Today's Big Stories

Authors' fine line between appropriation and artistic licence

Writers, authors and poets the world over have the simultaneous burden and blessing of telling other people's stories.

But to what extent can authors use their artistic freedoms to write about other identities, without exploitation or misrepresentation?

The sensitive subject of fiction and identity politics made headlines in literary circles recently, after novelist Lionel Shriver, made a speech in which she appeared to defend cultural appropriation.

Writer, academic and editor Chris Thurman, criticised Shriver for having a narrow-minded view of what cultural appropriation involves.

Thurman says that she reduced the important discussion on identity and representation to a disingenuous address.

He says that writers can't be dismissive about caricature or mockery used in written texts, and have an ethical obligation to be sensitive.

If the cultural appropriation debate is around a history of using, borrowing or imitation to demean, diminish or insult a culture of a group of people, there is an ethical obligation for us to pay attention to that.

Chris Thurman, writer, academic and editor

According Thurman, authors who claim the prerogative to write about identities other than their own must be open to criticism from readers and peers.

Meanwhile, senior English lecturer Deborah Seddon, explains that for may years white authors have held a sense of entitlement with regards to the dominant narratives in written texts.

We've come to a very interesting and challenging moment write now, where the claim to cultural an political social space (that has for centuries been the right of white people) is being increasingly challenged as we more and more stories, histories, and discourses emerging.

Deborah Seddon, Senior Lecture in English at the UCKAR

She says it is important for authors to distinguish between being a part of a community and being an outside, often white, observer.

Seddon maintains that there is a need for more complex and intersectional portrayals in literature.

Listen to the full conversation from The Redi Tlhabi Show (with Eusebius Mckaiser):

Read More
Veterans and ANC not on same page about terms of consultative conference

Veterans and ANC not on same page about terms of consultative conference

ANC vets want civil society groups present at the consultative conference, which they want held separately from another meeting.

Top SABC journos applauded for brave testimony

Top SABC journos applauded for brave testimony

EWN's Gaye Davis summarises the evidence of the SABC journalists who appeared before the ad hoc committee in Parliament.

If you're gona be a hero (and smash a car window), make sure you can prove harm

If you're gona be a hero (and smash a car window), make sure you can prove harm

A criminal lawyer explains what leg citizens can stand on if they witness a child or pet locked in a vehicle in risky conditions.

SABC 'in contempt of court' if Motsoeneng reports for duty, says DA

SABC 'in contempt of court' if Motsoeneng reports for duty, says DA

The DA's James Selfe says it is not clear whether SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be either fired or suspended pending an inquiry.

Tweeps throw shade as court shows Motsoeneng the door

Tweeps throw shade as court shows Motsoeneng the door

A judge has ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not hold any position at the SABC and Twitter has wasted no time reacting.

Why family traditions matter

Why family traditions matter

Whether it's breaking bread or celebrating through song and dance, family rituals and traditions can create a sense of belonging.

Popular articles
I paid for it, says Police Commissioner Phahlane. No you didn't, says Ipid

I paid for it, says Police Commissioner Phahlane. No you didn't, says Ipid

John Maytham interviews EWN’s Barry Bateman about the allegations against the Acting National Police Commissioner.

Orcas spotted in Langebaan Lagoon must've been hunting, says conservationist

Orcas spotted in Langebaan Lagoon must've been hunting, says conservationist

Capetonians are accustomed to seeing whales playing along the coast, but it is very rare to hear of orcas in the Langebaan Lagoon.

Photographer captures Cape's dwindling dam levels with a drone

Photographer captures Cape's dwindling dam levels with a drone

The latest figures show dam levels at 36.8%, which means they could run almost empty by the time 2017 the winter rains come.

Earn peanuts? How to best invest very small amounts...

Earn peanuts? How to best invest very small amounts...

Got a spare R200 or R300 a month? Here’s how to make that money work hard and grow…

Culprits spotted deliberately starting fires in the Cape

Culprits spotted deliberately starting fires in the Cape

Chief Fire Officer at Overberg District Municipality says arson is a problem they are all too familiar with.

Find out what the city-approved borehole sign looks like

Find out what the city-approved borehole sign looks like

Cape Town residents are concerned that residents might be wasting water and lying about having boreholes by using fake signs.