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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Abstract

BOTHA, Marisa. Trauma Processing in Krog's Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour Never Comes Alone]. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.3, pp.524-541. ISSN 2224-7912.

Although Antjie Krog established her South African literary reputation as a poet who writes in her mother tongue Afrikaans, she gained world recognition for her English autobiographical text, Country of My Skull (1998), in which she wrote about her experiences as a radio journalist reporting on South Africa 's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Subsequently she continued publishing in English, but only after writing an Afrikaans volume of poetry in 2000, Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour Never Comes Alone], in which she attempts to reconnect with her mother tongue and in doing so, initiates the healing process of a fractured psyche. Throughout Krog's oeuvre she has struggled with her identity as a white Afrikaans speaker with liberal beliefs during the era of apartheid. Her complicated relationship with her privileged, Afrikaner past and the role her race and even her language, Afrikaans, played during the apartheid era exacerbates her guilt and complicity in past atrocities. In Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour Never Comes Alone] the reader undertakes a physical and psychological journey along with the poet in her aim to reconcile her ideology with the horrendous human rights violations witnessed during the TRC testimonies. One of the main themes in Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour Never Comes Alone] is reconciliation - the reconciliation of people who were previously separated by race, class and political ideology. This article examines the therapeutic value of writing poetry in the processing of trauma. The focus is on Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [Colour Never Comes Alone], especially the second and fourth sections, "Wondweefsel" ["Wound Tissue"]and "Bindweefsel" ["Connective Tissue"] with verses on the Anglo Boer War, Apartheid and the Rwandan genocide. Krog 's role as secondary witness at the Truth an Reconciliation Commission hearings is examined, as well as her experience of trauma, and the consequences of her (or any other secondary witness's) participation. Dori Laub refers to these consequences of witnessing as "hazards of listening". Reference will also be made to traumatic memory, the processing of trauma, the gift of stories (testimony) and the responsibility of the secondary witness to fulfill her ethical duty to act as guardian of these narratives and share them with others, so that those who had died can remain alive in memory.

Keywords : Antjie Krog; Kleur kom nooit alleen nie [ Colour Never Comes Alone]; Africa; poems; trauma processing; traumatic memory; secondary witness.

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