Beyond the TRC, a Long Difficult Road to Reconciliation –

The website of the Foundation for Human Rights is currently carrying an interview with Catherine Kennedy, Director of the South African History Archives, about SAHA’s work on engaging educators and learners on ‘the road beyond the TRC’ – the road that we all need to walk to complete the ‘unfinished business of the TRC’. 

As Catherine explains, there is a prevalent ‘fatigue’ with facing up to apartheid and its impacts on the people of this country. She comments about how SAHA in its educational work with teachers and learners, often hears the comment ‘I know all about that (apartheid), I don’t need to hear about it’, to illustrate the resistance among South Africans to remembering our recent past. 

The long, difficult road beyond the TRC to the resolution of the issues raised by the TRC, remains Khulumani’s core business and guides its critical work of supporting and sustaining its members towards constructing the society for which they struggled so hard. This is still a ‘work in progress’ and is work that demands that the voices of those most affected and harmed by the abuses of the past, are heard and their concerns addressed.

The poster in the interview transcription that illustrates that our society is still characterised by huge social and economic gaps, was produced by Khulumani”s National Capacity Building Coordinator, Ms Nomarussia Bonase. The gaps in the tree trunk are the result of South Africa’s ‘triple challenges’ of poverty, inequality and unemployment of some 50% of the country’s population. 

One remedy for those who suffered gross human rights violations is for government to open the TRC ‘closed list’, to embrace the 1998 TRC recommendations and to work with its critical partners on using the President’s Fund for the rehabilitation of the lives of victims and survivors, not for infrastructure renovation in the name of victims as currently proposed by the TRC Unit. Victims and survivors vehemently oppose the allocation of Reparations Funds for this purpose. 

The transcript of the interview with Catherine Kennedy is attached.

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