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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.46 n.1 Cape Town Aug. 2012

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

Traumatic memory, representation and forgiveness: Some remarks in conversation with Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull

 

Traumatiese herinnering, representasie en vergifnis: Enkele opmerkings in gesprek met Antjie Krog se Country of My Skull

 

 

Robert R. Vosloo

Department of Systematic Theology and Church History, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

In light of Koos Vorster's recent work dealing with themes such as memory, forgiveness and reconciliation, this article underlined the argument that a critical engagement with literary texts can be valuable to clarify and enrich a theological response to questions related to these notions. More specifically, the article focused on Antjie Krog's profound and deeply moving engagement with the work and legacy of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in her book Country of My Skull (1998), that used the notion of forgiveness as lens for such an undertaking. Taking the cue from the poem with which the book ends, the article addressed questions such as 'To whom is the plea for forgiveness addressed?' and 'Who is asking for forgiveness, and what must be forgiven?' In the process attention was given to questions about the limits of representation and the need for an ethic of interconnectedness. The article suggested that these questions beg for further theological engagement.


OPSOMMING

In die lig van Koos Vorster se resente werk oor temas soos herinnering, vergifnis en versoening, het hierdie artikel die argument onderstreep dat 'n kritiese interaksie met literêre tekste van groot waarde kan wees om die teologiese gesprek oor hierdie sake te verhelder en te verryk. Die artikel het meer spesifiek op Antjie Krog se diepsinnige en ontroerende bespreking van die werk en nalatenskap van die Suid Afrikaanse Waarheids- en Versoeningskommissie gefokus. Die konsep van vergifnis is as lens vir hierdie ondersoek gebruik. Gegewe die aard van die gedig waarmee die boek afsluit, is vrae soos 'Aan wie word die pleidooi vir vergifnis gerig?' en 'Wie vra vir vergifnis, en wat moet vergewe word?' aan die orde gestel. In die proses is aandag gegee aan vrae rakende die beperkinge verbonde aan representasie van trauma uit die verlede en die noodsaaklikheid van 'n etiek van interverweefdheid. Daar is gesuggereer dat hierdie vrae ook om 'n teologiese respons vra.


 

 

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References

Coetzee, C., 2001, 'They Never Wept, the Men of my Race: Antjie Krog's Country of my Skull and the White South African Signature', Journal of South African Studies 27 (4), 685-696. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03057070120090682        [ Links ]

Coetzee, J.M., 2007, Diary of a Bad Year, Viking, New York.         [ Links ]

Garman, A., 2008, 'The mass subject in Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull' in A. Hadland, S. Sesanti & H. Wassermann (eds.), Power, Politics and Identity in South African Media, pp. 204-219, HSRC Press, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Jones, L.G., 1995, Embodying forgiveness: A Theological Analysis, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 1998, Country of My Skull, Random House, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 2000a, Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa, Three Rivers Press, New York.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 2000b, Down to My Last Skin, Random House, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 2000c, Kleur kom nooit alleen nie, Kwela, Cape Town.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 2008, '"This thing called reconciliation..." forgiveness as part of an interconnectedness-towards-wholeness', South African Journal of Philosophy 27(4), 353-366.         [ Links ]

Krog, A., 2009, Begging to Be Black, Random House, Cape Town.         [ Links ]

McGonegal, J., 2009, Imagining Justice: The Politics of Postcolonial Forgiveness and Reconciliation, McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal.         [ Links ]

Ricoeur, P., 2004, Memory, History, Forgetting, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.         [ Links ]

Sanders, M., 2007, Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission, Stanford University Press, Stanford.         [ Links ]

Schuele, A., 2009, '"On earth as it is in heaven": Eschatology and the Ethics of Forgiveness', in A. Schuele & G. Thomas (eds.), Who is Jesus Christ for Us Today? Pathways in Contemporary Christology, pp. 185-202, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville.         [ Links ]

Van der Merwe, C. & Gobodo-Madikizela, P., 2009, Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Working through Trauma, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.         [ Links ]

Vorster, J.M., 2004, 'Truth, Reconciliation, Transformation and Human Rights', The Ecumenical Review 56(4), 480-502. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-6623.2004.tb00535.x        [ Links ]

Vorster, J.M., 2009a, 'Down Memory Lane to a Better Future', HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 65(1), 1-6.         [ Links ]

Vorster, J.M., 2009b, 'An Ethics of Forgiveness', Verbum et Ecclesia 30(1), 365-383.         [ Links ]

Vosloo, R.R., 2001, 'Reconciliation as the Embodiment of Memory and Hope', Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 109, 25-40.         [ Links ]

 

 

Correspondence:
Robert Vosloo
171 Dorp Streeet
Stellenbosch 7600
South Africa
Email: rrvosloo@sun.ac.za

Received: 15 Mar. 2011
Accepted: 11 Aug. 2011
Published: 28 Sept. 2012

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