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Healing the wounds of war: memories of violence and the making of history in Zimbabwe's most recent past.

Schmidt, H. (1997) Healing the wounds of war: memories of violence and the making of history in Zimbabwe's most recent past. Journal of South African Studies, 23 (2). pp. 301-310. ISSN 1465-3893

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03057079708708538

Abstract/Summary

How does a society less than two decades after a liberation war which involved large sections of the population come to terms with the memories of violence and war — a war in which there was no clear distinction between insurgent and counter‐insurgent, liberator and oppressor and in which the majority of the casualties can be found among the rural civilian population? This was a predicament not exclusive to Zimbabwe, but one which also applies to Mozambique, South Africa and, more recently, to Rwanda. Since its independence Zimbabwe has been a prime example of successful reconciliation. Ranger has argued that spiritual healing has contributed importantly to coming to terms with the trauma of war through turning violence into history. Here it will be argued that an analysis of the intersections between memories of violence, healing, and history reveals a twofold process. Social healing is made possible by a shift from conviction and compensation to revealing without convicting. At the same time healing provides an arena for communities in which competing and contesting memories of violence are renegotiated. Through these processes sense is being made of the past; history is being made.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:35755
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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