Adam Small, Kanna en ‘daardie morele moment’

Wium Van Zyl

Abstract


This essay revisits Adam Small’s best known play Kanna hy kô hystoe (“Kanna he comes home”, 1965) in order to evaluate its
relevance for contemporary readers and audiences. The text, considered one of the classics of Afrikaans literature, is analysed from
a rhetorical point of view. The analysis includes an overview of several pertinent academic studies on the play, a summary of the
play’s sociopolitical context, and a brief background to rhetorical analysis. The article further takes account of the author’s
struggle with his prevailing cultural and political environment before and during the writing and publication of the play, as well
as the drawn-out period of five years before its eventual first professional performance, and its subdued reception by prominent
Afrikaans literary critics. The second part of the article involves the identification and analysis of three rhetorical problems
presented in the play: “Did Kanna act unethically by not returning ‘home’ after his studies?”; “Did Dickie deserve his death
sentence?”; and “Who was responsible for creating the wretched circumstances which Makiet, who had always been caring, had
to endure?” Keywords: Adam Small, Afrikaans plays, Kanna hy kô hystoe (1965), rhetoric.

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