Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts - English



First Advisor

Dr. Ericka Hoagland

Second Advisor

Dr. Courtney Adams-Wooten

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin West

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant



This thesis focuses on women’s struggle against apartheid in the South African novel. By means of textual analysis, the study explores the different ways in which apartheid oppressed women in South Africa and how women responded to the forces of oppression. In fact, at the core of this study is the contention that the anti-apartheid movement was shaped as much by women as it was by men like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Steve Biko and Albert Luthuli, who often served as the faces of the anti-apartheid movement. Thus, this thesis situates itself within the scholarship that appreciates and recognizes the efforts and sacrifices that were made by women towards the cause for liberation in South Africa. The study explores the portrayal of women’s activism in the selected fictional works Lauretta Ngcobo’s And They Didn’t Die, Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela, and Kagiso Molope’s Dancing in the Dust. By examining these three South African novelists’ portrayal of women as comrades in their own right, and not as mere appendages to men, this study further promotes the reformulation of black women’s roles in African fictional narratives.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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