"Plunging into the Mire of Corruption and Pleasure": Niq Mhlongo's Way Back Home

"Plunging into the Mire of Corruption and Pleasure": Niq Mhlongo's Way Back Home

Author: 
Kenqu, A Yolisa
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2019
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Source: 
Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2019 , pp. 155-165
Abstract: 

This article presents a close reading of Niq Mhlongo's Way Back Home, particularly its representation of the post-apartheid nation-state as a place of excess or, indeed, what James Ogude might call a "a site of eating". To begin, I locate Mhlongo's oeuvre within the long and rich tradition of black-centred artistic expression that is preoccupied with black masculinities and the politics/performance of 'hustling'. Turning to Way Back Home specifically, I argue that the novel functions as a critique of the excesses, including the kleptocracy, of the ruling elite. I show that the novel ultimately reveals the underside of South Africa's euphoric discourse of the 'Rainbow Nation'. I wish to evoke not only his novel's interrogation of the notions of home, belonging, desire and the unheimlich in post-apartheid South Africa, but also the sense in which failure is always already a certainty in postcolonial states which adopt and function within structures that were never designed for African progress.

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CITATION: Kenqu, A Yolisa. "Plunging into the Mire of Corruption and Pleasure": Niq Mhlongo's Way Back Home . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2019. Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2019 , pp. 155-165 - Available at: http://library.au.int/plunging-mire-corruption-and-pleasure-niq-mhlongos-way-back-home