Tag Archives: TRC

Justice is fundamental in dealing with the effects of mass trauma

By Ahmed Riaz Mohamed Judge Billy Mothle concluded on 12 October 2017 in the Pretoria High Court that Ahmed Timol—who died after ‘falling’ from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square Police Station—was indeed murdered in 1971 by security branch personnel who first systematically tortured and then pushed him from the building to his death….

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The TRC as biopolitical imperative (Part 2: The ‘Tumult Commission’)

In the previous post, I mentioned that Sitze (2013) argues that the TRC had its jurisprudential origins (or precedents) in “colonial sovereignty and governmentality”. I discussed how Sitze argues that the indemnity convention originated in the theory of parliamentary (political) sovereignty of Dicey’s English constitutional law. I then discussed how the indemnity convention, as an…

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The TRC as biopolitical imperative (Part 1: Indemnity)

Now that 20 years have passed since the TRC undertook the complex task of promoting national unity and reconciliation, it is an opportune moment to reflect on its legacy. In an as yet little known book, The Impossible Machine: a genealogy of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, published in 2013, Adam Sitze targets much…

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Peace is not an event

Over the weekend I watched Particle Fever, a documentary that follows six of the 10 000 scientists who joined forces to build the Large Hadron Collider and find the so-called “god particle”. It was a long-term experiment initiated in the 1990s that was successfully completed in 2013, nearly 50 years after the existence of the particle…

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The search for truth and reconciliation in Colombia

By Stephen Buchanan-Clarke Negotiators from both sides of Latin America’s longest running war met in Havana, Cuba, recently. In an encouraging movement towards a final peace agreement, which could help bring to a close a conflict that has claimed an estimated 220 000 lives, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) have…

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The national question in South Africa

It is not easy to ignore the national question in South Africa, particularly presently, both in the context of 20 years of democracy and also given the troubling discourse by certain seemingly regressive people and or institutions. It is also hard to overlook this paramount issue of the national question when one observes the socio-economic…

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Apartheid, torture and the potential for forgiveness

By Dylan Wray George* is a history teacher. He used to be very high up in the apartheid security police in the Eastern Cape. Zolile* has always been a history teacher. As a young man, he was arrested attempting to flee South Africa to take up arms with Umkhonto weSizwe. George more than likely oversaw…

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The difficulty with De Kock

By Clare Ballard By not releasing apartheid’s most notorious assassin, De Kock, we have released all those who benefitted from his actions … — Tshepo Madlingozi On Thursday, Justice Minister Michael Masutha conveyed his decision to refuse former death squad commander Eugene de Kock’s application for parole to the public. His decision, although unsurprising, is…

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Be cruel to be cruel

It is May 1968. Raging in the streets of Paris, the (in)famous student uprisings. On the walls of the Sorbonne a slogan appears: “SOYONS CRUELS!” / “BE CRUEL!” Someone comes up to you and asks: “Have you seen this writing on the wall? What is it telling me to do?” Cruelty, by which I mean…

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When will apartheid victims be compensated?

June 26 is the anniversary of the signing of the Freedom Charter. It is also International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The Freedom Charter is an aspirational document which focuses mainly on freedoms “to” and “of”. One subclause speaks directly to freedom “from”: “The privacy of the house from police raids shall be…

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