WHEN INDEMNITY BECOMES DISDAINFUL: REVENGE AS METAPHOR FOR ‘UNFINISHED BUSINESSES’ IN POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICAN DRAMA

Busuyi Mekusi

Abstract


Revenge, as an instance of oppositionality, typifies past wrongs, evils, violations and disregard for human dignity which have been imputed and for which the offender must be reprimanded. The foregoing sequence is remindful of the dastardly apartheid dispensation in South Africa, which is a strong metaphor for strife and ‘ruptured’ human interactions. While the transition of South Africa to constitutionality was substantially heralded by the negotiating preponderances of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a number of people have adjudged the TRC to be a mere attempt to draw a curtain on the past - in sharp contrast to the spirit and letter of the commission. By so doing, there is a popular opinion that there are still some ‘unfinished business’ that ironically link the present with the past. Therefore, it is considered a ‘must’ that these ‘silences’ be addressed in order for the present and future of South Africa not to be intractably burdened by the past. Bhekizizwe Peterson’s and Ramadan Suleman’s Zulu Love Letter (both film and scripted play) has joined this discourse by artistically amplifying the need for an engagement with these ‘deafening silences’. It is in the light of the aforementioned that this article investigates the process of wrong and attempts by the hegemony to expiate such wrongs, in the context of impervious agents, who disregard the processes for peaceful engagements, but rather scorn and threaten victims of their vicious actions for daring to seek justice. The article sees such a repudiation of one’s evil act and the conciliatory stance of the government as capable of breeding revenge. However, the article concludes that when medicated, using certain cultural and religious beliefs, the bleeding heart that is prone to seeking revenge or retaliation (vengeance) might also be a carrier of forgiveness and collectivism.


Keywords


post-apartheid South Africa, reconciliation, revenge, silences

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References


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