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Satire - Book Café discussion
Amanda Atwood, Kubatana.net
December 15, 2008

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Zimbabwean writer John Eppel and critic Anthony Chennells shared the floor at a discussion on satire at Harare's Book Café on Thursday 27 November. In opening the discussion, moderator Ruzvidzo Mupfudza quoted Chennels as observing that "Eppel uses the bawdy and obscene to subvert social pomposity."

The presentations that evening further articulated the ways in which satire can be used for social and political commentary, to point out unacceptable behaviour or draw attention to injustice.

Using Ngugi Wizard of the Crow, Chennels demonstrates how satire can be used to highlight and expose misgovernance. However, as Chennels points out, that which appears exaggerated and absurd in the Wizard of the Crow, is all to familiar to those living in Zimbabwe today.

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John Eppel's presentation looks at the history of satire. And he recounts how he, personally, uses it to criticise both himself and the world around him. Satire, he found, was the only way to express his anger, attack unacceptable behaviour and expose the racism, greed, poverty and inequality of the world around him.

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However, Eppel asked, and some of the participants expanded upon, when a situation becomes too extreme, does satire lose its effect? If a leader is already a caricature of himself, how can he be caricatured?

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Audio File

  • Anthony Chennells
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 55sec
    Date: November 27, 2008
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 851KB

  • John Eppel
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 15sec
    Date: November 27, 2008
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 1.15MB

  • Comment
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 01sec
    Date: November 27, 2008
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 958KB

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