Man and Nature in Zake Mda’s The Whale Caller: An Ecocritical Perspective


  • Abdullahi, Kadir Ayide Department of English University of Ilorin


ecocriticism, whales, tourism, poverty, disenfranchisement


This paper focuses on the binary of man and nature in Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller.
Mda is not a deep ecologist, but a novelist who from a typical African perspective, is concerned
about human benefits by properly conserving nature. The novel mediates between
human and nonhuman elements. Mda significantly contributes to the understanding of
the unfolding environmental crisis. The Whale Caller, among other themes, aesthetically
reflects how tourism economy and poverty among the rural South African population pose
a threat to environmental protection and conservation. The discourse adopts a model of
African literary environmentalism for the study of ecological concern as raised in the novel.
Mda places a renewed pressure on human and animal binaries that form the basis of
environmental discourse in contemporary South African fiction. The narrative emphasizes
on the neglected non-human elements by drawing attention to how tourism and uneven
distribution of resources expose both animals and people to disenfranchisement.