BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Kujoni: South Africa in Malawi’s national imaginary

    Msiska, Mpalive Hangson (2017) Kujoni: South Africa in Malawi’s national imaginary. Journal of Southern African Studies 43 (5), pp. 1011-1029. ISSN 0305-7070.

    19666.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (768kB) | Preview


    This article recovers the literary and political value of Legson Kayira’s novel, Jingala (1969), dismissed as lightweight by earlier critics. I argue instead for the seriousness of its engagement with a significant aspect of Malawian life, namely the country’s historical reliance on the export of migrant labour to its mineral-rich neighbours, especially South Africa. Between 1900 and 1988, the country was the second largest supplier of contracted labour to the South African mines after Mozambique. Kayira’s novel offers significant new insights into the effects of migrant labour on Malawians’ consciousness of South Africa and themselves. In light of South Africa’s current membership of the BRICS (the economic collaboration of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), as well as the BRICS’ claim to provide an alternative to the imperial legacy of Africa’s relationship with the west, a fresh look at Jingala will allow us to reconsider Malawi’s relationship with South Africa, that country’s historically imperialist role in the region and the legacy of ‘kujoni’ -- labour migration to Johannesburg, the city that represented South Africa and its opportunities. Using a broadly cultural materialist approach and Edward Said’s notion of imaginative geography, as well as a world-systems theory approach nuanced by recent work in globalisation theory, the article maps out the imagined geography of South Africa represented in the novel and considers how it intervened in everyday life.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Legson Kayira, Malawian literature, South Africa, imaginative geography, migrant labour, world-system, masculinities
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Mpalive-Hangson Msiska
    Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 11:27
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 05:39


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item