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Trauma, testimony, and truth: Contemporary South African artists speak.

June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) African Arts. 38(3): 40-94.

South African writer Antjie Krog’s words directly address the problematic and highly contested relationship between truth, trauma, and representation. Specifically Krog refers to traumatic experiences and notions of “truth” as presented at South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Constituted to investigate politically motivated forms of violence and human rights violations committed during apartheid, the TRC was formed as an attempt to understand the past, to come to grips with the crimes of the past, and to give individuals a change to speak about their suffering under apartheid. With individual healing and national reconciliation as its ultimate goal, the Commission sought to reveal truth through the recognition and recovery of stories that had previously been universally ignored. Through these stories the Commission aimed to obtain and build a more complete picture of South Africa’s oppressive and misrepresented past. (Excerpt)


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