Lives in the Making: The Possibilities and Impossibilities of Autobiography with Reference to the Case of Amina Cachalia

  • Cynthia Kros
  • South African Historical Journal, June 2012, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02582473.2012.673132

What is it about?

This article arises from work I did with Amina Cachalia, a well known political leader in the struggles against apartheid and a close friend of Nelson Mandela, shortly before she passed away. I was excluded from the final work and it appeared as a publication without consultation with me. In the article though I reflect on some of the issues that arose in the course of my work with Cachalia around truth and presentation of self that are also discussed in the extensive secondary literature on autobiography and memoir

Why is it important?

Struggle autobiography or memoir is a growing genre in South Africa. Working on a memoir allowed me to think from a slightly different angle about issues that have long interested me about the relationship between different genres of writing about the past and history.


Dr Cynthia C Kros

Cachalia was a compelling story teller who also wanted to make sure that her memoir was credible, and in some cases was accepted as the definitive version in place of other accounts. I found the work fascinating and deeply thought-provoking.

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