Yesterday evening (14 January 2016) on SABC TV2, the documentary made for National Reconciliation Day 2015 was re-screened. It had previously been screened on 17 December 2015.
The film explained the role of Khulumani Support Group in continuing the struggle for all the years since the closure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to see that the TRC recommendations are fully implemented and that reconciliation in South Africa is based on justice, redress and restitution for victims of apartheid crimes.
The SABC TV team developed the concept for the film in consultation with Khulumani Support Group. Khulumani was pleased with the messaging conveyed in the film about the importance of the acknowledgement of harm done as a first step in a process of reconciling people across the perpetrator / beneficiary – victim divide.
In the documentary, Former Minister of Law and Order, Mr Adriaan Vlok publicly acknowledged on screen the terrible suffering that resulted from his involvement in a leadership position in the apartheid government. He expressed his deep regrets for the evils of apartheid in ways that few other apartheid political leaders have been able to do.
The ‘Worcester bomber’, Stefaans Coetzee explained how he had moved from a position of being the implementer of plans to harm and kill black people in South Africa to a position of working with emerging black farmers in the North West Province in development projects, after serving 19 years in jail. He explained the impact that Madiba’s book, The Long Walk to Freedom had had on his life and how he had come to realise that if he had been born black, he too would have chosen to be part of the freedom struggle in South Africa.
The film concluded with visits to the children of Mr Johannes Sweet outside Komatipoort. Mr Sweet had been detained in the 1980s on suspicion of assisting operatives to cross the border into Mozambique. He died while being tortured by members of the ‘Vlakplaas squad’. Eugene de Kock was called in after Mr Sweet’s death to dispose of the body which had been burned to ashes. The children (now young adults) spoke of how difficult their lives had been growing up without a breadwinner and how their request to meet Mr de Kock has still not been realised despite de Kock’s agreement to allow such a meeting.
Ms Shirley Gunn who had been framed as the person who had placed the bomb that had destroyed the previous Khotso House, explained how to this day she is traumatised when she sees the people who were involved in her torture.
As the 20th Anniversary of the first TRC Hearings from 15 – 18 April 1996 in the East London City Hall approaches, Khulumani commits to a programme for the delivery of the recommendations of the TRC in this significant anniversary year of the TRC.