Nr. 18 Juni 2011 TRANS: Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften
Caught between two worlds: Niq Mhlongo’s Dog Eat Dog
Dingz is not an African name, is it? What is the significance of the use of this name? I think the use of language is central, when discussing literature, and thus I am intrigued by the use of Is’camtho as a marker of urban cultural identity, used to demonstrate linguistic creativity and to set one apart as ’streetwise‘. I seem to remember that poets (e.g. Sepamla) between the 60’s and the eighties used a similar mix in some of their poems. I tis not quite clear to me, whether Dingz does or does not escape Soweto in the end?
Princess MP Bembe:
Dingz is an African name. It’s short for Dingamanzi, loosely translated as ‚in need of water‘. Yes, I agree that there’s significance in the use of the abbreviated version of his full name. I believe that instead of him using the full name, which sounds rather traditional, he prefers to call himself ‚Dingz‘ which would prove more street-like/ streewise and ‚cool’/ appealing.
Yes, Sepamla and others did make use of ’streetwise‘ language in their works. This was also done to mark their identity and that of the people of the township. It was a language that spoke to the masses in a manner that they could identify with. This was more evident in the Drum writers of the time.
Dingz is finally evicted from the Y because he had ’smuggled‘ his girlfriend, Nkanyi, into the building. As a result, he finds himself commuting between Soweto and Wits. Therefore, he does not escape Soweto at all, but still finds himself caught between the two spaces/worlds of city life versus township life.
Webmeister: Gerald Mach last change: 2011-06-28