Towards (re)conciliation: the post colonial economy of giving

Ahluwalia, Pal
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This paper examines three different post-colonial sites where there is a need for reconciliation. The mode of analysis suggested here is based on the notion of post-colonialism. This is not a repudiation of the African past but an engagement with the manner in which Africa has dealt with institutions and practices that it has inherited. The three sites, Australia, Palestine and Rwanda, were examined through the lens of the notion of the uncanny. Although each of these locations is different, they nevertheless share the experience of colonisation. It is an experience which has divided all these societies. The effect on post-colonial subjects living in these societies is one of trauma. It is the uncanny which must be overcome if any genuine process of reconciliation is to take place. It is argued that this can be accomplished through the gift. A post-colonial economy of giving is necessary in order to break down categories and identities which have been ascribed or constructed in order to maintain power structures. A postcolonial economy of giving which is linked inextricably to organic intellectuals and a reconceptualised sense of citizenship is one that can further processes of (re)conciliation.
Paper for presentation at the Wits History Workshop, June 1999, on truth, reconciliation and memory. Draft not to be cited without author's permission.
Reconciliation, Rwanda, Reconciliation, Australia, Reconciliation, Palestine, Genocide, Rwanda