From South Africa With Love and Forgiveness: The Journey Through Violence and Back


Location: Hesburgh Center, Room C103

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela; senior research professor; University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Gobodo-Madizikela is a psychologist with expertise on trauma, forgiveness, and reconciliation. She served as coordinator of victims’ public testimonies on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and as facilitator of encounters between perpetrators and family members of victims.

Her research focuses on the process of forgiving, specifically its reparative elements in the aftermath of gross violations of human rights and mass trauma. She applies insights from the study of forgiveness in victim–perpetrator encounters and explores the psychoanalytic dimensions of empathy in the context of remorse and forgiveness. She is especially interested in the web of feelings and transformative shifts that open up in dialogue processes between former enemies.

Gobodo-Madikizela is the author of A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness, which won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa and the Christopher Award in the United States. Her other books include Narrating Our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma (as co-author), and Memory, Narrative, and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past (as co-editor).