This thesis investigates the depiction of ageing and old age in several key works of South African literature of the transitional and post-transitional period. The study covers texts set both in the transitional period prior to the 1994 democratic elections and in the years following that historical watershed. I examine how the literary representation of the ageing individual operates within the rhetoric of transition and new beginnings that characterizes the contemporary political and ideological climate of South Africa. The study includes a close examination of two novels (Age of Iron by J.M. Coetzee, and Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk), a collection of short stories (The Mistress’s Dog by David Medalie), and a volume of poetry (Body Bereft by Antjie Krog). My reading of these texts centres on exploring how the authors depict their ageing protagonists in relation to ideas of time, place and the body. Using Julia Kristeva’s theories on abjection, I analyse whether or not a degree of agency can be found in the abject depiction of older age. Similarly, I examine the ways in which reading older age through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea of the grotesque allows for a liberation from reductive understandings of the embodiment of ageing individuals. Because both Agaat and Body Bereft are translated from Afrikaans, I also explore the ways in which translation intersects with the socio-political ideologies of the periods in which these texts are set, as well as how this may have an impact upon the representation of older age. Through examining the tension between the nostalgic, backward-looking perspective usually attributed to old age, and the progressive, forward-looking sentiment of modern South Africa, I investigate the ways in which these writers – Coetzee and Van Niekerk in particular – associate the ageing body with political concerns. I also show how, in their different ways, all four writers counteract stereotypes associated with senescence.