AA 2015 Volume 47 Issue 1

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 16 of 16
  • ItemOpen Access
    Intellectual traditions in South Africa. Ideas, individuals and institutions
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Lange, Lis
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Between silence and speech: spectres and images in the aftermath of the Reign of Terror
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Steinberg, Ronen
    The study of responses to mass atrocities is overwhelmingly focused on the present; yet societies in the past also had to deal with the difficulties that arise in the aftermath of such events. This article examines one such case, the aftermath of the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. This period was characteriaed by ambivalence toward the memory of revolutionary violence, which was at one and the same time repressed and encouraged. In this context, ghosts offered a way for simultaneously talking and not talking about the legacies of the Reign of Terror. This article focuses on the case of the phantasmagoria, a unique lantern show that featured ghosts and debuted in Paris after the Reign of Terror. It argues that the spectral images, which the phantasmagoria created, occupied a middle ground between silence and speech, making it possible for contemporaries of the revolutionary era to face the notion that the past, which they destroyed, would return to haunt them.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘We have moved on’: human rights and intersubjectivity in post- 2007/2008 violence in Kenya
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Akoth, Steve
    In September 2010, the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo, issued summons against six Kenyans suspected of bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in Kenya after the bungled 2007 general elections. Immediately after the list of inductees was released, the political elites and their courtiers launched a campaign for Kenyans to reverse the human rights movements’ call for ‘truth-telling’ that had persisted since after flag independence. Using the notion of ‘our people’, those who had been named suspects and their supporters effectively reformulated the quest for ‘truth-telling’ to a silencing rhetoric captured by the political elites’ and victims’ declaration as “we have moved on”. I argue that this notion of ‘moving on’ is part of Kenya’s political culture that has for long enveloped gross human rights violations and stifled discussions and quests for any form of justice in Kenya’s post-conflict environment. This article gives an account of how postcolonial subjectivities interrupt and complicate the discourse of ‘moving on’ in Kenya.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘Just another riot in India’: remembering the 1984 anti-Sikh violence
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Aulakh, Jasneet
    In this article,1 I aim to problematize the ‘riots’ label that defines the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom following Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Focused in, though not limited to Delhi, the pogrom included the death of approximately 3 000 Sikhs, the destruction of homes and gurdwaras, and mass rape. By remembering the attacks as ‘riot’, both the government and the public depict the violent acts as unorganised and spontaneous mob activity, trivialising the systematic nature of the pogrom and denying central government and police complicity. This effectively silences the victims who have yet to earn any recognition or rights as victims, including death certification and arrests of perpetrators. Using interviews, unpublished police reports and court affidavits, I explore the ways in which voices are silenced for the sake of preserving national integrity, and how national narratives can continue to oppress victims.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Death, denial and dissidents: white commercial farmers’ discursive responses to mass violence in Zimbabwe, 1970-1980
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Pilossof, Rory
    This article investigates how white farmers in Zimbabwe reacted to two violent episodes in Zimbabwe’s recent history: the liberation war in the 1970s and the violence of Gukurahundi in the 1980s. The foregrounding of violence against white farmers by white farming representatives and mouthpieces in the 1980s was in direct contrast to the almost complete lack of acknowledgement of ‘terrorist’ casualties during the liberation war, and was a deliberate strategy on behalf of white farmers to recast themselves as an ‘endangered’ species that needed government protection. This article analyses how the discursive strategies of narrative violence changed for white farmers from the 1970s to the 1980s. The changing social and political contexts meant that white farmers had to adapt the tactics employed for narrating and discussing violence, with silencing and selective remembering as key components throughout this troubled period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Cambridge Companion to Nelson Mandela
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Conradie, Marthinus
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    What is telling “if telling is all there is?”
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Gordon, Rob; Williams, Christian
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Two modes of amnesia: complexity in postcolonial Namibia
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Kössler, Reinhart
    Public commemoration of past atrocity, mass crime and particularly genocide has drawn attention both in the public realm and in scholarly debate, meeting general acceptance in recent years. However, the seeming opposite has also been advocated – forgetting. Variously, such forgetting is presented as a wiser approach in contradistinction to painstaking and evasive truth-seeking. Taking this tendency as a point of departure, I discuss here two cases that seem relevant to what might be called a strategy of amnesia, both relating to Namibia: (1) reference to the genocide perpetrated by the German colonial army in 1904-08, both in post-World War II (West) Germany and in the independent postcolony, and (2) the debates and conflicts within Namibia around the gross violations of human rights committed under the auspices of SWAPO during the 1980s. Without suggesting that these cases are in any way equivalent, I contend, however, that they are related in the minds of a fair number of Namibians and further, that there are certain connections in the ways both cases have been and are addressed within the public spheres of the two countries concerned. I argue that in both cases, debate on how to ‘work through’ or otherwise pass over in silence violent acts and large-scale crime arose only with the Namibian independence process in 1989/90. In the first case, we can observe a transnational dynamic, which has resulted in shifts in the positioning of both governments concerned, but at the same time refers back to more long-term official images of history. This concerns in particular the construction of national identity as a decisive framing of the transition process, which, in Namibia, was intertwined with achieving independence. In the German case as well, memory politics are closely related to transition to democracy, even though this transition was the result of the cataclysmic defeat of Nazism. In such contexts, strategies of amnesia or of repressing memory appear fragile in face of the ever-present possibility that interested or concerned actors may raise seemingly forgotten issues. Precisely because of their relative volubility, such strategies also pose questions about political culture. In a closing section, I therefore consider the societal power relations that influence the prospects of enduring amnesia in the cases discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Against trauma: silence, victimhood, and (photo-)voice in northern Namibia
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Becker, Heike
    The article shows how the discourses of trauma, victimhood and silence regarding local agency contributed to the production of the nationalist master narrative in postcolonial Namibia. However, I point out repositories of memory beyond the narratives of victimhood and trauma, which began to add different layers to the political economy of silence and remembrance in the mid-2000s. Through revisiting visual forms of remembrance in northern Namibia an argument is developed, which challenges the dichotomy between silence and confession. It raises critical questions about the prominent place that the trauma trope has attained in memory studies, with reference to work by international memory studies scholars such as Paul Antze and Michael Lambek (1996) and South African researchers of memory politics, particularly the strategies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The fresh Namibian material supports the key critique of the TRC, which suggests that the foregrounding of pain and victimhood, and rituals of therapy and healing entailed a loss of the political framings of the testimonial moments.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Catholic voices of the voiceless: the politics of reporting Rhodesian and Zimbabwean state violence in the 1970s and the early 1980s
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Scarnecchia, Timothy
    Some of the worst atrocities of state violence perpetrated by the Rhodesian state were published and disseminated around the world in 1975 thanks to the Rhodesian Catholic Bishops’ and the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace’s links to human rights organisations in London. In contrast, when the Zimbabwean state carried out similar atrocities against civilians in 1983, the Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace decided to cooperate internally with a Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ)-led commission announced to investigate claims against government soldiers rather than press the case internationally. The Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace also interacted with foreign diplomats to help assuage their concerns over the security situation – most notably media reports of civilian massacres and torture – from the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces during Operation Gukurahundi. This article investigates some of the rationale for a different approach in the early 1980s based on changing alliances and allegiances of these Catholic organisations with the Rhodesian and then Zimbabwean state. This article forms part of a series of articles exploring how Zimbabwean and non-Zimbabwean actors rationalised the Gukurahundi period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Silence after violence and the imperative to ‘speak out’
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Henebury, Anja; Alsheh, Yehonatan
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Working on the thresholds of memory and silence: reflections on the praxis of the Legacies of Apartheid Wars Project
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Edlmann, Theresa
    Just as stories about the past are constructed in particular ways, so too are silences about historical events. Silences about what happened in the past are catalysed by a range of factors including expedience, fear, perceptions of threat, a need to protect, political amnesia, trauma and moral injury. Historical silences are constructed within social spaces and in people’s own accounts of their personal histories and identities. Silences are thus both personal and relational constructs that do not remain static, but rather shift and evolve, and can be disrupted. This article reflects on work conducted by the Legacies of Apartheid Wars Project between 2012 and 2014 at Rhodes University. The aim of these reflections is to explore the theoretical implications of work that sought to intervene in realms of silence and constrained memory, and invite public dialogical engagements with the past. The aim of these engagements was to acknowledge the complexities of apartheid’s legacies and some of the silences enfolded in those complexities, cognisant of the dynamic relationship between speaking and silence in how work of this nature engages with contested political, social and cultural terrains. The work of the Legacies of Apartheid Wars Project could, therefore, be said to comprise memory activism in the midst of ongoing contestation regarding how to make meaning of both the past and the present in the Southern African context.
  • ItemOpen Access
    SADF soldiers’ silences: institutional, consensual and strategic
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Baines, Gary
    This article treats silence as a collective phenomenon. Silence can be proscribed and enforced, socially conditioned and sanctioned, or voluntarily embraced. All forms were evident in the case of soldiers who served in the South African Defence Force (SADF). First, they acquiesced to an institutional silence imposed upon them regarding their role in waging a war in Angola/Namibia, as well as suppressing the struggle against apartheid. Secondly, SADF veterans were complicit in a self-imposed and consensual silence about human rights abuses following the country’s democratisation. This was partly enabled by a ‘pact of forgetting’ struck by the political elites and leaderships of the statutory and non-statutory forces. Finally, SADF veterans have employed silence as a strategy of control; they have invoked their experiential knowledge of the ‘Border War’ to assert their authority to tell the ‘truth’, thereby constructing a narrative of the conflict that remains largely unchallenged in the public domain. Consciously or unconsciously, SADF soldiers contributed to the public construction of silence following the violence of the apartheid wars.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Crying shame: war crimes, sexual violence, and the cost of ‘speaking out’
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Sedgwick, James Burnham
    Retelling violence can heal. It can also hurt. Post-Second World War exigency silenced numerous victims of sexual violence. The legacy of this ‘silence’ and the brutality of the crimes remain divisive in Asia. Yet, when breaking silence, victims pay a martyr’s price. Their trauma appropriated for wider agendas. Personal suffering commodified as national pain. Scarred bodies and psyches used as criminal evidence. In the hands of others, memories take on currency beyond personal pain and outside circles of healing. In courts, testimonies become valued only for probative worth and legal weight. Politicians use trauma as diplomatic leverage. Restitution claims monetise scales of suffering. No simple formula exists for trauma’s emotional arithmetic. Sharing experiences can provide relief, even release. However, this article shows that, in crying shame, survivors also pay a steep cost for speaking out. For some, it may be better to keep silent.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘What is the use of talking-talking?’ Reflections on talking, silence, and resilience in Sierra Leone
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Mieth, Friederike
    When conducting research on how Sierra Leoneans dealt with the past of a civil war in their everyday lives, I often observed that my informants felt that talking about the war was no longer necessary, especially in public situations. Moreover, many told me that it was better to ‘forget’ and move on. Speaking about such attitudes at conferences or workshops in Europe, I often received sceptical comments, suggesting that Sierra Leoneans seem ‘not yet ready’ to deal with their violent past and that this could not be healthy in the long term. Inspired by these reactions, I ask whether ‘not talking’ about experiences of violence is unhealthy. To answer this question, I draw on psychological studies on resilience that examine the factors that help individuals cope successfully with adversity. I find that the role of ‘talking’ may be of lesser relevance for the well-being of those who have experienced mass violence. Rather, various individual, social, and cultural factors contribute to resilience. The reflections in this article is intended to encourage further research on the different ways in which people cope with adversity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Afghanistan: gender, silence and memory
    (University of the Free State, 2015) Atashi, Elham
    This article explores the juncture of gender and collecting memory in the context of Afghanistan and establishing accountability for past atrocities. After situating Afghan women in the context of past wars, it examines two projects in truth-telling following the ousting of the Taliban and what was termed as the transitional period. Providing a critical analysis, it argues that recalling and telling of the past from the bottomup approach has done little to break the prevailing culture of impunity and address the motivation of victims in participating and contributing to memory projects. By promoting truth-telling and giving meaning to collecting memory, the international community has focused on the production rather than representation of memory. Production for the external market rather than localised confrontation with the past to alleviate trauma has led to an increasing commoditisation of memory. As a result, women’s representation in relation to past wars have remained marginalised as victims. In conclusion, the article positions silence as a tool of local resistance to an ever-increasing popularisation in the globalised markets of memory and truth-telling.