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To begin the healing process, Nelson Mandela created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by the renowned cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Established in 1995, the commission faced the awesome task of hearing the testimony of the victims of apartheid as well as the oppressors. Amnesty was granted to those who offered a full confession of any crimes associated with apartheid. Since the commission began its work, it has been the central player in a drama that has riveted the country. In this book, Antjie Krog, a South African journalist and poet who has covered the work of the commission, recounts the drama, the horrors, the wrenching personal stories of the victims and their families. Through the testimonies of victims of abuse and violence, from the appearance of Winnie Mandela to former South African president P. W. Botha's extraordinary courthouse press conference, this award-winning poet leads us on an amazing journey.
Country of My Skull captures the complexity of the Truth Commission's work. The narrative is often traumatic, vivid, and provocative. Krog's powerful prose lures the reader actively and inventively through a mosaic of insights, impressions, and secret themes. This compelling tale is Antjie Krog's profound literary account of the mending of a country that was in colossal need of change.
...the power of this passionate and original book comes form its ability to describe universal human horrors which are not distinctively Afrikaner or African: to throw light on the nightmare world in which quite ordinary and boring people are transformed into practitioners of terror and counter-terror, which achieve their own momentum, and torture becomes a normal instrument of war. -- Literary Review
|Before the Commission|
|Ch. 1||They Never Wept, the Men of My Race||3|
|Ch. 2||None More Parted than Us||19|
|Ch. 3||Bereaved and Dumb, the High Southern Air Succumbs||37|
|Ch. 4||The Narrative of Betrayal Has to Be Reinvented Every Time||67|
|Ch. 5||The Sound of the Second Narrative||74|
|Ch. 6||The Wet Bag and Other Phantoms||89|
|Ch. 7||Two Women: Let Us Hear It in Another Language||100|
|Ch. 8||Guilt Is on the Move with All Her Mantles||103|
|Ch. 9||The Political Page Curls over Itself||131|
|Ch. 10||Reconciliation: The Lesser of Two Evils||142|
|Ch. 11||Amnesty: In Transit with the Ghosts||150|
|Ch. 12||The Political Tongue at Anchor||162|
|Ch. 13||Blood Rains in Every Latitude||175|
|Ch. 14||Letters on the Acoustics of Scars||191|
|Ch. 15||It Gets to All of Us - from Tutu to Mamasela||201|
|Ch. 16||Truth Is a Woman||233|
|Ch. 17||Then Burst the Mighty Heart||251|
|Ch. 18||The Shepherd and the Landscape of My Bones||259|
|Ch. 19||A Tragedy of Errors||293|
|Ch. 20||Mother Faces the Nation||318|
|Ch. 21||Beloved Country of Grief and Grace||341|
|Cast of Characters||375|
Posted December 20, 2002
One of the first writers to jump on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings, Krog goes beyond reporting and creates a maddening, lyrical work. Although some of the Afrikaans' flair--e.g. the tilte--is lost in English, Krog's sentiments and inner conflict are not misunderstood. Despite the tragedy that surrounds almost every testimony--against blacks; against whites; against innocence--Krog's timbre lightens the blow, yet deals with each one sincerely. Krog goes beyond just the "crimes of Apartheid" and exposes the the new politics of a post-Apartheid South Africa. Krog has done excellent reporting in what is a very delicate and important topic for South Africa and beyond.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2002
This book is very difficult to read. Not only because of the way it was written, but even more so for the acts of violence it describes. The horror of apartheid is unimaginable. However, for an outsider, I believe Rian Malan's 'My Traitor's Heart' is easier to grasp and at least as impressive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2010
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