n English in Africa - Being judge and witness : Edwin Cameron's witness to AIDS

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



In the afterword to his autobiographical account of holocaust, Primo Levi distinguishes between two categories of person who survived the concentration camps. Those in the first category typically refuse to revisit the scene of their internment, and avoid discussing or remembering their experience, even though they cannot succeed in forgetting and tend to revisit what they suppress in nightmare and in somatic and psychic dis-ease. This group, Levi contends, comprises for the most part individuals who found themselves in camps not for political reasons but through general circumstance and misfortune, so that the memory of their imprisonment and torture is extraneous to their concept of life, cannot yield meaning, must be (although cannot be) excised. The second category, with whom Levi identifies himself, is made up of survivors who "have, instead, forgotten, have dismissed everything, and have begun again to live, starting from zero".

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