Article

Disappointed Remains: Trauma, Testimony, and Reconciliation in Post-apartheid South Africa

Sean Field

in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195339550
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195339550.013.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Disappointed Remains: Trauma, Testimony, and Reconciliation in Post-apartheid South Africa

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The apartheid regime in South Africa and the fight against the same, followed by the reconciliation is the crux of this article. The first democratic elections held on April 27, 1994, were surprisingly free of violence. Then, in one of its first pieces of legislation, the new democratic parliament passed the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995, which created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the outset, the South African TRC promised to “uncover the truth” about past atrocities, and forge reconciliation across a divided country. As oral historians, we should consider the oral testimonies that were given at the Human Rights Victim hearings and reflect on the reconciliation process and what it means to ask trauma survivors to forgive and reconcile with perpetrators. This article cites several real life examples to explain the trauma and testimony of apartheid and post-apartheid Africa with a hint on the still prevailing disappointments and blurred memories.

Keywords: apartheid; democratic elections; democratic parliament; oral historians

Article.  7966 words. 

Subjects: History ; African History

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