Communography in Phyllis Naidoo's "Charlie and Jo"

02 Oct 2017

Phyllis Naidoo?s Footprints beyond Grey Street (2007) adjusts conventional boundaries of the autobiographical genre: it is written by Naidoo but appears not to be principally concerned with the author?s life. It is written largely about her comrades in the African National Congress who were in exile in African countries. Of the stories in Naidoo?s ?autobiography?, ?Charlie and Jo? in particular epitomises the absence of the author: a stylistic and generic anomaly which merits particular attention and thus forms the focus of this article. This memory-tale of social recollection evidences autobiographical self-displacement: the privileging of collective memory as opposed to an individual?s nostalgic journey towards self-definition. This foregrounding of a collective identity has been identified and termed communography in the writings of comparable political groups such as the Irish Republican Army. d termed communography in the writings of comparable political groups such as the Irish Republican Army.