Rethinking Motherhood beyond South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Anger and Healing in Fatima Dike’s The Return

By J. Coplen Rose.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 2, 2017 $US5.00

Published in 2009, Fatima Dike’s “The Return” foregrounds ongoing challenges concerning reconciliation and healing in post-apartheid South Africa. Analyzing this play as a work of post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission drama, this article argues the mother in the play is a response to the gendered silencing that occurred throughout many of the testimonials presented by mothers at the Truth Commission. Lacking many of the stereotypical characteristics associated with victimhood, she openly details the traumatic experiences from her past and the anger they caused. Her responses to the various crises in the plot make this play a salient commentary on current challenges facing many indigenous South African families. As the play suggests, rethinking constructions of motherhood and national narratives around grief and suffering offer new routes for healing and forgiveness beyond South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Keywords: South Africa, Theatre, Drama, Motherhood, Violence, Anger, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, TRC, Forgiveness, Fatima Dike, Xhosa

The International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 17, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.11-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 2, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 785.770KB)).

J. Coplen Rose

Contract Lecturer, Department of English, Lakehead University, Orillia, Ontario, Canada