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Oral History, Community, and Displacement: Imagining by Sean Field (auth.)

By Sean Field (auth.)

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Additional resources for Oral History, Community, and Displacement: Imagining Memories in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Sample text

Outside the interview situation, even more evocative examples exist of people visiting the places, spaces, and people of their past and being moved or overwhelmed by the intensity of their memories. For example, Mr. D. S. has lived in the Windermere area for more than fifty years and is surrounded by spatial reminders of his life stories. The fact that for many people the experience of remembering the past is significant to their lives in the present suggests that experience is a vital conceptual category.

Gendered differences are commented on in several chapters, but it is through the “disappointed men” of Chapter 4 that I discuss masculine subjectivities in detail. The life stories of these two men were deeply evocative for me. One of the men’s stories of physical abuse at the hands of his war veteran father especially reminded me of my soldier father and the physical abuse that he suffered as a child. And, as I will later discuss, my father was also a disappointed man and, although he never abused me, his moods and absences left their mark on me.

Both men harbored dreams that were thwarted by the apartheid state, consequently they experienced various disappointments. They also internalized masculine myths that had contradictory functions. On the one hand, the myths helped them manage the contradictions of their hybrid cultural identities under apartheid; on the other hand, these myths set punitive standards, which they used to judge themselves and which exacerbated their feelings of disappointment. Chapter 5 begins the next cluster of articles (Part II), which explicitly deals with the imaginative framing of memories of space.

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