The power of exclusion in the works of André Brink and Assia Djebar




André Brink, Assia Djebar, spaces, exclusion, isolation, postcolonial


South African author André Brink and the Algerian Assia Djebar have been described as a uo of literature and struggle. Various parallels exist between the authors’ oeuvres: both authors strive to create a chain of voices for those who have been ignored or silenced; they attempt to re-evaluate the colonial experience while problematising the complexities of present-day South Africa and Algeria; their narratives foreground language, space, and power struggles between coloniser and colonised, master and slave, man and woman. Their characters represent a desire for freedom and the need for resistance in the quest for liberation. In this article I focus on the comparable role of space, and more specifically spaces of exclusion, in a selection of the authors’ works. Postcolonial theories serve as a framework for establishing Brink and Djebar’s similar stance regarding the notion of exclusion. Amongst others, Homi Bhabha’s concept of the ‘beyond’ and Édouard Glissant’s notion of ‘relation’ are employed to strengthen arguments made concerning the characters’ desire for movement which results from them being excluded from certain spaces. In this article I demonstrate how their characters feel attracted to cross borders that exclude in a quest for inclusion. An endless, open, and powerful movement is the result of the opposing forces of exclusion and attraction their characters experience.


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Author Biography

Carina Steenekamp, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Carina Steenekamp is affiliated with the Department of Afrikaans, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


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How to Cite

Steenekamp, C. (2022). The power of exclusion in the works of André Brink and Assia Djebar. Tydskrif Vir Letterkunde, 59(3), 131–147.



Research articles