Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Unjust forgetting? Vosloo’s just memory and Mnangagwa’s forgetting in violently ruled Zimbabwe

Collium Banda
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a8551 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.8551 | © 2023 Collium Banda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 February 2023 | Published: 13 July 2023

About the author(s)

Collium Banda, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Robert Vosloo’s theological-ethical notion of just memory, derived from Paul Ricoeur, is used to critique President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call to wounded Zimbabweans to let bygones be bygones. The question answered by the article is, in the light of Vosloo’s notion of just memory, what should Zimbabweans who have been wounded by Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front’s (ZANU-PF’s) violence do with their memories of violence? The article argues that, in cases of social injustice, remembrance, instead of forgetting, should be used to confront the unjust context. The article describes the nature of ZANU-PF’s culture of violence, and how the party uses the notion of ‘forgive and forget’ to silence the memories of people who have been wounded. After discussing how forgetting sacralises ZANU-PF’s violent patriotic history, the article describes how, in contrast, remembrance confronts the culture of violence. The article closes by describing certain aspects of a theological ethic that fosters redemptive remembrance of past wounds.

Contribution: The contribution of the article is providing a theological-ethical framework that can enable victims of state violence to use their painful memories to confront the culture of violence in Zimbabwe.


memory; remembrance; just memory; Zimbabwe; violence; forgetting; Vosloo; Mnangagwa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions


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Crossref Citations

1. Theorising Zimbabwe post-2017: a literary and imaginative perspective
Maurice Taonezvi Vambe
Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal  vol: 8  issue: 4-6  first page: 303  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1080/23802014.2023.2284388