How Should We Remember? Nelson Mandela’s Personal Archivist Thinks Through Historical Memory | WBEZ
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How Should We Remember? Nelson Mandela’s Personal Archivist Thinks Through Historical Memory

From 2001 until Nelson Mandela’s death, Verne Harris worked with the former South African icon and anti-apartheid activist to archive his personal materials. Today, Harris is the director of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Center for Archive and Dialogue and the archivist for the Nelson Mandela Papers. In his work, Harris explores questions of memory and the right to forget. He draws a distinction between remembering and remembrancing, arguing that people must not simply honor the past, but also dig deeply into it. Intimately familiar with both Mandela’s professional life and his personality, Harris sits down with Worldview to reflect on Mandela’s legacy, five years after the leader’s death. Harris also worked on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is former director of the South African History Archive and was project manager for Mandela’s posthumous book, Dare to Linger: The Presidential Years (2017). He is Dominican University’s 2018-2019 Follett Chair.






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