South African performance and archives of memory

Yvette Hutchison
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This book explores the place of memory in post-apartheid South Africa by analysing state sanctioned-performances of the nation. It first explores how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) archive was created, and what it means to contemporary South Africa. The book then explores creative responses to the TRC. It examines individual narratives that have become iconic; asking why these have been chosen to represent the experiences of the broader majority. It analyses how contemporary cultural practitioners are particularly exploring various non-realistic, highly performative forms in conjunction with verbatim narratives to reflect on diverse lived realities in South Africa. The inherited apartheid archives embody particular narratives of South Africa, especially those that defined separate cultural identities, with their relative worth and histories. The way these archives of memory were constructed and controlled is important, especially insofar as they affected the social structure of the nation, beyond apartheid legislation. The book looks at how at moments of political crisis or transition, specific narratives of history, from particular cultural perspectives, have been performed in public spaces to define national identities. It also explores how Mbeki used the South Africa-Mali project, within the context of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to extend the imagined boundaries of the nation. Finally, the book explores contemporary popular performance and theatrical engagements with history and memory.

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‘For any reader interested to learn more on the current state of performance and theatre in South Africa, Hutchison's study will provide an extremely valuable and informative account of the field. Most impressive is the ample space she grants for close readings of a host of recent theatrical productions.'
Ed Charlton
Journal of Contemporary Drama in English (JCDE) 4(2)

‘The book provided valuable insights and provoked deep thought, as well as providing a well of information on different topics.'
N Jade Gibson, Wits City Institute, University of Witwatersrand
South African Theatre Journal
October 2016

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