Journeys from the horizons of history: Text, trial and tales in the construction of narratives of pain

19 Oct 2011

This article draws inspiration from Jauss's theorisation of the concepts of horizon, reception, and construction. The problem we confront relates to the way we receive, interpret, and apply texts without cognisance of the ways our horizons advance, limit, and intersect with a multiplicity of meanings that might not have been foreseen by the text's contemporaries. What are the distances between public encounters with the past on the one hand, and on the other the testimonies heard by the Commission or readings of trauma offered by social scientists and historians? In this paper we wish to offer a tentative response to this question by reflecting on various readings of the trial of Andrew Zondo and the public testimony of Lephina Zondo at the TRC. We are interested in the ways in which truths, and histories, are produced "by virtue of multiple forms of constraint".