Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is Professor and Research Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University. Her previous positions are Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Cape Town, and Senior Research Professor at the University of the Free State, leading the initiative “Studies in Trauma, Memory and Forgiveness.” Her book “A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness” won the 2004 Alan Paton Award, and the Christopher Award in the United States. The book has been published seven times, including translations in Dutch, German, Italian and Korean. Her other books include “Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma” as co-author; “Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past” as co-editor; “Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition: A Global Dialogue on Historical Trauma and Memory” as editor; and “Dare We Hope: Facing Our Past to Find a New Future.”

Among her honors are an honorary doctorate of law from Holy Cross College, in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2006, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in 2007. She was honored among “100 People who Made a Difference” in the permanent exhibit of the Hall of Heroes in the National Freedom Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2005. Her dialogue initiatives and her research on empathy were recognized with the Social Change Award for “contribution made by a leading psychologist toward social transformation in South Africa.”

Gobodo-Madikizela was the 2016 Distinguished African Scholar at Cornell University. She has received various research fellowships including fellowships at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and the Claude Ake Visiting Chair in the Peace and Conflict Research Department at Uppsala University, Sweden.

This profile was last updated on November 1, 2019

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