Mobilising Multidirectional Memory to Build More Resilient Communities in South Africa

This project explores how the memory of the Holocaust and the memory of the 1994 Rwandan genocide are today mobilised in post-apartheid South Africa as tools for confronting South Africa’s traumatic past and for promoting both reconciliation and greater awareness of, and commitment to, human rights in the present. The project examines the work of the South African and Holocaust Genocide Foundation (SAHGF) and specifically its explicit mobilisation of Holocaust memory to prompt debate on South Africa’s colonial and apartheid pasts and on the stark social, political and racial divides that continue to afflict the country today.

We will work closely with the SAHGF to use our research findings to evaluate and support its education programmes, its collaborations with other South African and also international heritage centres, NGOs, and development bodies, and to impact directly on its mission to promote both reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa and a more just society. More broadly, we will make a contribution to policy in relation to governmental and nongovernmental bodies promoting the development of a human rights culture in post-conflict societies. We will formulate policy recommendations for how institutions might mobilise multidirectional memory more effectively to help build more resilient communities in the present and future.

The project is led by Professor Stuart Taberner and Dr Matthew Boswell. For further information contact them at or