Oor literêre geskiedskrywing en Suid-Afrikaanse studies in Europa: Hoe om die eksotiese vertroud te maak

  • Jerzy Koch University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Keywords: Literary historiography, Afrikaans literary history, Afrikaans outside South Africa, South African Studies


This article is an adapted and elaborated version of the memorial lecture (sponsored by the National Afrikaans Literature Museum and Research Centre in Bloemfontein) delivered in Potchefstroom on 4 March 2005. My encounter with the famous scholar P. J. Nienaber prompted deeper reflection on literary historiography and education methodology at tertiary institutions. The core question of the essay is to which extent the traditional way of thinking about Afrikaans literature, as applied in South Africa, should be rewritten when the Afrikaans literary historical process is explained to an external, foreign target audience. I argue from my experience as the author of a history of Afrikaans literature written for an European audience. The second related issue under investigation and supplied with examples is in connection with the new field of study “South African Studies” as it is planned and being realised in Poland. Here I go deeper into the question of what the possibilities of knowledge transfer are when the object of study is an exotic reality as well as ways of familiarizing it. The idea is that the new Polish curriculum should benefit the student in two ways: to transfer a certain amount of knowledge and, by this indirect route, give new insights into the student’s own familiar reality.


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