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The End of National Narrative – STIAS Public lecture by Wamuwi Mbao

STIAS Public Lectures Series

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Register here by 13 May 2024

STIAS Iso Lomso Fellow Dr Wamuwi Mabao, lecturer at the English Department of Stellenbosch University will present a public lecture with the title:

The End of National Narrative

Abstract: Disappointment, disenchantment and disavowal have become, in many ways, the affective dominant that charges the present-day. Narrativized fantasies around which we have tended  to organize our social, aesthetic and political feelings of collectivity have been pervasively disrupted, leaving little in the way of stable ground on which to establish a shared sense of belonging. In this paper, I unpack the idea of national narrative as a kind of story we tell ourselves. I ask what happens when the story no longer applies: what’s left, and how do we proceed?

Wamuwi Mbao is a writer and literary critic. He teaches in the English Department of Stellenbosch University. He is lead fiction reviewer at the Johannesburg Review of Books. His edited collection Years of Fire and Ash traces political protest poetry across twentieth century South Africa to the present-day. He is a STIAS Iso Lomso Fellow and he held a STIAS Residence-abroad fellowship at the National Humanities Centre for 2022-2023. He is a South African Literary Award recipient for his literary journalism oeuvre, and his short story “The Bath” was chosen as one of the Twenty best short stories published in the first twenty years of South Africa’s democracy. His research interests include Cultures of Knowing, South African apartheid history, and cultures of mobility, amongst others.

Date and time

Thursday, 16 May 2024

16:00 – 17:00​

All times are in SAST (UTC+2)


STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre

STIAS, Marais Road, Mostertsdrift

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Iso Lomso Fellow
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This project focuses on the affective shaping of identity in South African texts of the 21st century. In particular, I wish to examine how South African creatives (a category that truces South Africa as...

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