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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Literary Studies
Volume (Issue) 32(3)
Title of proceedings Journal of Literary Studies


Since 2011, the genre of South African speculative fiction has seen a significant surfacing of new writers working within the genre. One of them is Charlie Human, the author Apocalypse Now Now (2013) and Kill Baxter (2014). The paper analyses Human’s two novels in terms of overlapping mythological and historical lineages as well as spatial confluences and their influence on the conception and (re-)definition of South African whiteness. Using Sarah Nuttall’s concept of entanglement (a state of being intertwined or engaged with) in connection with Melissa Steyn’s observations of South African whiteness and its idiosyncratic position in relation to other postcolonial countries, it illustrates how Human’s novels (re-)negotiate South African whiteness by endowing it with a distinctly (Southern) African inflection. By way of conclusion, the paper proposes that speculative fiction gives an easier way to envisage possible solutions to the socio-political complexities at play in present South Africa, which are less difficult to swallow than what realist fiction might be (plausibly) able to offer.