In the 1990's, South Africa surprised the world with a peaceful, negotiated transition from armed conflict to an inclusive democracy. This was followed by the ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to confront and work through a troubled past. The search for truth and reconciliation in South Africa, however, is far from completed; the country is in many ways still burdened by unresolved individual and collective traumas. In this book, two academics from the University of Cape Town, one a psychologist and the other a literary scholar, explore the importance of narrative as a way of working through trauma. Although written from within a South African context, the work has a much wider relevance. It offers illuminating perspectives on the process of narrating our healing : the sharing of personal narratives, the appropriation of literary narratives, and above all, the re-creating of life narratives shattered by trauma. It is a book about the search for meaning when all meaning seems to have been lost; it deals with the overwhelming nature of traumatic suffering, yet offers some hope of healing. The book is remarkably overarching, tailored to the needs of scientists and practitioners in the fields of psychology, social work, education and literature. It offers a strong message to all individuals and nations who live in an atmosphere of blame, shame and hopelessness. - Yuval Wolf, Professor of Psychology and Dean of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University. Narrating Our Healing is a good book in the widest sense of that adjective: it is well constructed, meticulously researched, and likely to deepen understanding of the difficult but profoundly important subject of trauma and how to address it. It is something like a handbook for living with suffering - both one's own and that of others. To have constructed a text that can serve such a purpose is a profoundly admirable achievement. Annie Gagia, LitNet. It is a timeous and exciting study that should be essential reading for anyone grappling with our present, our past and our future. - Andre P Brink - South African and international author This is one of the best books I have ever read on healing deep wounds. - Vamyk D. Volkan, M. D. Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia. We need to kw the truth about what happened in South Africa during the Apartheid years. Van der Merwe and Gobodo-Madikizela have given us the tools to face that challenge. - Rolf Wolfswinkel, Professor of Modern History, New York University.
Chris van der Merwe is Associate Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Literature at the University of Cape Town. He has written varioius books and articles in English, Afrikaans and Dutch on South African and Dutch Literature and on Theory of Literature. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Cape Town and a former member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, A Human Being Diet that Night: A Story of Forgiveness .