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Title: Eating out: Food as a troupe of exclusion in the novels of Zakes Mda
Authors: Barris, Ken 
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars
Series/Report no.: Food and Appetites: The Hunger Artist and the Arts;pp 31-43
Abstract: In his novel Ways of Dying (1995), the South African writer Zakes Mda uses food as a marker of tension between spatial access and exclusion. The trope fuses social and economic spaces from which his characters are barred by material deprivation. The only access they have is through a satirically drawn imaginative feast of their own construction. In a modification of the trope, diet is used to mark out a space of carnivalesque identity for Toloki, the protagonist of this novel. Related devices are used in Mda’s subsequent novels The Madonna of Excelsior (2002) and The Whale Caller (2005). This raises the question whether wishfulness can energise sufficient social agency, or whether a strategy of transcendence can be justified, in a literature of deprivation. Indeed, Mda has been criticised for refusing the documentary burden of antiapartheid radicalism while writing about life in black townships so constrained by poverty that their present economic disenfranchisement resembles the political exclusion of apartheid. I argue that Mda collapses the opposition between engaged and carnivalesque writing, retaining a critique of apartheid and its post-apartheid aftermath while resisting the rhetoric of engagement.
Description: Eating out: Food as a troupe of exclusion in the novels of Zakes Mda McCulloch A & Radia P (eds): Food and Appetites: The Hunger Artist and the Arts Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012, pp 31-43, ISBN 978-1-4438-4154-2
ISBN: 978-1-4438-4154-2
Appears in Collections:Eng - Books / Book Chapters
Prof. Ken Barris

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