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Coming To Terms With Trauma: The TRC And Memorials To The Victims Of Apartheid Violence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the installation of memorials as part of the personal, family-based, often religiously motivated desire for proper burial and community remembrance of deceased loved-ones. However, beyond the confines of private mourning and community remembrance, public monuments and memorials are always also addressed to a wider audience and become interwoven with larger, public processes of commemoration and societal discourses about the past and its relationship to the present. The chapter discusses memorials as a public acknowledgement of suffering and loss, which can restore a sense of personal dignity and lead to societal healing. This perspective received potent endorsement through the TRC's recommendation that memorials be built for the victims of apartheid violence as symbolic measures of reparation and to promote national unity and reconciliation. Author maintains that a public memorial attesting to trauma can assist victims with their psychological healing and even political empowerment.

Keywords: apartheid violence; memorials; national unity; public monuments; reconciliation; suffering; trauma; TRC; victims



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