An analysis of the repetition of trauma across time. Is violence inevitable and repetition a compulsion?
‘The past is always present and calls us to repeat the past’ – These words from Fanon capture the repetition of violence across the African continent and speak to the pull within us human beings to repeat the past, as evident in the perpetration of violence in Congolese political regimes; Zimbabwe’s years of dictatorship rule; civil conflict in Sudan; and South Africa where we have witnessed the repetition of the past in triggering images of students attacked by armed forces in the Fees Must Fall Movement in 2017, which bore a scarring resemblance to images captured during the student uprising in 1976.
This theme questions the inevitability of the repetition of cycles of violence and the possibility of breaking these cycles needs to be answered, as the impact of the past trauma has rippled into the present and a state of anomie looms. Do we envision that the current traumas will feed into future generations and nothing can be done?