In December 2010, the South African History Archive (SAHA) celebrated the 60th International Human Rights Day at the Ramparts at Constitution Hill, with the launch of the Truth Commission Special Report Multimedia Product, a joint project between SAHA and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). To mark fifteen years since the TRC came into operation, this unique resource was launched in December 2010, and will be made available to South African university libraries and non-profit organisations working in the transitional justice field in early 2011. Please note that only one copy will be available per institution.
> Learn more about the Truth Commission Special Report Multimedia Product.
The launch was accompanied by an exhibition of SAHA archival material related to the TRC, developed with the support of Trace. SAHA's Director, Catherine Kennedy, welcomed the audience gathered at the Ramparts, which represented a wide range of SAHA's friends and supporters: journalists, activists, education specialists, heritage practitioners, and particularly, the large number of the East Rand Khulumani Support Group who arrived en masse.
Advocate Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza, who serves as the Chair of SAHA's Board of Trustees, and also served as one of the TRC Commissioners spoke frankly about the relative shortcomings of the TRC, its work, and its vision. SABC's Group Executive: News and Current Affairs, Phillip Molefe, spoke on behalf of the public broadcaster, who had screened the show weekly for two years, providing South Africans with insight into the dark, often disturbing, heritage of apartheid. Speaking on behalf of the Khulumani Support Group, Noma-russia Bonase inspired the audience with the unwavering call from victims to receive recognition and material compensation from those responsible. Michal Singer, who contributed to the development of the product, particularly in updating the victims' database sourced from the TRC Final Report, provided a brief demonstration of the product.
The development of this product was made possible through the generous financial support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies. The launch was a momentous occasion, enabling SAHA to fulfil its core mandate: bringing South Africa's hidden history out of the archive, using the past to inform ongoing struggles for justice, reparations - and, especially, the struggle against forgetting.
The Battle Against Forgetting
The launch of the product was accompanied by an exhibition, The Battle against Forgetting, developed with the support of Trace. The artful display incorporated a range of SAHA archives, mounted and illuminated within the appropriate milieu of the Ramparts. The display highlighted the ongoing relevance of the TRC: copies of original TRC posters in the SAHA Poster Collection (AL2446), cartoons from the Zapiro TRC Cartoon Collection (AL3129), a range of news clippings, declassified material from the Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) Project (AL2878) and a centre piece display of artwork emerging from art and memory workshops conducted by SAHA with the East Rand Khulumani Support Group, archived in SAHA's Ephemera Collection (AL2540).
The exhibition will be displayed at the Ramparts at Constitution Hill from 9 December 2010 until 31 March 2011.
Learn more about SAHA's exhibitions.
SAHA Collections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
SAHA remains committed to advancing justice and accountability in South Africa, and this is reflected in its large body of archival materials relating to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Many of these collections came to be housed at SAHA through The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Archives Project, a joint archival project undertaken by SAHA and Historical Papers at Wits between 2003 - 2006.
> Learn more about SAHA's collections on the TRC.
For information on other archives housing materials relating to the South African TRC, please consult the TRC Archival Audit Report.