Title of Presentation

"From the Individual to the Collective: Acts of Resistance for Social Transformation in Pregs Govender's Love and Courage."

Date of Presentation


Name of Conference

Association of University English Teachers of South Africa

Date of Conference


Location of Conference

Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Document Type

Conference Presentation




Abstract: Realizing that true courage and convictions are needed to create an egalitarian environment for the former colonized within a neo-colonial nation-state, Pregs Govender, the author of Love and Courage: A Story of Insubordination (2008) learns not only to speak truth to power, but also to stand up against hetero-patriarchal social and political power structures for transformation. Davis Francis Fanning argues that the phenomenon of autobiographical self-displacement in the literature of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) subverts political hegemony: “Republican autobiographies subvert autobiographical conventions by shifting the focus of the text from the author to the community with the text becoming a critique of national and conventional historiographical ideologues” (2003). In this paper, I will argue that a similar phenomenon exists in Govender’s “communography” (when the individuality of the author is subsumed within the community, Fanning) where her role as educator, activist, researcher and writer working for social justice and fundamental human rights for all South Africans moves from the bourgeois individual to the collective. Writers, such as Govender “refuse to accept the alleged split between the individual and society, and subvert the genre of autobiography in ways which create a community which exists in cooperation with the individual at the same time as they comment upon it” (Fanning 2003).

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