CHRIS ROPER: Coetzee, Krog and the comfort of words
Some of the region’s top writers will appear at the inaugural Books on the Bay festival in Simon’s Town next month. Their works present us with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of our current condition — but also some sense of goodness in a world seemingly gone bad
The weather in Cape Town last Friday was hot and sticky, with my car’s temperature gauge showing 34ºC in the late afternoon. Perhaps not ideal conditions in which to squeeze cheek to buttock into the church of St Francis of Assisi in Simon’s Town for the opening of the inaugural Books on the Bay literary festival. The purgatory of those torture devices known to Christians as pews, and the struggle to remain absolutely still while breathing shallowly through your mouth, in case you break into a heavy sweat, added a quality of endurance to the event.
And yet, considering the subject matter and the speakers, a little creature discomfort wasn’t inappropriate. All three authors read from their works — works that spoke to the past, present and future of what we could very loosely term the Southern African postcolonial experience. Or we could call it the condition of fractured freedoms, if we were looking to escape from the conceptual claws of historical determinism...
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