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Paper on the Spirit of Ubuntu in Claire Robertson’s The Spiral House Presented in Japan and Ireland

The Spiral HouseProfessor Cheryl Stobie from the University of KwaZulu-Natal presented a paper on The Spiral House by Claire Robertson in Japan and Ireland earlier this year.

Stobie introduced delegates of the 2015 Asian Conference on Cultural Studies to Robertson’s writing in her paper entitled “Emancipation Moments and Ubuntu in Claire Robertson’s The Spiral House”.

Stobie presented the same paper in August at the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies’ sixth biennial congress on “Longing and Belonging”. The event took place at the Dublin City University.

In 2014, Robertson received the Sunday Times Fiction Prize for her debut novel. In The Spiral House, two stories echo across centuries to expose that which binds us and sets us free. Her latest novel, The Magistrate of Gower, was launched in September this year.

UKZN Ndaba Online, UKZN’s campus electronic newsletter, shared a synopsis of Stobie’s paper, in which she analyses The Spiral House using the framework of Ubuntu.

Read the article:

Robertson’s text highlights human rights abuses during two periods in South African history, critiquing the ideology of slavery and the effects of enlightenment scientific experimentation on human subjects.

Robertson also portrays the violence of apartheid, contrasted with attempts to act ethically and autonomously.

Stobie’s paper used the framework of Ubuntu to evaluate concepts of land, colonialism, slavery, gender, science, religion and apartheid as represented in the novel, with the aim of identifying the lessons of history to illustrate the possibility of an emancipatory praxis in contemporary society.

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