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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The master narrative of South Africa's liberation struggle: remembering and forgetting June 16, 1976
Author:Baines, GaryISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Soweto uprising
Abstract:South Africa has recently marked the 30th anniversary of the student uprising against the apartheid State, which erupted in Soweto on June 16, 1976. This event is commemorated annually as 'Youth Day'. In order to understand how and why South Africans remember June 16, the author offers readings of four exemplars of 'memory texts': the iconic photograph of Hector Pietersen, made by Sam Nzima; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) rehearsal of the events of June 16; the Hector Petersen Museum; and the commemoration of Youth (formerly Soweto) Day. The living memories of the Soweto uprising have been inscribed in the master narrative of the liberation struggle constructed by the ANC party in postapartheid South Africa. The paper concludes by offering some insights into the role of memory and forgetting in the construction of national identity and asks whether it is possible to aspire to some sort of consensus about the meaning of the past in order to forge a sense of nationhood. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]