A group of black South Africans' experience of telling their untold stories about the apartheid era / Jacques Vermeulen
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The aim or this research was to explore a group of black South Africans' experiences of telling their untold stories of survival about the apartheid era. The expectation was that if they did become more aware of these alternative stories, it could have a far-reaching effect on their lives. Research indicates that when attention is given to these narratives they may be a powerful tool in not only recovering the story but also in focusing on the survivors' own consciousness and growth. Consequently personal meaning may be elicited by focusing on memories, and that which can be narrated afterwards. This may mean that by sharing these narratives the narrator may be enabled to construct a happier future via a positive rather than dissociative perspective simultaneously supplying the researcher with multifaceted data. A qualitative study was conducted with a group of seven black South African survivors of the apartheid era, ranging in age from 42 - 62 years. These participants formed part of an earlier study of Van der Merwe (2005) investigating their perceptions regarding factors that helped them to survive the apartheid era. For the present study, unstructured interviews were conducted focusing on their subjective experiences after the initial study. Analysis of the data yielded seven prevalent themes namely, a positive experience that made a difference, gaining of a positive attitude, not all white people are bad, transcending the past and moving on, awareness of personal strengths, forgiveness and starting to talk to family and friends. Recornmendations are made concerning future research.
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