“In the opening pages of the novel ‘Welcome To Our Hillbrow’ (Mpe, P. 2001), Mpe includes a quote by W E B du Bois which states, “Reader, be assured this narrative is no fiction.”. In including this quote, the suggestion is that Mpe wants the reader to approach the text with the awareness that they, as a reader, have a responsibility of imagining the text as reality. In saying imagining the text as reality, the sense is that even though the text is a fictionalised story, it draws inspiration from the world around it- hence the setting, and its stock characters. Sharon Mayes, as written in an essay in Judith Laurence Pastore’s ‘Confronting AIDS through Literature’, argues that the point of labelling and placing definitions between the reader and the character, “works against the fiction with AIDS as a component” (Mayes, S. 1993). This can be read to mean that by creating a setting which compels the reader to be familiar with the work, such as by using stock characters, as well as a real setting, the writer has already failed in raising awareness about HIV/Aids in literature as well as a reflection of society. According to Mayes, this places HIV/Aids literature in a contradictory space where she says, “No one wants to read AIDS stories about themselves; if people read an AIDS story and suddenly some identification with a character takes place, they don’t like it, they don’t want to read anymore” (Mayes, S. 1993).”


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