"Political memory can be selective so check the archives"

Academic, Angelo Fick says there are what he describes as 'mis-memories' that people need to let go of before they can establish a different view of the world.

Speaking of history and memory in South Africa, Fick explains why it is important to assess our own memory against the archive of evidence recorded over the years.

Fick says it is important for South Africans to put their personal memory in a larger context. For example the memory of FW de Klerk.

It is important to go via people like Terry Bell and Dumisa Ntsebeza's book Unfinished Business and say this man's signature is on certain pieces of paper, he was the head of a government that was still implicated between 1990 and 1993 in a whole series of actions that still have to be explained....

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

It is important to take the larger history, familiarise ourselves with it and maybe rethink what we thought we knew.

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

He explains how personal memory works, how it is often interpreted and operates in literature.

Even in personal memory we often have this idea that you simply access the past as it remains intact and that you call it up and that your retelling of that past is an accurate representation.

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

We have gone through the TRC where very many people remembered what had happened and told that story but even the people working in the TRC knew that memory is not always as reliable as we imagine it to be. You remember that you were wearing a green jacket at that party, you look at the photograph and it turns out it was a brown jacket.

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

This doesn't mean that everything that people remember never happened but it does mean that we change what we remember because we select. We select what it is we remember..

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

There are reasons why we remember the things we do and they function and work towards who we think of ourselves in the moment.

Angelo Fick, academic and senior researcher, eNCA

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio...


This article first appeared on 702 : "Political memory can be selective so check the archives"


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