MARK GEVISSER: Ghosts, old wounds, and psychic traumas
If we are not going to be haunted by the violence of our past, we are going to need to talk about it
In It’s a Pleasure to Meet You, a 2016 video installation by the artist Sue Williamson, the curator Siyah Mgoduka is filmed in conversation with a woman named Candice Mama. Both are the children of fathers murdered by the state during the 1980s. Mama describes her intense encounter with Eugene de Kock, her father’s killer, which ended in tears and embraces. But all Mgoduka ever got from Gideon Niewoudt was when the security policeman stuck his tongue out at the then-little boy while on trial for his father’s murder.
“It becomes normal for me, the anger and the bitterness,” Mgoduka says to Candice Mama in the video, which was part of a Williamson retrospective at the Goodman Gallery in London recently. Mgoduka was a year old when Nieuwoudt set a bomb in the car carrying his father and three other policemen from Motherwell, outside Port Elizabeth, in 1989, because they had allegedly joined the ANC...