CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
In the early 2000s, the country was still looking for its own path; while the streets pulsate with the same determination and optimism that ignited the struggle for lullation, reality appears harsh and complex. The biggest scourges that plague the country are violence, unemployment and AIDS, and the population is now divided no longer by skin color but by social class. According to dentistrymyth, South Africans are very fond of sport; the most popular disciplines are football (South Africa will host the world championships in 2010), rugby and cricket. The demonstrations organized in the country are numerous and linked to different ethnic groups. In February and April, for example, the Kavadi Festival is held in Durban, an important Hindu festival in which devotees skewered meat as a sign of devotion. Underberg hosts the Splashy Fen Music Festival in April, featuring pop, rock and jazz music. In July, the National Arts Festival takes place in Grahamstown, a showcase of all South African art events. In South Africa we cannot speak of a typical cuisine. Even the settlers who arrived there brought different flavors and ingredients: a cornmeal which is a basic ingredient for Africans, spiced sausages (boerewors) or the dried meat (biltong) of the Afrikaners, the curry of the Indians. Beer is the national drink, while the wines produced here are becoming very well known and famous. In 2008 there were five cultural sites designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the areas of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai where fossil remains of hominids have been found (1999, 2005); Robben Island (1999), military base and prison between the 17th and 20th centuries; uKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park (2000), a mixed natural and cultural site, which houses ancient rock paintings of the San people; the Mapungubwe area (2003), characterized by the remains of the ancient kingdom of the same name; the landscape and the Richtersveld region, where the Nama groups spend their pastoral and semi-nomadic life.
CULTURE: AFRIKAANS LITERATURE
Afrikaans literature began in the first half of the century. XIX, at first with sporadic writings of secondary importance, among which, however, the most ancient theatrical work stood out: The new order of the knights by Ch. E. Boniface. From 1875, the “Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners” (Association of thoroughbred Afrikaners) movement developed in the Cape province, which considered Afrikaans national and literary language. At the head of the movement was the pastor SJ du Toit (1847-1911), polemicist, linguist and novelist, who began the translation of the Bible. The Anglo-Boer War inspired a patriotic poem, extolling the suffering and heroism of the race. These themes characterized the good artistic production of “Tweede Beweging” (second movement for Afrikaans), in which the poet-pioneers CL Leipoldt (1880-1947), JF Celliers (1865-1940) and Totius stood out. (pseudonym of DJ du Toit, 1877-1953), singers of the struggle for liberation from the English yoke. Meanwhile, the poet E. Marais (1871-1936) announced the generation of the Twenties, attentive to the new political, economic and religious problems, which found in the non-conformist poetry of Toon van den Heever (1894-1956) its most high. The prose, confined to an idealized realism, expressed the rural, patriarchal element, with the writers CM van de Heever (1902-1957), DF Malherbe (1881-1969) who was also a good poet, CJ Langenhoven (1873-1932), J. van Bruggen (1881-1957), and the playwrights JW Grosskopf (1885-1948) and HA Fagan (1899-1963). The movement of the 1930s (“Beweging van Derting”) brought Afrikaans poetryto its maturity. The powerful personality of NP van Wyk Louw (1906-1970) dominated with a multifaceted work that reached its peak with the poems of Tristia and the epic drama Raka (1941). Reconnecting with two precursors, the stylist Sangiro (pseudonym of AA Pienaar, 1894-1979) and the poet AG Wisser (1876-1929), the generation of the Thirties added, with U. Krige (1910-1987), Elisabeth Eybers (1915) -2007) and ID du Plessis (1900-1981), a new perspective on Afrikaans poetry, overcoming regionalism and nationalism in a universal vision. The strong social conscience and acute sense of actuality, typical of Uys Krige, are also found in the generation of the forties (SJ Pretorius, 1917-1995, and especially DJ Opperman, 1914-1985). In the 1950s, new writers appeared with whom interest gradually expanded from particularism to more universal themes. Thus the way was prepared for authors of the Sixties and Seventies, such as FA Venter (1916-1997). In these younger generations, solidarity with the Boer tribe tends to dissolve, leaving the field to silence or more or less explicit criticism. Among the writers most committed to the opposition to the ideology of apartheid are the novelist A. Brink (b. 1935) and the poet B. Breytenbach (b. 1939), who remained in prison from 1975 to 1982. Similar trends are affirmed in the theater too, with a problem that (especially in Krige’s works) goes beyond the limits of pure documentation historical. Since the 1970s we have witnessed the de-solidarization of many writers from apartheidpolitics. Literature criticizes a suffocating community because it is closed in on itself, sometimes charging itself with desperate violence. The poets of the young generation, such as W. Knobel, H. Rall, Fanie Oliver, prefer syncopated rhythms, universal symbols, and outline, in their aggressive and bitter verses, the hope of a liberation from the shame of apartheid. Among the theatrical authors we mention PD Uys, J. Senekal, H. Grové. Among the prose writers stand out D. Erlank, MER Kwartet, D. Jacobs, T. Du Toit and PJ Schoeman. In the 1980s, literature appears increasingly contested, from Karel Schoeman to John Miles, or allegorical with Elsa Joubert. The anguish for a reality that opens only on fight or flight is reflected in the novels of A. Strachan and in the prose and verse works of E. van Heerden. The symbolic novels of E. le Roux, those of A. Brink, Elsa Joubert and Chris Barnard are situated in a militant and sometimes apocalyptic perspective.