Since 1994, the date which marks the transition to democracy in South Africa, there has been an increase in the publication of sexual narratives. In her research on the intensification of the discourse on sexuality in South Africa, the sociologist Deborah Pose! (2004) observes that the black youth in South Africa have appropriated a sexualised freedom as a manifestation of the break between the apartheid and post-apartheid generations. This article is a study of the sexual autobiography within the context of urban South Africa since 1994. In his review of Johan van Wyk's Man-Bitch (2001) Lewis Nkosi (2005) comments on Van Wyk's fictionalised autobiography as a text situated within the newly constituted multiracial urban spaces, which have the potential to give birth to new South African identities. In their sexual autobiographies white writers Van Wyk (Man-Bitch, 2001) and Kleinboer (Kontrei, 2003) give an account of their multiple sexual encounters with black women, mainly prostitutes, in Durban and Johannesburg. Both writers give expression to the tension between an uninhibited and life-affirming celebration of sexual enjoyment and a sensation of imminent doom or death which accompanies their sexual activities. This tension between Eros and Thanatos is one of the phenomena that this paper will describe in an effort to propose a typology of the sexual autobiography as a small but significant subgenre in life-writing. The sustained representation of the sex life of the narrating subject functions as a significant structural principle in the narrative. Furthermore, the sexual autobiography seems to be a form of confessional literature - the narrative becomes a way of
cleansing the subject of feelings of guilt about his or her sexual experiences.
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This article was written by Prof. Andries Visagie before he joined the University of Pretoria