Ndabethwa lilitye: Assumption, translation and culture in the testimony of one person before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • Kopano Ratele University of South Africa
  • Nosisi Mpolweni-Zantsi University of the Western Cape, Bellville
  • Antjie Krog University of the Western Cape, Bellville
Keywords: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), translation and interpretation, oral narrative, Gugulethu Seven, strangeness

Abstract

The second week of the first round of hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission took place in Cape Town. On 2 April 1996 four mothers testified that Security Forces killed their sons during an incident that became known as the Gugulethu Seven. One of them was Mrs Notrose Nobomvu Konile. Of the four mothers she testified last and presented a testimony that seemed largely incoherent with very little detail about her son. Using the original Xhosa testimony the authors try to understand Mrs Konile. This essay focuses exclusively on her description of what the authors refer to as the “rock-incident”. The essay uses the original narrative with its embedded cultural contexts as well as a new translation to trace some of the different stages and places where incomprehension had been created.

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Published
2018-02-23
Section
Research articles