Krog, Country of my Skull

Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa. Random House, 1999.

Antjie Krog (pronounced Ahn-key Crow) is an Afrikaans-language poet and journalist. She was assigned to cover hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for SABC radio news. Country of My Skull recounts some of the testimony presented to the TRC as well as Krog’s commentary on the commission and on the South African past.

I have assigned three chapters from the book—not sequential selections, but rather chapters that represent Krog’s different approaches to story-telling and acknowledging individual lives. I was also intentional in selecting one chapter that explicitly reveals some of Krog’s personal emotional investment, and others that include testimony from black, white, and coloured South Africans.

Discussion questions (based on Clark & Worger and Krog)

  • What was the goal of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
  • What was the role of individual life stories in the process of the TRC?
  • Whose stories were told, and whose silenced?
  • Is Krog a neutral observer of the TRC proceedings? Why or why not?
  • Is Krog an “honest broker” in her portrayal of TRC testimony?
  • How does her choice to combine elements of her own family’s experience, her commentary and observations of the Commission’s proceedings, and raw testimony from the TRC shape the information she is able to convey to readers?