Racialised violence in white-authored post-apartheid South African literature

  • Scarlett Lettice Shepherd-Grewar

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (MPhil)


In this thesis I discuss the racialisation and spatialization of violence in Heidi Holland’s Born in Soweto, J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, and Elaine Proctor’s The Savage Hour. The three spaces I discuss this within are the rural space of the South African farm, the urban space, and the liminal travel or transport space. Whiteness is a key lens through which these spaces might be interpreted, and over the course of this thesis I examine how whiteness functions to skew black experience to the reader. Legacies of colonialism and apartheid function heavily within my considerations of the spatiality and racialisation of violence, as well as theories surrounding the alleged “culture of violence” which surrounds not only South Africa, but more pertinently also South African blackness.
Date of Award30 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorAnindya Raychaudhuri (Supervisor)


  • South African literature
  • Racial violence
  • J. M. Coetzee
  • Elaine Proctor
  • Heidi Holland
  • Colonialism
  • Race relations
  • Apartheid
  • Liminal space
  • Spatial violence
  • South African farm
  • Whiteness

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