04.12.2014

Kerry Bystrom on post-apartheid literature at Humboldt University


On December 3 2014, faculty member Dr. Kerry Bystrom delivered a lecture on “Escaping the Service Circle? Domestic Work in Post-apartheid Art and Literature” in the frame of the Seminar on African Studies at the Humboldt University. 

Dr. Bystrom set forth to examine social and artistic visions of domestic work in the democratic South Africa. Evidence from the first two decades of democracy shows a troubling continuity of contemporary domestic work with the apartheid past, with this work until recently continuing to fall outside of mainstream cultural discourse even as it remains an entrenched part of middle-class culture—for whites and increasingly for people of color. In her lecture Dr. Bystrom traced the way post-apartheid writers and artists have attempted to render domestic work visible among various “new” South African publics, and explored the options they offer for both transforming the institution of domestic service and making South Africa more meaningfully democratic.