Neither truth no reconciliation.

This is neither truth nor reconciliation, but peace and transcendence. The TRC has completed a task it was not assigned to in the first place: the creation of a space and a new language. The worlds are too far apart to be reconciled, and the scars too profound for any possible reconciliation; but peace the first condition before any human right or form of justice has been a key fact in the creation of this space. The world of Klein Dirk, whose girlfriend, “…As Coetzee is relating the details, to gasps of horror from the audience, she is busy lacquering her nails. Her left hand is splayed on Klein Dirk’s thigh-he holds the bottle while she applies neat layers of dark polish to her nails”(82), is an antipode to that of Nomonde.

What it would have taken for the world of Nomonde to be reconciled with the land and with itself would to wipe out the world Klein Dirk, but this would not be “the creation of a new man” let alone of “a new humanity”, but justice would have been restored; Instead, a space has been created that allows for a new national narrative. In the analysis of the murder of policeman Richard Mutase and his wife in November 1987, the meaning of a narrative goes beyond Roland Barthes’ definition:

“The stories stay with me. How they correspond. How they differ. The stylistic traits of the oral narrative. The story does not turn around a single climax. Rather, it collects smaller episodes: the murder is just as important as the arrival at the house; the strategy inside the house equals what happened thereafter…Every narrative carries the imprint of its narrator.”(110) these stories, and the reporter would agree, no matter how different they might be reveal one common trait in the mind of the perpetrators, “In all the stories, a landscape is created where the powerful are struggling with the powerless, the armed with the defenseless, and the landscape is filled with misunderstanding. It’s worth noting where the stories differ-on the question of accountability. No one will admit to killing Irene Mutase, because no political reason could possibly exist why an ordinary nurse had to be killed.” And this is where the cathartic function rely, reckoning with the past in order get beyond it, not to forget but build boundaries for the created new man to learn how to guard against these national tragedies.

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About sdiouf

Ph.D student in Comparative Literature.
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