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Commemorating and ForgettingChallenges for the New South Africa$
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Martin J. Murray

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816682997

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816682997.001.0001

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White Lies

White Lies

Mythmaking and Social Memory in the Service of White Minority Rule

(p.29) 2 White Lies
Commemorating and Forgetting

Martin J. Murray

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter addresses a range of questions that investigate the origins of memory-making under white minority rule and how these discredited mnemonic devices linger in the present. What becomes of social memories of settler colonialism and white minority rule when the myth-laden, socio-cultural world of their making lies in ruins? The end of apartheid and the transition to parliamentary democracy triggered what amounted to a crisis of collective memory that left citizens of the ‘new South Africa’ without the stable reference points necessary for building a shared sense of national identity. What should be remembered and how? Where do old-fashioned monuments and memorials that extolled the virtues of white minority rule fit into the new national narrative of political stability, economic progress, and racial reconciliation? These are the kinds of questions that immediately provoked widespread debate and controversy.

Keywords:   Collective memory and selective forgetting, Contemporary (post-apartheid) South Africa, Heritage and tourism studies, Commemorative practices, Monuments and memorials, Museums and public exhibitions, Thanotourism, Traumascapes

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