The Langenhoven Memorial Fund celebrates a double milestone this year: Cornelis Jakob Langenhoven was born 150 years ago in 1873, and his boundary-pushing work, Peepingwas published 100 years ago, in 1923.
These milestones will be celebrated on 1 April at the KKNK with the Langenhoven memorial lecture, a discussion about the literary relevance of Peeping a century later, celebrated.
“We decided to present it in the format of a delightful, informal conversation. It shouldn’t be pompous and so academic that Jan Publiek can’t talk together,” says Izak de Vries, the panel facilitator, to Rhewal.
Peeping is according to various sources the first science fiction text in Afrikaans. In this text, decades before Sputnik, Langenhoven already explains how people would sleep in space, how water would react in space, and the importance of processed food comes into question.
Another important aspect is the ecocriticism in the novel. “Langenhoven was very far ahead of his time there. If man in 1923 na Peeping would listen, we would not be in such a big eco-crisis today,” says Izak.
The panel consists of Carien Smith, Jenny Paige, Mellet Moll and Nini Bennett.
Carien made her writing debut in 2022 with Bot, a sensational collection of short stories. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Sheffield in Britain and is doing her research in climate change ethics.
Jenny is a trained geochemist, a digital designer and moreover a keen reader of science fiction.
Mellet, professor of industrial engineering, is also a former dean of engineering at the Peninsula University of Technology. He was closely involved in South Africa’s space programme.
Nini is a well-known reviewer and literary expert who in 2003 with a collection of short stories, Disorder, debuted. She has also published three collections of poetry and is currently doing doctoral studies in Afrikaans literature at the University of Johannesburg.
- The Langenhoven memorial lecture will take place on 1 April at 13:00 in the Netwerk24-Feeskafee. Entry is free.
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