Title

Review: Mark Sanders, "Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission" and Chris van der Merwe and Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, "Narrating Our Healing: Perspectives on Working Through Trauma"

Document Type

Book Review

Journal/Book Title/Conference

English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies

Volume

26

Issue

1

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Publication Date

2009

First Page

100

Last Page

104

DOI

10.1080/10131750902768499

Abstract

Chris N. van der Merwe and Pumla Gobobo-Madikizela. 2007. Narrating Our Healing: Perspectives on Working Through Trauma. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 106 pp. ISBN 9781847184818.

Mark Sanders. 2007. Ambiguities of Witnessing: Law and Literature in the Time of a Truth Commission. Stanford: Stanford University Press; Johannesburg: University of Witwatersrand Press. 257 pp. ISBN 9780804756150.

Many thousands of words from every imaginable perspective and in every genre have been written about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) since it began its work thirteen years ago. Among the most interesting and moving of those works was A Human Being Died That Night: A Story of Forgiveness by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a psychologist who worked for the TRC. Gobodo-Madikizela's account of her meetings with convicted death squad commander Eugene de Kock (aka ‘Prime Evil’), and her struggles to reconcile knowledge of his horrifying deeds with the humanity she found in the man, personalized her calls for forgiveness and reconciliation, giving them a poignancy beyond the easy platitudes occasionally offered up by some other TRC proponents.