By Jane Watts
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Additional resources for Black Writers from South Africa: Towards a Discourse of Liberation
All these patterns are determined by one thing- scarcity. 43 And society functions in this way because of scarcity, a condition which fosters competition for resources and entails each man in being either the one to die or the one to cause others to die. In this way, Sartre sees 28 Black Writers from South Africa every society as being based on violence, and South Africa is an obvious extreme example of this. However, South Africa differs in three important respects from all other societies: not only does it differ in the degree of violence it entails, but it differs in that it bases the choice of who is to die and who is to cause others to die (literally, not figuratively) upon pigmentation, and also in that it enshrines this process in its laws and its religion.
Though a good writer will often make considerable innovations in form, the starting point is always the current tradition. James Joyce and Virginia Woolf depended upon a healthy novel tradition for their experimental base; T. S. Eliot is a direct inheritor of the poetic tradition; and Beckett could never have pared down the dramatic form so effectively if there had not been a healthy dramatic form in existence: none ofthe innovators of literature could have worked in a vacuum. But a vacuum is precisely what the South African writer has to start from: a vacuum deliberately created The Case for a New Approach 21 by the Directorate of Publications.
Testifies to the division of languages and the division of classes. To write in a 'literary' way, in modern society, is inevitably to collude with such divisiveness. 6 6 Black South African writers, over recent years, have consistently consolidated their refusal to write in a literary way, and thus to collude, not merely with the division of languages and the division of classes, but also with the division of races. ) There are, however, areas in which aesthetic and literary theory can illuminate the critical analysis of the way black South African writers have chosen to write.