Whale speaking

“…Many writers and artists have represented the Southern Ocean in ways that layer possible futures over diverse pasts – illuminating the links between them.

Two examples we discussed in a recent paper are Witi Ihaemera’s The Whale Rider from Aotearoa New Zealand and Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller from South Africa.

Both novels register the catastrophic slaughter of whales that took place during roughly the same period as European colonialism. Both explore the interrelationship between genocidal and extractive projects and how humans and whales interlock as they journey together through the southern seas.

This is the term that Ihimaera uses to describe “the knowledge of whalespeaking” that the ancients once had. It was also this knowledge and with which the Maori ancestor Paikea asked a whale to carry him to the land that lay far to the south.”

Article in The Conversation, October 6, 2019 8.04pm AEDT:
Literature sheds light on the history and mystery of the Southern Ocean

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019