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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The politics of remembering and commemorating atrocity in South Africa: the Bhisho massacre and its aftermath, 1992-2012
Author:Victor, Stephanie
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic terms:South Africa
political repression
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2015.992714
Abstract:The Bhisho massacre occurred on 7 September 1992, when 28 African National Congress (ANC) supporters and one soldier were killed and over 200 demonstrators were injured by the Ciskei Defence Force (CDF) during a protest march. This took place roughly 18 months before South Africa's first democratic election in 1994. In this article the author analyses the different narratives and contentions that crystallised around the massacre over a period of 20 years. She examines how the massacre is remembered and commemorated in various guises through oral and written reminiscences, monuments and commemorative rituals within the historical context of its Bantustan roots, the transitory pre-democracy period, and lastly its contemporary political paradigm as the 'gateway' to a re-imagined Bhisho, (re-)fashioned on covert silences and selective remembering, which are tantamount to myth-making. In the process, the story of the massacre evaporates and a new narrative replaces it, constructed according to the political trajectory of the hegemonic elite and the bureaucratic machinery responsible for producing it. But it is the 'memory consumers', the audiences of the representations in question, who can ultimately choose between co-option, disavowal and contestation. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]