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21 March 2013 marked 10 years since the final report of the South African TRuth & reconciliation Commission (TRC) was presented to GOVERNMENT.

A decade later, however, South Africa seems in danger of forgetting the work of the TRC. Most South Africans have not seen the findings and recommendations of the Commission. Little has been done to build on the ideals that underpinned the TRC’s initial establishment and a persistent lack of political will and resolve to follow up on the recommendations made in the TRC Report in relation to reparations, prosecutions, ongoing truth recovery and the accessibility of the TRC archive prevails.

To mark Human Rights Month in South Africa in 2013, the South African History Archive (SAHA), in conjunction with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), launched this website on the work of the TRC, centering on the 87-part ‘Truth Commission Special Report' television series, last broadcast 15 years previously.

Previously unavailable to most South Africans, the weekly television series has now been brought out of the archives, digitised and repackaged by SAHA, in conjunction with the SABC, to make the work of the TRC more universally accessible and to support ongoing transitional justice and reconciliation work in South Africa.

All episodes of the television series have been catalogued, transcribed, indexed and linked to relevant sections of the official TRC Final Report, transcripts from TRC hearings, amnesty decisions, submissions made to the TRC  and other related resources, to form a seamless viewable and searchable resource.

This interactive tool enables users to revisit and reconsider the work of the TRC, particularly the multiple public hearings that had been intended as a mechanism for promoting national healing, the creation of new public histories, and the guarding against amnesia. To consider, 10 years after the TRC report and 15 years since the series was last broadcast, what progress has been made in the country’s difficult journey to reconciliation?

 

Extract from episode 20 of Truth Commission Special Reportoriginally broadcast in September 1996, which opens with coverage of Eugene de Kock, the notorious commander of the police death squad at Vlakplaas who was called ‘Prime Evil’ by his own colleagues, and his testimony at the TRC:

 ‘I’m not alone in my guilt, the politicians knew what we were doing and they were happy about it.  

They gave us the highest decorations this country could give. They attended parties at Vlakplaas where they congratulated us.’

 

 

 

 
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