Alan Paton’s world famous debut novel, Cry, the beloved country (1948), is seen as one of the most important literary texts in the polysystem of South Africa’s literature of the twentieth century. With more than 15 million copies sold in at least 23 languages world wide, including Zulu (1957) and Tsonga (1984), Cry, the beloved country enabled Paton to write full time. Cry, the beloved country was an overwhelming success when it was first published, both in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. It has been converted to film on two occasions, made into an opera and is still prescribed at many schools throughout the world. This novel must be one of the most canonised South African literary texts – and it is not available in Afrikaans translation.
Cry, the beloved country has been written in the liberal tradition which has as its goal “to attempt to change the hearts of policymakers by bringing to their attention [the] consequences of their actions” (Peck 1997:93). After Cry, the beloved country many other writers, such as Laurens van der Post, Dan Jacobson and Nadine Gordimer, followed Paton’s lead with protest novels in the liberal tradition. In spite of the socio-political (and from today’s perspective, the socio-historical) importance of the liberal tradition in South Africa’s English literature, none of the above mentioned authors’ work has been translated into Afrikaans – not even that of the Nobel Prize winner, Nadine Gordimer, whose work has been translated into many other languages.
This master’s study comprises a theoretically founded, annotated Afrikaans translation of a section of Alan Paton’s world famous novel, Cry, the beloved country. The focus is mainly on the question of what a fitting post-apartheid translation, in Afrikaans, of this novel would look like.
The translation is theoretically founded in Vermeer’s (2001:221) functional skopos theory (according to which the skopos of a translation – and not the source text – determines what the eventual target text will look like), and Nord’s (1997b:123) adaptation of the skopos theory by the addition of the concept of ‘loyalty’. This concept entails that a translator’s interpretation of the source text, and therefore the translation thereof, will be as true as possible to the source text. ‘Loyalty’ helps to ensure that the integrity of the source text is protected throughout the translation process and preserved in the target text.
Loyalty to both the author of the source text and the reader of the target text, who will read the Afrikaans translation in a changed socio-political and ideological context, was important in determining the skopos. The strategies that the Afrikaans translator used to solve the pragmatic, intercultural, interlinguistic and text specific translation problems are discussed by way of annotation. In this way it is shown that a fitting post-apartheid translation of Cry, the beloved country in Afrikaans can be as true as possible to the source text when the amount of time that has elapsed since 1948, as well as the political changes and ideological shifts which took place over the past six decades, are kept in mind.