Khoisan identity: A contribution towards reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa
Klaasen, John Stephanus
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This article seeks to explore the identity of the Khoisan as symbolic for reconciliation in South Africa. What contributions can the narrative of a marginalised people such as the Khoisan make to reconciling a divided nation such as South Africa? The Khoisan have been victims of continuous dispossession since the arrival of Bartholomew Diaz at the Cape in 1488. However, it was the taking of land in 1657 from the Khoisan for the free burgers that marked a significant period for the current discourse on land and for identity and reconciliation within post-apartheid South Africa. Notwithstanding the attempts by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to use narratives for healing, restoration, and continuing engagement with the meta-narratives of the past, my own use of narrative is open-ended with space for dialogue through interaction. The past or history does not have fixed boundaries, but rather blurred boundaries that function as spaces of transcendence. The narrative approach has four interactionist variables which are personhood, communication, power as reflected experience, and fluid community. I point out weaknesses of the use of narrative by the TRC as well as the interaction between experience and theory by practical theologians to construct an open-ended narrative of the Khoisan for reconciliation in South Africa.