A narrative and autobiographical approach is taken in this article in order to explore and explain reconciliation. In the process the concepts of privilege, shame and new choices, within a specific story, are taken as the guiding beacons on the road to reconciliation in the South African situation.
There are all kinds of stories. Some are born with the telling: their substance is language, and before someone puts them into words they are but a hint of an emotion, a caprice of mind, an image, or an intangible recollection. Others are manifest whole, like an apple, and can be repeated infinitely without risk of altering their meaning. Some are taken from reality and processed through inspiration, while others rise up from an instant of inspiration and become real after being told. And there are secret stories that remain hidden in the shadows of the mind; they become covered with excrescences and parasites, and with time are transformed into the matter of nightmares. To exorcise the demons of memory, it is sometimes necessary to tell them as a story (Allende 1988:158).
I share my own story in this article not because it is extraordinary or special. To the contrary! I write it because it is so very ordinary and shared by many Afrikaans speaking people of my age. And I am glad for the opportunity because I am convinced that there is an urgent need in our society to exorcise "the demons of memory". The way to do that is to remember and to tell the stories. Therefore, the assumption with which I operate in this article is that reconciliation is a narrative construct and can only be achieved on a narrative basis. I grew up as a farm boy and the only son of Christian parents.