted is evident, for instance, in the story that Van Wyk tells of his encounters with Mr Lawrence, the principal of the primary school he attended.

Years later, after Van Wyk has confronted an unrepentant Mr Kelly about his abusive behaviour, he runs into Mr Lawrence again. No longer the apprenticing eavesdropper, Van Wyk now legitimately listens in on and records the life stories of his community.

But this is no uncomplicated, romanticised act of representation. As with the story of Mr Kelly and Mr Lawrence, Van Wyk does not shy away from foregrounding the contradictions and confusions that continue to plague attempts at articulating coloured identities in Riverlea.

In this context, political apathy and various acts of racial othering still seem to be the most fashionable approach to handling the crushing realities of poverty, unemployment and crime endemic to township living. The project of excavation that Van Wyk undertakes is openly reflexive about the difficulties of accessing a past obscured by colonial and apartheid historiography.

These ancestors of ours spoke a clicking language. I am black. I write black poetry. I am a follower of the black consciousness philosophy of Steve Biko.

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This ironic passage indicates that the complicated cultural and racial disavowals spawned by the ideological absolutes of apartheid are now open to reflection, and that the uncertainties that produced these disavowals might now be openly discussed. There are, however, many contemporary processes of creolisation in South Africa that entail the production of subjectivity in contexts of much more extreme violence and inequality than those of which the relatively privileged Van Wyk writes.

These processes are reflected in many of the cultural texts that explore the subjective transformations that people have to make in contexts of violent inequality.

This is a struggle that the young Chris faces daily as he attempts to negotiate the confusions that South African constructions of racial inbetweenness bring. His feelings of discomfort and cultural alienation can be read as partly informing his decision to embrace Black Consciousness ideology in the s and s. Yet the retrospective autobiographical narrator strains to find a comfortable fit for his younger self even in this site of identification.

Also, that Van Wyk offers no clear guidelines on how colouredness might be inhabited in post-apartheid South Africa speaks to its ongoing open-endedness and mutability.

Why then, to sum up, do the vocabularies of creolisation theory lend themselves so readily to analyses of coloured identity formation in South Africa?

These are questions that can be fruitfully addressed in the contemporary political and cultural climate in South Africa, where scholars are beginning to recognise the importance of trying to understand why essentialist racial categories continue to circulate in the ways that they do.

The complex imbrication of these two theories of identity — the one progressive, the other reactionary — has been central to the ways in which processes of creolisation have been theorised in the Caribbean, which explains in part why these theories fit so well in the South African context.

Endnotes 1 Van Wyk C. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Johannesburg: Picador Africa, Identity is read, instead, as socially and historically constituted, and as something that comes into being in and through performance — that is, through the ways in which people live out or enact social norms. Identities, in other words, are assumed to be formed through the various ways in which people, through their daily choices, either affirm or challenge the socially and historically circumscribed cultural codes that regulate behaviour in society.

The idea that identity comes into being through performative acts was first formulated by Butler J.

Shirley, Goodness & Mercy – A childhood memoir by Chris van Wyk

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Sandton: Heinemann, 1— Coloured identities are read as performatively enacted in an attempt to undermine apartheid constructions of racial identity as unchanging and biologically determined. See Hall D. New York: Routledge. Transformation 47, 94— See, for instance, Distiller N. English Studies in Africa, 47, no. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other: Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Return to Book Page. A Childhood in Africa by Chris van Wyk. Despite Van Wyk's later becoming involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, this is not a book about racial politics. Instead, it is a delightful account of one boy's special relationship with the relatives, friends and neighbors—often decidedly quirky—who made up his community, and of the important coping role laughter and humor played during the years he spent in bleak, du Despite Van Wyk's later becoming involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, this is not a book about racial politics.

Instead, it is a delightful account of one boy's special relationship with the relatives, friends and neighbors—often decidedly quirky—who made up his community, and of the important coping role laughter and humor played during the years he spent in bleak, dusty townships.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published October 1st by Pan Macmillan first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4.

Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Dec 13, Carolien rated it it was amazing Shelves: Chris van Wyk's reminiscences of his childhood and youth in apartheid South Africa is an excellent book.

He grew up in Riverlea, a working-class so-called Coloured suburb in southern Johannesburg in the s and s. I would have loved to have heard him speak, because I can just imagine telling these stories about family, friends, enemies and the daily rituals that he wrote with such charm and wit.

His family was relatively poor and there were six children to feed, but there were lots of fami Chris van Wyk's reminiscences of his childhood and youth in apartheid South Africa is an excellent book. His family was relatively poor and there were six children to feed, but there were lots of family and friends.

His mother's mother, grandmother Ruby, took him to buy some Hardy Boys Books even thought she couldn't read herself. He would make a name for himself as a poet and have his first poetry collection published early in his twenties.

His poetry would bring him to the attention of the apartheid police and he would become very involved in the anti-apartheid struggle although that part of his life is not covered in this book. There are quite a few poems quoted in the book which adds to the enjoyment of reading it.

This book illustrates the resilience of youth growing up in apartheid South Africa, growing awareness of the unequal political status enjoyed by citizens and coming of age in an era of struggle. One of my favourite books of the year. Jun 21, Tania rated it really liked it Shelves: A memoir of a coloured person's life in apartheid SA. At times funny, at times very sad but always well written. This was not always an easy book to read, as it is a very real reminder of the sins of our fathers.

View 2 comments. Jul 19, Tania Kliphuis rated it really liked it Shelves: When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in , I was 5 years old When he was elected as President in the first democratic elections, I was Twenty years on from his release, I'm afraid I often forget just how harrowing Apartheid was for anyone who didn't have a certain skin colour.

However, Chris van Wyk's book is by no means a "woe-is-me" tale of growing up in the Apartheid era. He injects such humour into his early days that you are drawn into tales about his family and friends, a When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in , I was 5 years old He injects such humour into his early days that you are drawn into tales about his family and friends, and the dusty township that they call home.

I laughed out loud often while reading this book. Later on, he begins to tell about how angry he felt at being labelled "inferior" - he knew he wasn't and he got involved in the struggle by writing. Much of what he wrote was beautiful poetry of which "In detention" is possibly one of his best-known. I like this man a lot. He writes without self-pity - he writes with a lot of pride, and there's very little else that can be more respected in a person than if they are proud of who they are and where they come from.

Well worth the read. Oct 23, Coleen Cloete rated it really liked it. In parts so funny, in parts uncomfortable and sad. A different perspective and insight into the lives of coloured people daily life's during apartheid. Dec 15, Caroline Greyling rated it it was amazing Shelves: There are many novels available in recent years that deal with Apartheid and the struggle. Many autobiographies are available detailing the lives of those closest to the struggle and thankfully, history books and school curriculum have been rewritten to better reflect the truth of those times.

Van Wyk tells the stories of his childhood in true South African style, with humor interspersed with proudly South African lingo. He brings to life the vibrance of township life, the simplicity of childhood and at times, the depressing normality of a poverty stricken part of the country and culture that very few South Africans really got the chance to see.

His memories have reinforced my views that most teachers never realize the astounding impact they have on our children, how a flippant word can affect their entire lives and how one word of encouragement can turn a struggling child into a dreamer, a writer, a poet, or even a President.

The same can be said of parents and authority figures in the community. There were many references, places and traditions that I, as a middle-class white South African could relate to. Some of the things Chris used to eat and do with his parents, I remember doing with mine. The affection in his family was tangible in his story-telling.

I particularly admired the way he reflected back on the discipline his parents meted out to him and his siblings and the obvious respect he continues to have for them. Chris clearly understood that they did the very best they could for him, despite their circumstances. The role of alcohol in the community and family life was, and judging by the number of liquor stores and shebeens still adorning even the smallest South African outpost, still remains, a huge part of our culture.

Jul 29, Sonja Arlow rated it really liked it Shelves: It was also inevitable that politics would feature somewhere in his memoires as he was a precocious child growing up in Apartheid SA.

Jul 31, Mel rated it really liked it Shelves: A memoir about growing up coloured in apartheid South Africa. Beautifully written. Sep 30, Lucinda Cloete rated it it was amazing. I am saddened by the passing on of this talented writer, Chris van Wyk, on Saturday 4 October.

PDF Shirley Goodness and Mercy (Angels Everywhere Book 4) PDF Book Free

My condolences to his wife , Kate, and his extended family. Shirley, Goodness and Mercy" will always be one of my favourite books. May his beautiful soul rest in peace. May 26, Bill rated it it was amazing. A great book about a people stuck in a twilight zone neither black nor white in the Apartheid South Africa.

A most enjoyable book. Mar 25, Elsabe van der Merwe rated it liked it.Adhikari, Not White Enough, The eavesdropper is necessarily subjected to a set of social norms that constrain his or her agency. London: Kegan Paul; Loos J. Zara Bromfield rated it it was amazing Nov 16, Why then, to sum up, do the vocabularies of creolisation theory lend themselves so readily to analyses of coloured identity formation in South Africa?

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