n Africa Insight - Post-apartheid South Africa and post-genocide Rwanda : comparing the socio-political lives of two traumatic memories

Volume 40, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This study analyses the socio-political life of two traumatic events, namely apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda. It specifies the scope of their individual, collective and political memory and the ways through which that memory structures people's representations, determines social relations and influences political life. It shows that in both contexts, memory constitutes a major stake for the building of the new social order and for political legitimisation. As traumatic events, apartheid and genocide have come to be regarded as sacred. They have become fetish and still to be commemorated as historic landmarks of collective memory. However, there is a great difference in the usage and management of (traumatic) memory in the two contexts.

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