27 August 2015

We can't fix what we don't know: Wits seminar

On 26 August 2015, The Right to Truth team presented a seminar at the Wits Institute for Diversity Studies. The topic under discussion was "we can't fix what we don't know", and discussed South Africa's legacy of truth-telling after the TRC, as well as some of its unfinished business. In particular, the presentation looked at three TRC legacy issues: accessibility of the TRC's report and other related TRC materials; South Africa's inadequate reparations response; and the lack of post-TRC prosecutions. The recent release of the Section 29 inquiry material was used as an example of ongoing truth-recovery.

The discussion after the presentation was robust, and many interesting questions were asked. Some of the issues raised included whether truth was enough for South Africans, without concrete reparation; the role of big business in apartheid structures was also flagged, and the lack of disclosure on this issue at the TRC was seen as a missed opportunity.

A general discussion on how to re-engage South Africans with the reconciliation debate made for fruitful conversation. Other attendees were concerned about the lack of access to the TRC reports in languages other than English, which led on to a longer discussion about general accessibility of truth-seeking materials to the majority of South Africans - and how these necessary conversations should unfold, without the adequate resources in appropriate languages.

SAHA was grateful for the opportunity to talk about these important issues, in a frank and engaging forum.