Losing the Farm in Marlene Van Niekerk’s Way of the Women

Losing the Farm in Marlene Van Niekerk’s Way of the Women

“’Yesterday’s another country’ –

Losing the Farm in Mark Behr’s Kings of the Water and Marlene van Niekerk’s Way of the Women

While the rise of the 21st century has witnessed the emergence of a new, liberated, and stabilised South Africa as regards politics and economy, “ socially, the remains of past injustices are still omnipresent“ (Knapp 2006: 8).

Literature undoubtedly serves as a mirror not only of the present, but also of the past and the Plaasroman, the South African Farm Novel, in particular proves to be an interesting source of investigation as regards South Africa’s ongoing struggle and quest for identity. The Plaas can be viewed as a heterotopia “a symbolic microcosm that symbolizes the macrocosm of South Africa“ (Mengel 2012:158), thus an honest effort to understand South Africa’s past and present and the nation’s need to create a new meaning for their lives, undoubtedly needs to take literature’s contribution into account.

Therefore, this diploma thesis sets out to investigate the South African Farm as this heterotopia, and it will do so by providing extended historical background as regards structure and development of the South African Plaas. Embedded in a discussion of Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South African realities, an indepth investigation of the partriarchal order, the South African Farm as a symbolic space, and the construction of the Afrikaaner identity, will be completed by an outline of the history of the South African Plaasroman . The second part of the thesis will eventually turn to the novels themselves, in order to analyse the trauma of losing the farm in a Post- Apardheid Era – as depicted in Mark Behr’s Kings of the Water and Marlene van Niekerk’s Way of the Woman.”


What I need from you now is a chapter for the second part of my thesis which deals with the close reading and analysis of the novels.

I need an in-depth analysis and close reading of the topic of ‘Losing the Farm’ in Van Niekerk’s Way of the women. As Afrikaner identity is closely intertwined with the possession and dominance of land, the threat or question or circumstance of losing the farm also threatens identity.

Important are direct quotes from the novel that depict, exemplify or simply add something to the topic of losing the farm and how it features in The Way of the Women.


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