Nomonde Calata, widow of assassinated anti-apartheid activist Fort Calata, will today reflect on her appearance at South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission 22 years ago, in conversation with former TRC commissioner, Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.
Calata was among the first witnesses to appear at the TRC, in its first week of public hearings in April 1996. Her wail of anguish as she described the police killing of her husband and three colleagues – referred to in death as the Cradock Four – reduced the East London City Hall to a flood of tears and powerfully symbolised the traumatic journey on which the country was embarking to examine its past.
Her conversation with Professor Gobodo-Madikizela at 3.45pm today is part of the programme of a global conference taking place at Stellenbosch University, titled: Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation – The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma. The event is taking place at the university’s Theology Department.
Over the past two days, conference delegates have been examining the impacts of slavery, colonialism, racism, genocide and apartheid on the descendants of both victims and perpetrators around the world. Across the world, from Australia to Greenland to the US and Rwanda, descendants of historical trauma are raising their voices for reparation, reconciliation and justice.
Today’s programme kicks off with a keynote lecture by Professor Michael Rothberg of UCLA, titled: The Implicated Subject: Rethinking Political Responsibility (8.45am), followed by a series of discussions under the theme, Black, White and Coloured South Africans in Dialogue.
Following Calata’s conversation, Professor Achille Mbembe of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research will present a keynote address.
Tomorrow, the conference concludes with a special event honouring Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, which – 20 years after the TRC’s submission of its final report to government – will be attended by a number of former commissioners.
This communiqué was distributed for the conference committee by Oryx Media.