search the africa institute site

Professor and South African National Research Foundation’s Research Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is the South African National Research Foundation’s Research Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma and the Director of the Centre for the Study of the Afterlife of Violence and the Reparative Quest (AVReQ) at Stellenbosch University. She has won several academic awards, which include the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award, the most prestigious academic award in Africa; the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship; a Fellowship at the Kennedy School’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University; an honorary Doctor of Theology from the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany; and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Rhodes University. Recognized with the Alan Paton Prize in South Africa and the Christopher Award in the United States, her acclaimed book A Human Being Died that Night will be reprinted as a Mariner Classic. She has also contributed to Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma as co-author, and edited Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past and Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory. Additionally, she curated History, Trauma and Shame: Engaging the Past Through Second Generation Dialogue (Routledge, 2020), a collection of essays on Jewish-German dialogue.


Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s research interest is in historical trauma and its intergenerational repercussions and exploring what the “repair” of these transgenerational effects might mean.

Selected Publications

  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. “The Afterlife of Apartheid: A Triadic Temporality of Trauma.” Social Dynamics, 49(1) (2023): 67–86. doi:10.1080/02533952.2023.2180215.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. "Remorse as an ethical encounter and the impossibility of repair." In Remorse and Criminal Justice, pp. 243-266. Routledge, 2021.
  • Wale, Kim, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, and Jeffrey Prager, eds. Post-conflict hauntings: Transforming memories of historical trauma. Springer Nature, 2020.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. "Forgiveness is ‘the wrong word’: Empathic Repair and the Potential for Human Connection in the Aftermath of Historical Trauma." In Alternative approaches in conflict resolution (2018): 111-123.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, P. (2017). Intersubjectivity and embodiment: Exploring the role of the maternal in the language of forgiveness and reconciliation. In Moral Psychology of Forgiveness, pp. 1-15. London: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. What does it mean to be human in the aftermath of historical trauma? Re-envisioning The Sunflower and why Hannah Arendt was wrong. Nordic Africa Institute, 2016.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. Breaking intergenerational cycles of repetition: A global dialogue on historical trauma and memory. Cologne and Leverkusen, Germany, Budrich Academic Press, 2016.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. "Psychoanalysis and reconciliation." The Routledge handbook of psychoanalysis in the social sciences and humanities. Routledge, 2016. 416-434.
  • Gobodo-Madikizela, Pumla. "Psychological repair: The intersubjective dialogue of remorse and forgiveness in the aftermath of gross human rights violations." Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 63, no. 6 (2015): 1085-1123.
Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Next up Fouad Makki