Bearing witness: women and the truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa
People who witness acts of terror and violence are often called after the event to bear witness to what they saw. In cases where this violence is inflicted by the state upon its own people, the process of bearing witness is both politically complex and traumatic for the individual involved. Independent trials and commissions have become important mechanisms through which the truth of past violence is sought in democratising states, but to date there has been little close attention to the processes and complexity of the work of such institutions.
Fiona Ross's fascinating study of the process of bearing witness is the first book to examine the gendered dimensions of this topic from an anthropological and ethnographic viewpoint. Taking as a key example the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Ross explores women's relationships to testimony, particularly the extent to which women avoid talking about or are silent about certain forms of violence and suffering.
Offering a wealth of first-hand examples, Ross approaches a more subtle understanding of the achievements and the limitations of testimony as a measure of suffering and recovery generally. Is it, she asks, the panacea it is usually seen as? Or do conventional discourses on human rights, suffering and reconciliation oversimplify an altogether more complex and problematic process?
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The Self in Extremity
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Bearing Witness: Women and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Fiona C. Ross
No preview available - 2002
African Afrikaans amnesty apartheid arrested asked Boland boycott Cape Town Casspir cell cent Chapter child Commission's comrades context cultural data No data death deponents described detained detention Durban effects Emergency exile forms gender Gobodo-Madikizela gross violations harm healing held HRVC human rights identified Internal Security Act interrogation involved Johannesburg Khutwane's testimony killed Mirriam Moleleki mobilisation mother narrative Neil Aggett Neliswa Noluntu Nothemba Nowi Nyameka Goniwe organisations pain policemen political activists political activities prison protest public hearings rape recognised Refused to divulge released resistance SAIRR sexual violation silence social solitary confinement South Africa statements story struggle suffering tell told the Commission torture township toyi-toyi Truth and Reconciliation Truth Commission victims violations of human violence Volume Five Volume Four Wendy Orr Western Cape woman women testified Women's League Worcester Xhosa Xoliswa young women youth Yvonne Khutwane Zwelethemba