04 April 2015

SAVE THE DATES: TRC programme, 9 April - 5 May

To mark 20 years since the first public hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on 15 April 1996, the South African History Archive, in collaboration with the Human Rights Media Centre, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Khulumani Support Group (Western Cape), the Timol Family Trust, and Constitution Hill will be hosting a series of public exhibitions, film screenings, panel discussions and workshops aimed at raising awareness around ongoing justice and accountability issues in relation to the unfinished business of the TRC.


  • SATURDAY 9 APRIL, 9:00 TO 13:00: Teaching the TRC (workshop for educators). Drawing on the SAHA publications The battle against forgetting: human rights and the unfinished business of the TRCBetween Life and Death: Stories from John Vorster Square, and the SAHA / SABC Truth Commission Special Report web portal, the aim of this workshop is to: Empower history educators to critically examine the TRC and the role it played in healing South Africa and in nation-building
    • Provide educators with a more in-depth understanding of the concepts, principles and workings of the TRC 
    • Build on educators' knowledge of the TRC through engagement with content and concept development, mastering skills of teaching, and exploring human values in order to promote a humane approach to teaching the TRC
    • Engage with a variety of different sources, including written sources, cartoons, film and witnesses' testimonies
    • Explore the moral lessons that can be learnt from the TRC process and consider the ongoing implications of the unfinished business of the TRC.

Teachers will be encouraged to deal with topics sensitively in order to develop humane and aware learners.  

  • TUESDAY 12 APRIL , 09h30 FOR 10h00 TO 13h00: Covering transitional justice issues in South Africa (workshop for media).



THURSDAY 14 APRIL, 17h30 for 18h00: On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the first public hearings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on 15 April 1996, The South African History Archive and the Human Rights Media Centre will launch two exhibitions in the Ramparts at Constitution Hill:

  • The SAHA exhibition The battle against forgetting, draws on archival collections housed at SAHA, this exhibition attempts to raise awareness of, and reflect upon the unfinished business of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the various ways in which many survivors of apartheid-era gross human rights violations still continue to struggle to overcome those social, economic or institutional abuses of rights that were partially but ultimately inadequately addressed by the TRC
  • The HMRC exhibition Breaking the silence, documents a process involving thousands of Khulumani Support Group members in the Western Cape who used scrapbooks, body-maps, photographs, memory cloths, drawings, paintings, art banners and film to tell the stories of their lives under apartheid. The purpose of the process was twofold: to give the unacknowledged heroes and survivors of the struggle against apartheid a chance to remember and express their experiences, and to create a record that might honour their sacrifices and educate future generations. Included in the exhibition are stories of survivors of the Worcester bombings by the right wing on Christmas Eve in 1996. These atrocities fell outside of the TRC’s timeframe and survivors’ need for compensation and reparation remains unmet.

Both exhibitions will be on display until Sunday 8 May 2016 in the Ramparts, and will be incorporated into a series of workshops for journalists, educators and learners. 


  • THURSDAY 21 APRIL, 17h30 for 18h00: A Snake Gives Birth to a SnakeThis documentary confronts the incredibly complex issues that surround conflict resolution, memory, and healing in communities emerging from genocide and other forms of conflict in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the Balkans.  It is also a story about a South African theatre troupe, the creation of a play, and the power and possibility of art as a way into exploring these issues.  As they ignite a dialogue among people with raw memories of atrocity, the actors find they must confront their homeland’s violent past and, in turn, their own need for healing.

    This screening will be followed by a Q&A co-hosted by the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and the High Commission of Rwanda in Pretoria. As April is the anniversary month of both the first public hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996, and the outbreak of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, this discussion will consider resonances between the two countries’ efforts to overcome the atrocities of the past, as reflected in this film. 

  • TUESDAY 3 May, 17h30 for 18h00: Indians Can't Fly is an award winning documentary that tells the story of Ahmed Timol, a 29-year-old Roodepoort teacher and anti-apartheid activist who fell from the 10th floor of the security police building in Johannesburg in 1971. A police inquest concluded that Timol committed suicide while under interrogation, but questions remain whether he may have been pushed, or tortured to death and thrown from the window. It has been suggested that the roadblock at which Timol was captured was set up specifically to trap him – which could mean his murder was pre-meditated by police. Nobody responsible for his capture and interrogation has ever been held accountable.The documentary is narrated by Timol's nephew Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee, author of Timol: Quest for JusticeThis screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the contemporary ramifications of the unfinished business of the TRC, hosted by SAHA and the Ahmed Timol Family Trust. 

  • THURSDAY 5 May, 17h30 for 18h00: We Never Give Up II.  Two documentary films produced by the Human Rights Media Centre (HMRC), We Never Give Up and We Never Give Up II, follow the stories of Khulumani Support Group members in the Western Cape, who suffered multiple atrocities during apartheid. The first film, produced in 2002, highlights the exclusion of survivors of apartheid-era gross human rights violations by the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the battle for final reparations by those included. Ten years later, We Never Give Up II, documents the continuing struggles by survivors as they campaign for comprehensive and inclusive reparations from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, and from multinationals that knowingly aided and abetted apartheid.

    This screening of the second film We Never Give Up II will be followed by a Q&A about the films and a panel discussion about the ongoing reparations battle, hosted by the documentary's producer Shirley Gunn of HRMC.