The story “Recognition” takes place in South Africa maybe around 1990 - 1995. I believe this story to be about Steve Biko, and James Thomas “Jimmy” Kruger was the Minister of Justice when Steve Biko died . “That name had first begun to inconvenience us before Kobus was Prime minister – it was when he was still Minister of Justice.” Jimmy Kruger died in 1987, seven years after stopping his political career, and this story takes place after the death of the narrators husband. “People nowadays don’t want to ask me about Kobus and about those years as they did after he died.” Furthermore the book “Encounters: An Anthology of South African Short Stories” by David Medalie was published in 1998 , and therefore I believe the story takes place in the time between 1990 and 1995.
The narrator of the short story is the wife of Kobus. She is a Caucasian female at the age between 70 – 80 years old. She was, before she met Kobus, a teacher. “But if he had remained a lawyer or I had married a schoolteacher like myself, I would have been quite contented.” After that she was the wife of the Prime Minister, and did not work as a teacher but committed her life to the political life of her husband.
In the short story the narrator receives an invitation from the current president. It is an invitation to a luncheon, in order to make peace with the past, between both black widows of men who fought for equal rights, and white widows of former ministers.
One of the narrator’s former friends also received an invitation. Her name is Magdalena. She also receives an invitation to the luncheon, as she is also one of the six widows of former Prime Ministers or presidents still living.
The president invited all the widows because he wanted to boost the morale of “those who still beliefs in the old values” according to Magdalena. She says that these people are in despair and are living as outcasts in their own country. At the same time, as mentioned earlier, he...