Macquarie University
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Imprints of memories, shadows and silences: shaping the Jewish South African story

posted on 2022-03-28, 12:24 authored by Phyllis Celia Sakinofsky
This is a non-traditional thesis which comprises a work of fiction and a dissertation. -- The novel is set in South Africa and provides an account of events that took place among three families, Jewish, Coloured and Afrikaans, over three generations. -- The dissertation is constructed in three sections. The first section describes the settlement of South Africa's Jewish community, its divergent responses to apartheid and how this is mirrored in its literary output. -- In the second section, the relationship between history and fiction since the advent of postmodernism is discussed, how there has been a demand for historical truthfulness through multiple points of view and how consequently there has been an upsurge in memories and memorials for those previously denigrated as the defeated or victims. -- Fiction has been re-valued because it is through the novel that these once-submerged stories are being told. The novel has the capacity to explore uncomfortable or silenced episodes in our history, tell important truths and record stories and losses in a meaningful and relevant way. A novel might be shaped by history but it is through the writer's insights and interpretations that messages or meanings can reach many. -- South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is an example of how the written word can expose the relationship between the re-telling of history and finding an alternate truth. By recording the many conflicting stories of its peoples, it has linked truth and literature, ensuring an indelible imprint on the country's future writing. The past cannot be changed, but how the nation deals with it in the future will be determined by language and narrative. -- The final section is self-reflexive and illustrates the symbiotic bond between the research and creative components, citing examples from the dissertation of how the two streams influenced one another.


Table of Contents

PART ONE -- Introduction -- Section One -- Early history -- The apartheid years - two realities -- Post-apartheid South Africa -- The creative response of Jews to apartheid -- Section Two -- Our relationship with the past: placing narrative in the context of history -- Rememory and representation -- Telling the truth through stories -- Section Three -- Imprints of memories, shadows and silences: shaping the Jewish South African story -- PART TWO -- Waterval: a work of fiction by Phyllis Sakinofsky


Bibliography: p. 128-138 Thesis contains the novel "Waterval" by Phyllis Sakinofsky.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Music, Media, Culture and Communication Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Doyle

Additional Supervisor 1

Willa McDonald


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Phyllis Celia Sakinofsky 2009.




South Africa


145 p

Former Identifiers

mq:6687 1352865