Healing and reconciliation after violent conflict: the role of memory in South Africa and Rwanda


  • Cori Wielenga University of Pretoria


Memory after violent conflict is a contentious issue. The way in which the past has been remembered has often been the impetus for renewed violence rather than healing and reconciliation. Exploring individual and collective memory in the Rwandan and South African contexts, this article argues that how we remember is more important than what we remember, if the process of remembering is to contribute positively to the post-conflict recovery process. This article considers some preliminary thoughts related to memory after violent conflict by comparing how South Africa and Rwanda have remembered their violent pasts. A significant difference between these two countries is that South Africa has allowed for contending narratives about the past to be in dialogue with one another, whereas Rwanda has chosen the route of preferring one narrative over others. Some possible implications of this will be explored in
this article.


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