13 commissioners discuss Truth and Reconciliation Commission 20 years on

It's now 20 years since the first public hearing of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on 15 April 1996.

The TRC was a court-like body which was assembled to get the perpetrators of crimes under Apartheid take responsibility and also help the families who lost loved ones in the process get closure.

Veteran journalist, Pippa Green, sat down with 13 former TRC commissioners and looked back at the experience they had during the hearings.

The interviews comprise a podcast series called History for the Future, What we Can Learn from the TRC, and is available on the 702 and Cape Talk app as well as the websites for download.

Redi Tlhabi spoke to the series creator Pippa Green to find out more about the interviews and what motivated her to embark on this mission.

The idea was to look back so that one could look forward. To do an assessment and allow people who have been involved in the original process to evaluate where we are today.

Pippa Green, Veteran journalist

Although we have made progress, sadly there are some big gaps and there are things to be learned from the TRC from both the process and the recommendations

Pippa Green, Veteran journalist

Green says a good thing about the TRC was that, unlike the Chilean TRC, all hearings were done in public. This enabled the country's population to hear witness testimony of the hardships suffered under the apartheid regime.

She reminds us that there were no blanket amnesties granted for the perpetrators. Those who did not fully disclose their actions according to the criteria did not receive amnesty.

Speaking to Redi Thlabi, Green says the TRC brought back the forgotten moments in our history like the uprising of the Mpondo land in the 1960's.

What the commission had said afterwards was that looking at the country today, there are a lot of things they were not able to do. There's growing inequality and the recommendations on public order policing and prisons have not really been followed

Pippa Green, Veteran journalist

Redi Thlabi played clips of Archbishop Desmond Tutu from one of the TRC hearings.

She had a conversation with Yasmin Sook, Former Human Rights lawyer and TRC commissioner as well as Palesa Morudu, a young writer whose 22 year old brother Moss was part of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and disappeared in 1987.

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on 702 : 13 commissioners discuss Truth and Reconciliation Commission 20 years on


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