An introduction: Peteni in context

Wright, L.S. (2004) An introduction: Peteni in context. English in Africa, 31 (2). pp. 7-24. ISSN 0376-8902




It is rare for a writer to make a literary impact with only one novel. It is even more unusual when that work is written by a novice author in his early sixties. Yet such is the case of R.L. Peteni, whose novel, Hill of Fools, was published by David Philip in South Africa in 1976, and internationally in the same year by Heinemann in the African Writers Series. Four years later, in 1980, the book was translated by the author into Xhosa as Kwazidenge and published by the Lovedale Press. Twenty years after initial publication, in 1996, there came a television version of Kwazidenge broadcast by the SABC, starring Willie Thambo and Amanda Quwe, though the locale was translated – in the bizarre logic of television – to an urban environment on the Cape Flats. The transposition, though pragmatic in terms of television demographics, destroyed much of the point of Peteni’s work, for Hill of Fools is South Africa’s first regional novel in English by a black writer. It is also the first novel in English by a Xhosa-speaker.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article is the Introduction to a special issue of English in Africa on R.L. Peteni. Professor Laurence Wright is Director and Head of the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA), Rhodes University
Uncontrolled Keywords:R.L. Peteni; Hill of Fools; A.C. Jordan; Chinua Achebe; ATASA; cultural traditions; Xhosa culture; apartheid; Political protest; South African literature; Kwazidenge; Keiskammahoek; Fort Hare; Lovedale; Eastern Cape; Ciskei; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1105
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:29 Sep 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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