« Nous sommes en paix ici même si nos poumons regorgent de guerres secrètes »
« We are a salad, so why treat us like a soup? », the writer Denis Hirson exclaimed at the Aix-en-Provence conference last October. Whilst the politicians and media both here and there try to find a common discourse to celebrate the emergence of a magnificently reunified nation, expressions by South African artists are introspective and complex, as they explore antagonisms and guilt, calling for a rewriting of History. Not so that the past be erased, however, but in order to restore a memory which can look History in the face, making it synonymous with dignity. It is not a question of remaking History, but of rethinking it, without trying to hide the existence of groups, cultures and identities. It is about recognizing that apartheid made the Other a stranger, a burr to be rid off for fear of losing one’s purity. What needs to be resolved is not so much doubt as suspicion. In short, a discovery of the self in order to be able to open up to the Other, for this incertitude will necessarily open up the way to hearts and reason.
The past is still too recent for the different communities to throw themselves lovingly into one another’s arms. Metamorphoses need to take place, which will only be achieved by reconstructing the image of the Other in an effort to go beyond the hatred, the fears, and the phobias, eradicating from an arsenal of representations forged by apartheid all that founds the certitudes about the inequality of man. In short, as the writer Achmat Dangor put it, « whilst in the past we have described victims and torturers with love, [we need]to find a new love founded on the new reality ». The South African artists are speaking about continuity, not rupture. Not with horror, but with a humanity which enables them to move beyond. That is undoubtedly what constitutes the topicality of this dossier, which highlights these new voices as they speak out to find the way forward for South Africa, and thus for us all.
///Article N° : 5293