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Khulumani gatherings to remember Human Rights violations still to be redressed

One month ago on February 18, 2006, Khulumani Support Group buried its Arts and Culture Officer, Duma Kumalo, one of its founder members. Duma was one of the ?Sharpeville Six?, sentenced to death on the principle of common purpose for the killing of Sharpeville?s Deputy Mayor in 1984 in a outpouring of rage sparked by rent increases in the township. Through the seven years of the trial and wait on death row, Duma maintained his innocence.

One month ago on February 18, 2006, Khulumani Support Group buried its Arts and Culture Officer, Duma Kumalo, one of its founder members. Duma was one of the ?Sharpeville Six?, sentenced to death on the principle of common purpose for the killing of Sharpeville?s Deputy Mayor in 1984 in a outpouring of rage sparked by rent increases in the township. Through the seven years of the trial and wait on death row, Duma maintained his innocence.

Duma's one request to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had been for a retrial so that he could clear his name. Sadly, Duma did not realise this goal in his lifetime. But he did affect the lives and outlooks of the thousands of people he reached through telling the story of being on death row in apartheid South Africa for three years.

Duma?s wrongful conviction left him with a criminal record that remained in force throughout his life. In September 2005, this criminal record once again almost prevented him from being issued with a visa to visit the United States of America to participate as a presenter, hosted by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, on a panel to explore the use of the arts to heal from the trauma of September 11, 2001.

The Department of Justice had suggested to Duma that he should apply for a presidential pardon, but Duma was not prepared to follow this advice as it required him to make an admission of guilt. On March 20, 2006, on behalf of the late Duma Kumalo, Khulumani Support Group will submit a memorandum to President Thabo Mbeki and to the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Bridgitte Mabandla, requesting them, in the interests of justice, to posthumously expunge Duma?s criminal record.

Khulumani Support Group calls on the nation to remember all the victims of apartheid-era human rights violations who, as with Duma, have not yet received redress for the wrongs done to them.

Khulumani Support Group welcomes the appointment of a TRC Unit within the Department of Justice and calls on the staff of that unit to work closely with Khulumani Support Group to redress the wrongs that were done in South Africa.

For some this is the expunging of criminal records; for others it is the pursuit of prosecutions against perpetrators who defied the TRC?s amnesty process. ?We die everyday when we meet our perpetrators who have not yet acknowledged the harm they have done?, they say.

Khulumani Support Group members call on the nation to support them in seeking the righting of human wrongs.

  • Today 18 March, the East Rand membership of Khulumani Support Group will hold a rally at the Thokoza Stadium commencing from 13:00. East Rand Contact Person: Ms Nomarussia Bonase 082 751 9903
  • In Noupoort in the Northern Cape, the newest branch of Khulumani Support Group is being launched with an expected attendance of around 500 new members. Noupoort Contact Person: Ms Louise Heugh 073 341 3823

Issued by Dr Marjorie Jobson, Acting Director, Khulumani Support Group 082 268 0223

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