Gedachtnis und Genozid im zeitgenossischen historischen Afrika-Roman

Ikobwa, James Meja Lusava (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Remembrance and Genocide in the Contemporary German historical Africa-Novel In view of the role that literature plays in the remembrance of the Holocaust and in consideration of postcolonial approaches to interpreting the present in relation to the past, this study investigates the questions of remembrance and genocide in the contemporary German historical novel set in Africa. For this purpose, five historical novels will be analyzed. Three of them portray the colonial extermination of the Herero and Nama in German South-West Africa (1904-1907). These are: Gerhard Seyfried’s Herero (2003), Jürgen Leskien’s Einsam in Südwest (1991) and Uwe Timm’s Morenga (1978). The other two novels, Lukas Bärfuss’ Hundert Tage (2008) and Hans Christoph Buch’s Kain und Abel in Afrika (2001) deal with the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and its aftermath. Except for Jürgen Leskien’s Einsam in Südwest, the other novels have been analyzed before, but not from the perspective of ‘literary witnessing to genocide’, as this study will show. Using theoretical approaches of cultural and social memory studies as conceptualized by Jan and Aleida Assmann and adapted by other theorists, the study aims to assess the capacity of the novels as sites of memory. The textual analysis separately explores the question of genocide and that of remembrance and then links the two in a threefold manner. Firstly, it will be shown that genocide results in a myriad of memory constellations which correspond to the different participants’ need to come to terms with their actions and situations e.g. trauma on the part of the victims, guilt on the part of the aggressors and bystanders etc. Secondly, in this study the two genocides in Rwanda and Namibia open up the question of their relation to the Holocaust. It will be shown how the three genocides could be connected by investigating structural aspects, continuities and participants’ constellations. Generally, the fictionalized history this study explores is written from the perspective of guilt and trauma memory. The third aspect of this study will take into consideration recent debates about the German memory culture, including discussions about colonial history, focussed on the institutionalized atrocities committed against inhabitants of colonized territories in Southwest Africa and their claim for compensation. These discussions bring into focus the need to come to terms with an unresolved past, and the possible role of literature in this regard. By analyzing the selected novels, this study will explore the above considerations against the interpretations of historical occurrences as (re)constructed in the narrations. This study’s point of departure is that the historical Africa-Novel functions as an archive of memories of historical events that inspired their writing. The texts will be analysed as performing memory, incorporating memory, interpreting memory and revitalising historical consciousness.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Herinnering en Volksmoord in die kontemporêre Duitse historiese Afrika-roman In die lig van die rol wat letterkunde speel in die herinnering aan die Holocaust en met inagneming van postkoloniale benaderings tot die interpretasie van die hede in verhouding tot die verlede, stel hierdie studie ondersoek in na die vrae rondom herinnering en volksmoord in die kontemporêre Duitse historiese roman wat in Afrika afspeel. Vir hierdie doel sal vyf historiese romans geanaliseer word. Drie daarvan beeld die koloniale uitdelging van die Herero en die Nama in Duits-Suidwes-Afrika (1904-1907) uit. Hierdie romans is Gerhard Seyfried se Herero (2003), Jürgen Leskien se Einsam in Südwest (1991) en Uwe Timm se Morenga (1978). Die ander twee romans, Lukas Bärfuss se Hundert Tage (2008) en Hans Christoph Buch se Kain und Abel in Afrika (2001) handel oor die 1994 Rwanda volksmoord en die nasleep daarvan. Met die uitsondering van Jürgen Leskien se Einsam in Südwest is al die ander romans reeds voorheen geanaliseer, maar nie vanuit die perspektief van ‘letterkunde as getuie tot volksmoord’ nie, soos wat in hierdie studie aangetoon sal word. Deur die toepassing van kulturele en sosiale herinneringstudies soos gekonseptualiseer deur Jan en Aleida Assmann en aangepas deur ander teoretici, is dit die doel van hierdie studie om vas te stel tot watter mate hierdie romans optree as plekke van herinnering. Die tekstuele analise ondersoek die kwessies van volksmoord en herinnering afsonderlik en voeg dit dan saam op ’n drievoudige manier. Eerstens sal daar getoon word dat volksmoord lei tot tallose herinneringskonstellasies wat ooreenstem met die verskillende deelnemers se behoefte om hulle te berus by hulle aksies en situasies, byvoorbeeld trauma aan die kant van die slagoffers en skuld aan die kant van die aanvallers en omstanders, ens. Tweedens, in hierdie studie oor die volksmoorde in Rwanda en Namibië, kom die vraag na die Joodse volkslagting na vore. Daar sal getoon word hoe hierdie drie volksmoorde verbind kan word deur ondersoek in te stel na strukturele aspekte, kontinuïteit en deelnemers se konstellasies. Die gefiksionaliseerde geskiedenis wat in hierdie studie ondersoek word is oor die algemeen geskryf vanuit die perspektief van skuld- en traumaherinnering. Die derde aspek van hierdie studie neem onlangse debat in ag wat handel oor die Duitse herinneringskultuur. Dit sluit in besprekings oor koloniale geskiedenis wat fokus op die geïnstitusionaliseerde gruweldade gepleeg teen inwoners van gekoloniseerde grondgebiede in Suidwes-Afrika en hulle eis vir vergoeding. Hierdie besprekings neem die behoefte om die onopgeloste verlede te aanvaar onder die loep, asook die moontlike rol wat letterkunde kan speel in hierdie verband. Deur die analise van die gekose romans sal hierdie studie bogenoemde oorwegings ondersoek in die lig van verskillende interpretasies van historiese gebeure soos ge(re)konstrueer in die vertellings. Die vertrekpunt van hierdie studie is dat die historiese Afrika-roman funksioneer as ‘n argief vir herinneringe aan die historiese gebeure wat die skryf daarvan geïnspireer het. Die tekste sal geanaliseer word as uitvoering van herinnering, inkorporasie van herinnering, interpretasie van herinnering en die proses om nuwe lewe te blaas in historiese bewustheid.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79894
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