- To share the joys of reading fiction.
- To discuss a selection of excerpts from Damon Galgut’s The Promise.
- To exchange ideas on Galgut’s narrative techniques, his recurrent themes and his fictional universe.
- To build strategies that will enable the participants to take an active role in the creation of multiple possible readings of the novel.
Damon Galgut’s The Promise (2021) revolves around four funerals. Each of the four sections of the novel mirrors and explores the social, cultural and economic changes in South Africa, from the atrocities of apartheid to Mandela’s “rainbow nation” and racial integration. Connecting all funerals is the promise made by the matriarch of the Swart family to Salome, the black maid, that she will own the house she lives in. This promise, unfulfilled for many years, triggers a series of conflicts among the three Swart children. Like Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, Anton Swart and his younger sisters Astrid and Amor must struggle with the shifting realities of their country to be able to break free from the burden of history.
- Reading of key sections of Damon Galgut’s The Promise and some excerpts from James Joyce’s Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
- Guided group reflection and exchange of ideas on a selection of excerpts from the novel.
- Presentation of an integrated approach to the text.