South African Performance: Khumbulani

african-truth-and-reconciliation-commissionThe Cape Town Trauma Center held meetings and a Khumbulani/Remembrance Workshop of Xhosa guerrilla fighters, facilitated by Dr Erik Harper, a South African psychologist, and performance facilitator, Dr Kimberly Segall, in forums to work towards justice and healing, by telling their stories.

CLICK: Video Intro Khumbulani!

"The next day, survivors told their protest stories in small groups. Then,  the group began speaking of injustices on stage. I asked for volunteers, and I was taken aback by the first story, given by the man who offered to translate. As Monwa spoke of torture, he detailed his fifteen years in prison, during which time he had been shifted to six different prisons. Not allowed contact with his family or his friends; restricted  from having  a lawyer. For years, he was tortured. . . he  suffocated in the memory of pain and shame. The silence afterwards was  deafening. None of  the  members of the group moved. My intentions to be a fairly non-interventing facilitator began to feel  unethical in the face of this man's drowning in traumatic memory. Eventually, I walked a few steps closer to the  open stage and  said, "Thank you for your  story." The group broke out into applause. Then I asked him, "What were you doing before you were arrested?" (Segall, Performing Democracy,  131).