The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reconfiguring of the past
Remembering and forgetting
in South African performance and archives of memory
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This chapter begins with the moment of rupture: with the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and the negotiations for full democracy in South Africa to be achieved by 1994. It looks at the role the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has played, both as live event and as an archive produced from oral testimonies, in the construction of a 'new' South Africa. The chapter then compares the TRC archive, as summarised in the Final Report, to individual memories. An aspect of the 'backstage' events of the Commission was the process of selecting narratives for public hearings, both for the Human Rights Violations Committee (HRVC) and the Amnesty Committee (AC). The chapter returns to the issue of the externality of the archive, how this facilitates 'the possibility of the destruction of the archive' and how this affects an archive's ability to help people remember and forget.

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