Outobiografie en herinnering as verset in Adam Small se The Orange Earth

  • Hein Willemse University of Pretoria, South Africa


The Orange Earth is discussed here as a fictionalised autobiographical account in which the Afrikaans poet and playwright, Adam
Small, reflects on the impact of apartheid, creating a counternarrative of a marginalised life during that political system. In the
play, presented essentially as a play of ideas, the Coloured main character Johnny Adams, the fictionalised alter ego of the
author, plants a bomb that kills a white child and much of the action involves his rationalization of his deed of terror. The play
references the cultural and linguistic relationship between Coloured and white Afrikaans-speaking people, and the former’s
humiliation and exclusion under the apartheid policy. It is argued inter alia that Small’s choice of English as a language of
literary expression could be interpreted as part of a counterdiscourse on cultural disaffection and political disillusion just as his
option of urban violence as a solution to apartheid, his “cry for citizenship”, amounts to a desperate act rather than one of
revolutionary violence. The article concludes with a discussion on the multiple meanings associated with the title that serves as
a metaphor for the countermemory of Small’s narrative. Keywords: Adam Small, Afrikaans culture, Afrikaans plays, antiapartheid
literature, The Orange Earth, revolutionary violence.
Research articles