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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - History, memory and reconciliation : Njabulo Ndebele's and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's : research article

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract


In hierdie artikel word twee tekste ondersoek wat geskryf is tydens die oorgangsproses in Suid-Afrika. Dié tekste word gebruik om die kulturele en etiese kompleksiteit van die oorgangsproses te verken. Njabulo Ndebele se "The cry of Winnie Mandela" en Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela se "A human being died that night" het onderskeidelik te make met twee kontroversiële openbare figure: Winnie Mandela en Eugene de Kock. Dié twee het op grond van hulle rol in die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis deel geword van die nasionale ikonografie. Ndebele en Gobodo-Madikizela wend narratiewe tegnieke aan wat verskuiwingslyne in die populêre uitbeeldings van hierdie figure blootlê en ontgin. Die twee tekste bied radikale wyses aan waarop die gemeenskaplike en individuele lyding wat deur apartheid veroorsaak is, begryp kan word, en daag lesers uit om op die verlede te reageer op wyses wat genesing sal bevorder, eerder as om 'n gees van wraak te laat voortbestaan. Die rol wat amptelike geskiedenisse vertolk, word implisiet bevraagteken en daar word aangetoon dat die rol van individuele stories deurslaggewend is. Vergifnis en versoening word gesien as afhanklik van 'n bewustheid van die komplekse omstandighede en die menslikheid van diegene wat as oortreders bestempel word. Dit is in die besonder so in die geval van "A human being died that night", waarin aangedring word dat die openlike erkenning van die menslikheid van persone soos Eugene de Kock 'n belangrike manier is om die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing te heel.

This article deals with two texts written during the process of transition in South Africa, using them to explore the cultural and ethical complexity of that process. Both Njabulo Ndebele's "The cry of Winnie Mandela" and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's "A human being died that night" deal with controversial public figures, Winnie Mandela and Eugene de Kock respectively, whose role in South African history has made them part of the national iconography. Ndebele and Gobodo-Madikizela employ narrative techniques that expose and exploit faultlines in the popular representations of these figures. The two texts offer radical ways of understanding the communal and individual suffering caused by apartheid, challenging readers to respond to the past in ways that will promote healing rather than perpetuate a spirit of revenge. The part played by official histories is implicitly questioned and the role of individual stories is shown to be crucial. Forgiveness and reconciliation are seen as dependent on an awareness of the complex circumstances and the humanity of those who are labelled as offenders. This requirement applies especially to the case of "A human being died that night", a text that insists that the overt acknowledgement of the humanity of people like Eugene de Kock is an important way of healing South African society.

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/content/literat/27/2/EJC61926
2006-08-01
2016-12-11

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