The aim of my research is to analyse oral history narratives, particularly in relation to how traumatic events in a person’s life affect the manner in which they talk about the event after the fact; the secrets and silences, and what they are willing to talk about freely. My interest lies in interrogating an incident that happened in Lesotho in 1982, where the South African Defense Force invaded the capital, Maseru, under the guise of searching for ANC operatives and succeeded in killing 42 people thirty of whom were South Africans.
I am interested in exploring memory of the invasion, via oral history, bearing in mind that the traumatic nature of the event may have a bearing on how the event is remembered. Also to be explores is the relationship of memory, trauma and history; how we think historically about attempts to process and find meaning of traumatic events. I want to look at the way in which the power brokers in a particular society/community construct the narrative and how that affects the way in which the event is recalled and told in the public domain. Additionally, the research will attempt to compare the telling of the incident to the way in which the story is constructed and told in mainstream narratives.