Political issues in africa detergent by nadine gordimer
NOR AZLAN ROSEMINAHKHAIRUNNISA
Nadine Gordimer explores the theme of defying oppression through the use of characterization, setting, and tone in the short story "Africa Emergent". Elias Nkomo, had quite a good life in Africa as a sculptor, he had his works recognized, but he was oppressed in by the laws. So, went to America in the hope of getting himself general education and freeing himself from the opression he had in Africa. Unfortunately, he was still affected by the opression he had in Africa.
As his settings changed from the oppressors in Africa to the oppressors in America he found no escape from oppression. In fact, he realized that the oppressors from Africa were still affecting him. The apartheid in Africa prevented black people from growing, and when he evolved enough to know that he had to see life out side of Africa; he was not welcome to come back to Africa. According to the short story "It was the South African government who killed him.” The only escape he found from that(the oppression) was death. His only freedom was to end his life in the hope that the oppression would no longer choke his life away or control him. In short, when the curiosity of the oppressed allows them to evolve they must not only free themselves from the oppressor, but also from the oppression.
1. “Passes” have to be written out for the blacks in order to keep them from being arrested for being out after the curfew. This suggests political inequality because there would be no “curfew” for the whites. TE : “We had to remember to write out passes at night, so that our actors could get home without being arrested for being out after the curfew for blacks...”2. There are even “the black people’s section” at the train.
3. According to the law, it is illegal for a black man to live in a white suburb. The legislation of the 1950’s and 1960’s proscribed any form of political or intimate social liaison between white and black people. (http://www.jstor.org) That is why, the narrator has to lie about renovating his garage, while on the other hand, he was actually building a place for Elias. TE: “It was illiegal for him to live there in a white suburb, of course, ...... the white building inspector didnt turn a hair of suspicion when I said that I was converting the garage as a flat for my wifes mother. ”
4. It is hard or even impossible for a black man to get a passport. (Elias are not given any reason as to why he can’t get a passport) This is because, the blacks are meant to stay put in some parts of South Africa where the “government” says they belong. It seems that where they should be and where they shouldn’t be are decided by the government. They can’t have their says. They just have to accept it.
Even if they have their passports, they must be considered a police spy (spying for their country). The only way to prove that they are not spies are by being imprisoned.Assumptions : A black man with passport (free to travel anywhere) must be very special (one of high authority) that they will be suspected as a spy.
5. Once a black man are granted an exit-permit, they are not to return back to South Africa or its mandatory territory. (where you are now, is where you will be.) The apartheid issue in Africa prevented black people from growing and that’s what motivated Elias of travelling out of Africa. But then, he can’t get back to Africa after going out.6. A black man will not have his study grant included with travel expenses.7. A black man will be arrested if he is caught attending a meeting of a banned political organization.
8. The two occupations, architect and artist represent white & black differences in the South African culture. The white man is an architect, with more formal education. His position holds more prestige and economic value in society. Elias, a black man, is a sculptor. Though both architect and sculptor can be thought of as artistic, the sculptors creativity is more innate but the architect holds more power.
9. Under the Detention Act, one(the colored) can be imprisoned without even being told why and there are no charges on him.
Why does Gordimer choose to not give the other black man a name? Since the story is told in 1st person POV, for the narrator to name "him" would put the narrator at risk. A white man admitting friendship with a black man is bad enough, but one who is in prison is worse still. “Hes in prison now, so Im not going to mention his name. It mightnt be a good thing, you understand. ”
The author of the short story is a woman. Then, why does she choose to view the story from a man’s point of view? Why doesn’t she put the narrator as a woman?
Don’t just free yourself from the OPPRESSER, but free yourself from the OPPRESSION as well..AND NEVER RETURN!