Exploring young black persons' narratives about the apartheid past
Petersen, Cheryl Marcelle
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The extant of available South African qualitative research which investigates issues of the post-apartheid youth appears to be diversified and increasing. A part of this corpus of research, seem to inform on post-apartheid identity formation. This current research explored the narrative forms located in the retellings of the apartheid past by 13 young black South Africans aged between 16 and 21. To this end, 68 different secondary narrative segments were obtained, by means of the analysed transcripts of in-depth interviewing, using a qualitative categorical-content framework. The data analysis yielded 12 themes, wherein the youth identified the primary narrators of the apartheid stories; contextualised settings and circumstances around narratives and explained apartheid social stratifications and treatment of black persons. They also conceptualized their understanding of apartheid laws and enforcement; explained apartheid experienced forms of loss and support; discussed apartheid education; talked about political figures and liberation; disclosed their own feelings about these stories; disclosed the impacts of stories on their own lives; considered the relevance of these narratives; stated what was learnt from it and provided a gauge of their interest in such stories. The findings suggest socially constructed second order narratives of racial hierarchies; marginalising the 'other'; vicarious experiences of affect; the incorporation of the logic of difference and a coexistence of tensions between these stories and present lifestyles. The research has located specific tones, imagery and themes within these narratives, which were duly incorporated in the metastory of this research. Recommendations were made concerning further research to be inclusive of youth from a wider racial and cultural spectrum, as well as investigation into aspects of non-interest and denialism about the apartheid past.
- Humanities