Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela holds the South African National Research Foundation Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma, at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and is also the inaugural Director of the Centre for the Study of the Afterlife of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ). Her research interest is in historical trauma and its intergenerational repercussions and exploring what the “repair” of these transgenerational effects might mean. She has published extensively on victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations, and on forgiveness and remorse. Her books include the critically acclaimed and award-winning A Human Being Died that Night: A Story of Forgiveness. The book was transformed into an award-winning play and performed internationally including the BAM in New York City, at London’s Hampstead Theatre, and at The Fugard in Cape Town.

Gobodo-Madikizela has edited and co-edited several book volumes on the topics of historical trauma and transgenerational memory, including: Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma as co-author with Chris van der Merwe, Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past, as co-editor; Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory, as editor; Post-Conflict Hauntings: Transforming Memories of Historical Trauma, as co-editor; and an edited collection on Jewish-German dialogue, History, Trauma and Shame: Engaging the Past Through Second Generation Dialogue.

She has won prestigious awards, which include the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award, the most prestigious academic award in Africa; fellowships at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute; a Fellowship at the Kennedy School’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University; an honorary Doctor of Theology from the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany; and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rhodes University. Awards for her book A Human Being Died That Night are the Christopher Award in the United States in 2003 for “a book that affirms the highest values of the human spirit" and the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction in South Africa in 2004.