Chapter 6 Response

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“Hundreds of people in the audience joined in the singing. As a result the audience became both witness and a participant with the survivors…” (145).

Like a dark nighty sky, the survivors in South Africa lay silent and heavy.  Freed by the commission, one survivor raises his voice to sing of the trauma he wants to forget.  His country joins in his song and an entire nation heals together.  The survivors are no longer silent, the heavy burden of haunting memories grows lighter as everyone shares the load.  I chose this image because it is how I visualized a performance during the commission: a hundred stories exploding into the silence and creating a space for the community to join together.  Each story is different, every pain comes from a unique loss, but all are able to create beautiful pieces of expression in order to start a healing process.

“To break the shame, people must speak of the past to heal” (127).

Song played an important role in the survivors’ journeys of healing from the tragedies they experienced or witnessed.  It allowed them to tell the stories of ones they lost.  Singing gave them the strength to let the words cross their lips and the ability to connect to the audience through melody as well as verse.  Song was important for these people and their stories because it brought freedom from shame, doubt, and grief. Song is particularly unifying.  I cannot help but think of the worship service held after June 5th when SPU’s community came together in song.  Tears fell as some lips could only mouth the words since throats held lumps too large to let voices be heard, but we sang together.  Whether or not you knew the lyrics or had a voice that could sing in tune, you sang because your soul new there is healing in song and power in healing as a community.

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