359pp., b/w & colour illus., paperback, First English Language Edition, Johannesburg, 2019
First published in Afrikaans in 2015.
Elsa Jansen explores the character of "the servant" in South African literature, from the time of the V.O.C to the present. Characters discussed include Minnie Postma's Julia, Elsa Joubert's Poppie, Riana Scheepers' Katriena, Koos Kombuis' Kytie, JM Coetzee's Florence and Antjie Krog's Victoria. She also discusses autobiographical accounts by black women who have worked as servants, as recorded in "Thula Baba" by Ntombi and in "To My Children's Children", "Living, Loving, and Lying Awake at Night" and "Forced to Grow" by Sindiwe Magona.
Ena Jansen taught literature at the University of the Witwatersrand. She now lives in Amsterdam where she is Professor of South African literature at the University of Amsterdam. She also lectures at the Free University and is a research associate at the University of Johannesburg.