I am a black South African in my late twenties; had I been slightly younger, I would have been a "born-free". I was raised on the master narrative that South African history in the twentieth century was a struggle against apartheid. Memories of the struggle had been mediated to me via the school curriculum, national holidays, public commemorations, public spaces, popular literature and television. This social memory of South Africa's black people having overcome the hardship, humiliation and trauma of apartheid makes little provision for the years prior to 1994 being remembered with fondness. And yet, this is exactly what Jacob Dlamini, almost twenty years my senior, dares to write about in his debut book, Native Nostalgia (2009). Having no effective personal recollection of apartheid myself, Dlamini's text poses me with the challenge of making sense of the marked discrepancy between the master narrative of the struggle against apartheid and Dlamini's individual sense of loss when reminiscing about his apartheid childhood. In this study, I investigate whether Dlamini's nostalgia is merely a sophisticated veil acting as social amnesia in an attempt to conveniently rewrite the past, or whether nostalgia of a particular kind may be a useful tool especially for black South Africans to negotiate their identity between master narratives about nationhood and personal memories about the everyday and the ordinary. Does Dlamini present black South Africans with useful means for post-apartheid identity construction, and, as such, hold out the possibility for continuity in the tradition of postcolonial resistance?
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.