Historical Trauma and Transformation
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Videos: Public Lecture Series

White work and engaging the violence of racism – A panel discussion



Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation ventured into the virtual realm when we held our first public Webinar on Wednesday 22 April 2020. The event brought together Professor Melissa Steyn, Dominee Helgard Pretorius and Dr Wilhelm Verwoerd – a dynamic panel of scholar-practitioners, all working to engage with the violence of racism as white people in South Africa.

Melissa Steyn reflected on her theoretical concept of The Ignorance Contract in relation to whiteness. Helgard Pretorius followed with his experiential story of what it means to do “white work" in the context of the Dutch Reformed Church. As a facilitator of this process, Wilhelm offered reflections on what it means to take people through this kind of “single identity work" journey in South Africa and in other contexts.

During the question and answer session, the panel engaged on questions about what restitution means in relation to white work and issues of white nostalgia and white loss in relation to this work.

A final phrase from Melissa at the end of the Webinar sums up one of the central themes emerging from the panel discussion:

As we lose our whiteness, we gain our humanity


You can watch the recording of the Webinar using clicking this link.

Theatrical Politics: Ubu and the Truth Commission Revisited, 4 March 2020

Prof Premesh Lalu, former director of the Centre for Humanities Research, and Principle Investigator of the DST-NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in African Humanities (UWC), revisits the theatrical co-production of Ubu and the Truth Commission by William Kentridge, Jane Taylor, and the Handspring Puppet Company.


Annual Africa Day Lecture, 30 May 2019: A Mother’s Reflection on Suicide Loss in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Judge Thina Siwendu reflected on suicide loss in post-Apartheid South Africa during Stellenbosch University's second annual Africa Day lecture, co-hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers, and Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation.


Zackie Achmat lecture, 11th October 2017 on: "State Power, State Capture and Building a New Politics of Justice and Equality"

In a captivating yet harrowing lecture titled “State Power, State Capture and Building a New Politics of Justice and Equality,” Achmat took us on a journey as secondary witnesses to the violence inflicted by state and provincial structures daily on the lives of millions of South Africans, to show us the deep chasm that exists between the promise of a “better life for all” and the ever-receding horizon of such a vision.


Dialogue, Writing, and Humanity in Troubled Times
A Conversation between Homi Bhabha and Njabulo Ndebele

The two renowned scholars, Professor Homi Bhabha, who is the world's premier post-colonial literary theorist and Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, and Emeritus Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, poet, novelist and essayist who has received worldwide acclaim for his work, are known to integrate academic inquiry with public engagement, extending themselves well beyond scholarly concerns to challenge the status quo in troubled times. Their public conversation on “Dialogue, Writing, and Humanity in Troubled Times" was recorded in the following video clip below.