Source: (1999) Paper presented at the "TRC: Commissioning the Past" conference, organized by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) and the History Workshop (at Wits University). University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, 11-14 June 1999. Downloaded 10 March 2004.

Writing as an oral historian, Sean Field opens this paper with a lament that oral history is in danger of becoming even more marginalized and under-funded in post-apartheid South Africa than it was during the apartheid era. The proceedings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), he asserts, have unintentionally and paradoxically contributed to this situation. This is despite the opportunity for the TRC experience actually to be a sustainable project for documenting, maintaining, interpreting, and disseminating public memory. In this context, Field examines the conduction and interpretation of oral histories and memories; argues that the TRC process raises fundamental questions about public memory and the nature of healing; critiques trends in the development and funding of oral history projects; and maintains that oral history could contribute significantly to public memory processes in post-apartheid South Africa.

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