A fascinating piece of research from the Eastern Cape

2009-06-10 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

There was this Goat

Antjie Krog, Nosisi Mpolweni and Kopano Ratele

University of KwaZulu-Natal Press

BOOKS about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are two a penny. Some of them, written by pretentious academics or people with political axes to grind, are earning the dust of obscurity on library shelves. But this one is different and deserves its readers.

Entitled There was this goat: Investigating the Truth Commission of Notrose Nobomvu Konile, the book focuses on the testimony of one of the mothers of the Gugulethu Seven, shot dead in a police ambush in March 1986. At a superficial level, Notrose Konile’s input appears incoherent and aberrant, out of line with the accounts of the mothers of other victims. Was this due to persistent trauma, a latent fear of the truth that often spelt trouble in the apartheid years, or problems of language, translation and transcription?

The answer lies in Konile’s rural roots at Indwe in the Eastern Cape and the authors concluded their investigation by interviewing her at home 20 years after the death of her son Zabonke. By this time she had retaken control of her life which had previously plumbed the depths of poverty. And the meaning of her metaphoric TRC testimony becomes crystal clear.

The essence of this book is about hearing one another: South Africa’s most intractable problem is communication and interpretation.

This is not just a linguistic issue, but one of culture and socioeconomic status too. Unlike her urban counterparts, MKonile’s view of the death of her son did not buy into the TRC’s standard litany of white oppression, heroic resistance and post-liberation triumph. Hers was a highly personalised view from the depths of rural society.

For the old-fashioned reader there is too much repetition; and far too much about the writers and their feelings. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating piece of research. And the goat? He appeared to Konile in a dream, signifying a message from the ancestors and premonition of Zabonke’s violent death.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.