Unfinished Lives: The Biographies of Nokuthula Simelane
Abrahams, Brent Nicholas
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Nokuthula Simelane, born near Bethal in Mpumalanga, joined the ANC's armed-wing uMKhonto we Sizwe (MK) as a courier while studying at the University of Swaziland in the early 1980s. In 1983 she set out on a mission to South Africa on the pretext of purchasing clothing for her up-coming graduation. Simelane was however abducted, and has since not been heard from nor has her body been found. Her disappearance was one of those examined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa. These are some facts about Simelane. This thesis seeks to explore how Simelane's biographies manifest themselves across multiple genres and in so doing determine their similarities and differences, with a view to understanding the difficulties of producing the biography of a missing person. The genres of biography I examine relation to Simelane are: the TRC's Amnesty Committee (AC) hearings, the Human Rights Violations Committee (HRVC) hearing, their transcripts and the TRC reports; a documentary film called Betrayal directed by Mark Kaplan; and a statue of Simelane located in Bethal sculpted by Ruhan Janse van Vuuren.