20 August 2013

Women of Truth: Profiling women in the TRC.


It’s really about how to get to a point where you build a relationship which is based on the absence of fear, but which is based on a sense of accountability which comes from sharing and some sense of truth” Yasim Sooka .

Name: Yasmin Louise Sooka

Date of Birth: Unknown?

Birth Place: Johannesburg?

Education Background: Degree in law from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1978. She obtained her second law degree in 1982.

Role in the TRC: She served as the Deputy Chair of the Human Rights Violations Committee at the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1996-2001. She was appointed by the United Nations to serve on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone from 2002-04.

“For me, what the  (Truth) Commission represented for me, was that it was a chance to bring together morality and law to achieve Justice”. Yasmin Sooka. 

poster of women's stuggleposter of women in the struggleposter of women's struggle

Her achievements:    She is currently the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa. She has also chaired the government's Steering Committee of the National Forum Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances., She is also a member of the Advisory Body on the Review of Resolution 1325.

Mrs Yasim Sooka has been part of many advisory missions on Transitional Justice for the United Nations including Afghanistan, Burundi, Kenya, Nepal, and Uganda. Ms. Sooka was recently appointed by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General to the United Nations, to serve on a Panel of Experts that will advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.

We salute Yasmin Sooka for her tireless work in ensuring that Justice and Law are upheld in the efforts of healing and restoring human dignity to victims of all forms of violations and repression. 

See other posters on the women's contributions to the fight against repression. 

Visit SAHA's Online exhibition: "Women hold up half the sky" commemorating women's contribution in the struggle against Human Rights violations.

Visit the SABC/SAHA TRC Special Report programme to see Yasmin Sooka (along with 2 other commissioners) profiles.

Visit the SABC/SAHA website to see the 85 parts series of the TRC Special Report programme.

Visit the SAHA / Sunday Times Heritage Project site to learn more about Lilian Ngoyi, Cissie Gool, Bessie Head, Ingrid Jonker and others.

Visit the Voices from our Past publication page to download a radio documentary on the Women's March.


  Yasmin Sooka as cited by Bryan Mark Urbsaitis.  Wounded Healers & Reconciliation Fatigue: The Search for Social Justice & Sustainable Development in South Africa.