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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sharing life-history and other memory: the mining persons in South Africa, 1951-2011
Author:Nite, Dhiraj Kumar
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 1726-1686)
Geographic term:South Africa
oral history
Abstract:This paper based on recently conducted research among mining persons in South Africa discusses the ways of studying life-history. Its methodology, as indicated here, cannot claim to produce complete and unvarnished life-histories. The interview method employed here acknowledged the autonomy and sensitivity of narrators. The preparation of transcripts only refracted through our empathetic professional approach. A two-pronged comparative reading of oral accounts - against each other and against other literature - reveals how the meaning lying behind and within these life-histories is equally displayed through significant omission, silences, conflicting information and imaginative interpretations. The imaginative invention seen in the narrators' accounts owed not necessarily to free choices made by individuals for creative and imaginative reconciliation with the past and present experiences (contra Portelli 1991). Nor did the collective cultural processes determine it (contra Passerini 2011). The act of remembering by an individual engages with the collective historic cultural processes and the institutional re-fashioning of public memory (after Green 2004; Field 2008). Informants' desires and dreams were in continual negotiation with the new family-building movement, and the effect of a measure of disenchantment with the dispensation of the current multiracial democratic government, and that of the hegemonic memory of collective struggle. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]