Antjie Krog, communality and the need for interconnectedness with the other in Mede-wete

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This article investigates the concept of interconnectedness or interconnectedness-towards-wholeness and the functioning thereof in Antjie Krog’s 2014 poetry volume Mede-wete (usually written without the hyphen; literally shared knowledge) the English version is titled Synapse). The search for a multilevel union serves a continuous theme in Mede-wete. The need for interconnectedness, a concept closely linked to African philosophy, is a recurring theme in Krog's oeuvre.

Interconnectedness is grounded in the African worldview ubuntu, where the relationship between the self and the other is emphasised. The article highlights the different forms of human connections and the key role of the community in the successful embodiment of ubuntu. The views of various African philosophers, including John Mbiti, Ifeanyi Menkiti and Kwame Gyekye, are presented, as Krog’s interpretation of interconnectedness is in line with theirs (and she also uses the terms interconnectedness and ubuntu interchangeably).

In her oeuvre, Krog focuses on the successful integration between the self and the other within a South African context. Throughout Mede-wete, however, there is the suggestion that successful connection between the self and others is very difficult, and even impossible. As in A change of tongue (2003), food is often presented as a means to reconcile the self with the other. In this article I seek to investigate the concept of interconnection in Krog’s Mede-wete and how it connects to the concept of ubuntu in African philosophy. This is done by a discussion of selected poems. The conclusion is that the preparation of food and the act of eating together is a way to achieve a connection between the self and the other.

Keywords: African philosophy; community; communality; food and reconciliation; forgiveness; interconnectedness; interconnectedness-toward-wholeness; Antjie Krog; Mede-wete; reconciliation; Synapse; ubuntu


Lees die volledige artikel in Afrikaans

Antjie Krog, gemeenskaplikheid en die behoefte aan interverbondenheid in Mede-wete (2014)

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