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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Finding the Future in the Past: Nostalgia and Community-Building in Mhlophe's 'Have You Seen Zandie?'
Author:Delisle, JenniferISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
community education
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Women's Issues
Ethnic and Race Relations
About person:Gcina MhlopheISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070600656390
Abstract:Gcina Mhlophe's 1986 play 'Have you seen Zandile?' is the story of a young South African girl kidnapped by her estranged mother and separated from her loving grandmother, and is based on the playwright's own childhood experiences. Widely criticized in apartheid South Africa for being apolitical, the play continues to be denounced as light and sentimental. These criticisms are largely a response to the play's nostalgia, the longing for the stories and games of childhood felt by both the main character and the author. The present author argues that nostalgia is vital to Mhlophe's subtle and community-based anti-apartheid politics. As a universal human emotion, nostalgia defies the spectacular rhetoric of victimhood that threatens to define the black South African, and reveals instead the everyday complexity of all South Africans. The author analyses the function of nostalgic moments within the play to reveal the usefulness of nostalgia in the broader South African context. She shows that in apartheid South Africa, nostalgia was fundamental to the survival of trauma, by maintaining the psychological connection between the past and the present. As the play continues to be studied in postapartheid South Africa, it can be reread as part of the 'community-building' process, an endeavour that emphasizes the individual lives and experiences of its members, rather than the homogenized narrative of traumatic memory associated with the new nation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]