Nkululeko Nkomo & Sibusiso Nkomo: Melancholy as Witness and Active Black Citizenry in the Writing of A.S. Vil-Nkomo. [Abstract]
This article highlights the importance of viewing an author’s body of work through an emotive lens as a sociological source of archives from which we can extract a biographical life story. It accomplishes this by citing examples from two of our late grandfather A.S. Vil-Nkomo’s short stories that were published in the 1930s and by utilising biographical and historical analyses. Both stories used melancholy as a literary method to underscore the sombre circumstances of black suffering, errantry, and death. By highlighting the ungrievable social, psychical, and material consequences of racial tyranny and injustice, they are rendered visible. We can see how the loss of selves, including selves rooted in ancestral histories, selves anchored in their families and communities, and ideal selves capable of realizing their full potential to be, surfaced a type of affective community with shared grief and marked a social landscape where it is difficult for someone who is black to find a place. The stories also convey the urgency of changing this status quo. A.S. Vil-Nkomo used a form of self-writing in a country where the oppressed black majority was denied a voice in order to inspire an active black citizenry driven by the desire to create new selves and societies free of racial segregation.
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