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The gloom and the glory

Despite all the doom-laden books about rape, murder and torture, a hopeful black South African culture is emerging

By Anthony Sampson   April 2000

Jim Coetzee’s booker prize-winning novel Disgrace was bound to stir up controversy inside South Africa, at a time when its government is grappling with the aftermath of apartheid and is bombarded with terrifying reports of impending anarchy. Coetzee tells a relentlessly grim story about a white liberal professor whose daughter is gang-raped by blacks on a farm: the other blacks refuse to report the crime, and the daughter accepts her fate, apparently as a retribution for past injustices. The book is very readable and dramatic, and it can be read as a prophetic warning of the disintegration of South African…

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