• Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Inaugural Presentation of Vice-Chancellor's Lecture Series: "Sites of Trauma, Sites of Conscience"

    Attentive Audience - "An opportunity for dialogue with public, including young thinkers with intruguing ideas and insight on issues related to historical trauma and memory"

  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Department of Peace Studies Research; Uppsala University
    Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela presenting a lecture with Emeritus Professor Irvin Staub, Peace and Conflict Studies Research Department, Uppsala University.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Vice-Chancellor's Lecture Series: "Narrating Rape during the South African War" by Emeritus Prof Ant
    Profs Lucius Botes, Helene Strauss, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Antjie Krog and Dr Buhle Zuma at Prof Krog's Lecture.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Postgraduate students 2015
    Doctoral and Master's students during a postgraduate students' research workshop with Prof Engela Pretorius as guest of honour.
  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    Empathic responses to video clips from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    Melike Fourie, Post-doctoral Fellow leading brain imaging in our multidisciplinary research on empathy. 

  • Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies
    "Forgiveness, Law and Justice, Third Annual Reconciliation Lecture 2014"

    "What is Forgiveness? What is it? Why consider it? Should it be encouraged? By law, by leaders?” - Professor Martha Minow

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Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

Prof Pumla

Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela


Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is a Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State. Since her work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), her research has focused on the reparative elements of victims-perpetrator dialogue in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence. Her current research applies the insights emerging from her study of forgiving to explore the dimensions of empathy in the context of perpetrators’ remorse and victims’ forgiveness. Her interests in relation to empathy focus on the web of feelings and the transformative shifts that open up in dialogue processes between former enemies in the aftermath of historical trauma.

After serving on the TRC, Gobodo-Madikizela spent an extended period at Harvard University as a fellow affiliated with the following programmes: the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Center for the Study of Values in Public Life, as one of the inaugural fellows at the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. During this time she wrote her award-winning book, A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness, for which she won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa, and the prestigious Christopher Award in the United States. The book has now been turned into a play (See New York Times review of the play).

Her other books include Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma, as co-author; as co-editor of Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past, and as editor of the forthcoming volume, Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory. She has delivered several endowed lectures and keynote addresses internationally, and has been a speaker at graduation ceremonies (Click here to listen to her speech at the 2013 graduation ceremony at Wits University). Her honours include: an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2006; the Eleanor Roosevelt Award, 2007; being honoured among “100 People who Made a Difference” in the Permanent Exhibit of Hall of Heroes in the National Freedom Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States, 2005; and the Social Change, awarded by Rhodes University for “contribution made by leading psychologists to social change in South Africa,” 2010. She serves as a Board Member to the following organisations: Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Healing of the Memories Institute, and as Advisor to Facing History and Ourselves.

Click here to view Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's personal page.

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