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The role of theatre practitioners in exploring the past
Yvette Hutchison

Dramatising the TRC 2 Dramatising the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: the role of theatre practitioners in exploring the past Throw a clatter of memories at the mirror of your life and watch the pieces scatter on the ground. There’s no pattern. They glint in the shadows, demanding inspection as you hesitate to choose which one you’ll pick up first. Some pieces choose themselves, however much you try to avoid them. (Hugh Lewin, 2011: 17) The end of apartheid brought with it many changes, including changes to the memories with which we engage. The TRC and

in South African performance and archives of memory
Remembering and forgetting
Yvette Hutchison

The TRC’s reconfiguring of the past 1 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reconfiguring of the past: remembering and forgetting We are charged to unearth the truth about our dark past, to lay the ghosts of that past so that they will not return to haunt us. And [so] that we will thereby contribute to the healing of a traumatised and wounded people – for all of us in South Africa are wounded people – and in this manner to promote national unity and reconciliation. (Desmond Tutu)1 Because of this very fullness, the hypothetical fullness, of this archive

in South African performance and archives of memory

The neo-classical troopers' memorial of New Zealand, together with others around the former British Empire, illustrates the manner in which the South African War became a major imperial. This book explores how South Africa is negotiating its past in and through various modes of performance in contemporary theatre, public events and memorial spaces. Opinion on the war was as divided among white Afrikaners, Africans, 'Coloureds' and English-speaking white South Africans as these communities were from each other. The book analyses the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a live event and as an archive asking throughout how the TRC has affected the definition of identity and memory in contemporary South Africa, including disavowed memories. It surveys a century of controversy surrounding the origins of the war and in particular the argument that gold shaped British policy towards the Transvaal in the drift towards war. The remarkable South African career of Flora Shaw, the first woman to gain a professional position on The Times, is portrayed in the book. The book also examines the expensive operation mounted by The Times in order to cover the war. While acknowledging the need not to overstress the role of personality, the book echoes J. A. S. Grenville in describing the combination of Milner and Chamberlain as a 'fateful partnership'. Current renegotiations of popular repertoires, particularly songs and dances related to the struggle, revivals of classic European and South African protest plays, new history plays and specific racial and ethnic histories and identities, are analysed.

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.


This book offers a new and critical perspective on the global reconciliation technology by highlighting its contingent and highly political character as an authoritative practice of post-conflict peacebuilding. After retracing the emergence of the reconciliation discourse from South Africa to the global level, the book demonstrates how implementing reconciliation in post-conflict societies is a highly political practice which entails potentially undesirable consequences for the post-conflict societies to which it is deployed. Inquiring into the example of Sierra Leone, the book shows how the reconciliation discourse brings about the marginalization and neutralization of political claims and identities of local populations by producing these societies as being composed of the ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ of past human rights violations which are first and foremost in need of reconciliation and healing.

Bert Ingelaere

gacaca process. This will be the entry point to subsume disparate dynamics and features of the gacaca practice. 2 The truth is an elusive and multidimensional concept. In the report of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission four notions of truth are identified ( TRC-SA, 1998 : 110–17). The forensic truth entails answers to the basic questions of who, where, when, how and against whom and possibly the context, causes and patterns of violations. Other dimensions of the truth – narrative, social and restorative – go beyond this factual delineation

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
South African fiction in the interregnum
Tim Woods

class and gender rather than race (Ngcobo 1992 : 167). With the world transfixed upon this experiment in national ‘reconciliation’, part of whose laboratory has been the national public hearings as well as legal proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the social transformation has been constantly cast in the metaphor of healing a national trauma. As writers who have been part of that

in African pasts
Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

investigator, inaccurate information arising from a typographical misalignment of columns in a list of guerrilla fatalities supplied by the ANC, the absence of forensic procedures, and, in a few cases, family members who identified skeletal remains according to ‘non-scientific’ criteria. For example, a news agency reported in 1998 that 180   Nicky Rousseau [t]he wife of a dead Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier identified his body by his crooked teeth on Monday when members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s investigative unit exhumed graves near Louis Trichardt in

in Human remains and identification
Abstract only
Sara Callahan

wake of a number of sociopolitical ruptures that symbolically and literally brought archival practices and their effects to the forefront of international debates. Archiving and surveillance practices carried out in Eastern Europe became visible after the fall of the Soviet Union, and following the first free elections in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established in 1995. In South Africa archiving practices were of interest in two ways: they could be considered to have contributed to the implementation of apartheid in the first place

in Art + Archive
Towards a transitional justice role
Lydia A. Nkansah

:3 (2004), 762–​826, at 766. 12 Ibid. 13 See for example ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report’ (Cape Town, South Africa:  Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 1999), available at:​trc/​report/​index.htm and ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia Final Report’ (Monrovia, Liberia, 2008), available at: http://​​reports/​final-​report –​neither of which reference ICERD. 209 ICERD in the post-conflict landscape  209 is inequalities based on racial discrimination as occurred in Rwanda, apartheid South

in Fifty years of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination