Facing the shame

Facing the shame

The black middle class must confront SA’s problems – or be forced to handle serious accusations, says Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela in an interview by Sue Segar.

She is a clinical psychologist, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), one-time University of Cape Town academic and author of the award-winning book A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness. The book is an account of her prison interviews with apartheid hit-squad commander Eugene de Kock, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the extraordinary relationship that developed between the two.

Besides her work on forgiveness and reconciliation, Gobodo-Madikizela remains closely plugged into current developments in South Africa. These days, the comfortable indifference of the black middle class is a red flag to this concerned member of their ranks, who loves opera, jazz, movies, gardening and walking at the seaside.

Gobodo-Madikizela, is about to launch her latest book, Dare We Hope? Facing our Past to find a New Future – a collection of local and international writing that offers a unique perspective on healing a wounded South Africa. She has become increasingly preoccupied with the need for engagement by the black middle class. Her book tackles, head on, the lack of hope that seems to have taken root in South Africa in a context of scandals, corruption and protests.

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