The TRC and Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela: Claiming an Ordinary Female Space

Mussi, Francesca (2016) The TRC and Njabulo Ndebele’s The Cry of Winnie Mandela: Claiming an Ordinary Female Space. Anglistica Pisana, XIII (1-2). pp. 79-100. ISSN 1827-4951

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Abstract

Starring from an overview relating to the crucial role and ethical agenda of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this paper proceeds to investigate the narrative and representational strategies through which, in The Cry of Winnie Mandela (2003), South African writer and academic Njabulo Ndebele turns away from the "spectacular" towards a more nuanced and introspective dimension. While inspired by the TRC's hearings concerning gross violations of hu­man rights, this dimension foregrounds (black) women's endurance, suffering, and psychological distress. My essay highlights the lyrical intensity and open-minded approach informing Ndebele's portrayal of Winnie Mandela and the imaginary conversations that the (fictionalized) "Mother of the Nation" holds with other four women, whose historical models are similarly linked to the TRC's hearings. The theme of the "women-in-waiting" (for their husbands' return, but also for their voices to be heard) is examined in connection with the archetypal figure of Penelope, a West­ern myth which Ndebele borrows and moulds in African terms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, women's testimonies, the fictionalization of Winnie Mandela, Penelope myth, the politics of Ndebele's creative writing
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Q300 English studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2018 12:09
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2018 15:26
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/36554

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