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The Treatment of ‘Everyday Life' in Memory and Narrative of the Concentration Camps of the South African War, 1899-1902

By Helen Dampier

Abstract

This paper considers the idea of ‘everyday life’ in Boer women’s narratives of\ud the South African War concentration camps in three published collections of\ud camp testimonies. A striking feature of these collections is their absence of\ud memories about ordinary daily life in camp. The focus in women’s camp\ud narratives is largely on the brutal mistreatment of Boer women and children by\ud the British. This is part of a wider pattern evident in Boer women’s camp\ud accounts, which frequently testify to ‘identical’ incidents, share formulaic\ud narrative schemes and replicate stock phrases, thus exhibiting what Gillis has\ud called “memory work” (Gillis, 1994). The absence of the ‘everyday’ in camp\ud narratives is symptomatic of the close relationship many of these accounts had\ud with the growth of Afrikaner nationalism, particularly in the late 1930s

Topics: D204, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:4951

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Citations

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