Unconfessed : a female slave's testimony
Engelbrecht, Mandy Renée
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Although well documented in terms of historical significance, very little is known about South African slaves’ experience of slavery. Except for a few accounts by slaves such as Emilie Lehn and Katie Jacobs, South African slave narratives (unlike their American counterparts) never received much attention. This can be ascribed to, among other things, the prominence of apartheid on the South African social scene and the shame associated with a slave past or being of slave ancestry. As a result of the lack of information regarding the experience of these slaves, fictional narratives such as The Slave Book by Rayda Jacobs and Philida by André Brink have succeeded in filling this gap by making use of historical documents, such as court documents and slave registers, to create stories of slaves. Yvette Christiansë’s Unconfessed makes a notable contribution to South African literature, both in terms of subject matter and narrative technique. This novel directs the reader’s attention to a part of South African history that has been neglected in literature and society. It addresses oppression, racism, hypocrisy and sexual abuse, to name but a few,. It challenges the traditional concept of genre by combining different elements of the traditional autobiography, with the confessional and testimonial modes of literature. The combination of these modes creates a striking and vivid narrative, which relates Sila’s experiences from her own perspective. Furthermore, this fragmented narrative, allows the reader a glimpse into Sila’s mind and thoughts regarding her past, present and future.
- Humanities