by Elna Schmidt What do a white, middle-class, teenage private math tutor in the Netherlands and an Indonesian street food vendor in the heart of Manila have in common?
In smaller towns in South Africa, Johannesburg is dubbed ‘The City of Gold’ and it’s seen as the place where people have so much money, that they throw it at you like confetti upon arrival. Zama Madondo is from such a small town, and sets these expectations straight.
Which types of characters populate the fictional society of Dutch literature? When thinking about literature in terms of demographics, questions arise with regards to the literary representation of certain social groups. Why are certain professions for characters in recent Dutch novels so popular? And what does that say about the potential emancipatory and progressive powers of literature?