The Painful Truth That Should Cause No Pain:An Analysis Of The Effects Of Historyin The Truth And Reconciliation Commissionpoetry
Literary scholars appear to be engrossed in two salient questions relating to the issue of poetry in post-apartheid South Africa. Some scholars and critics wonder whether there is new poetry in post-apartheid South Africa, andothers are doubtful of whether poetry produced during and after the Truth and ReconciliationCommissionis capable of capturing the imagination of the reading public without necessarily resorting to the bigotry of black versus white. The literature conveys a sense of the need for South African poets to move away from condemnatory and confrontational issues of the past and to make literary representation of South African society through the use of a poetic mode. This approach calls into question the relevance of using historical facts as the basis for making literary representation. This paper acknowledges that the use of historical facts as the basis for literary representation of societies may be seen as insensitive to the victims of the injustices of the past practices in highly politically polarised communities. At the same time, it argues that historical narratives with positive ideological intent can heal wounds and unite a nation. To justify this position, the paper adopts a two-fold perspective: firstly,it looks into the effects of using history as the basis for literary representation and, secondly,it examines the extent to which post-apartheid South African poets may use history as a necessary tool to enforce unity and a sense of forgiveness.
Key words: Apartheid, poetry, literature, history, racism, truth, reconciliation, democracy, culture, diversity, blacks, whites, poverty, guilt, forgiveness.