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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 6

12:11The Truth Commission’s Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee announced this week that activists who died or disappeared during the struggle for democracy may be given symbolic reburials in the effort to further the process of healing. It is a request heard at every session of the Truth Commission: give our loved ones’ remains back so we can make peace with our loss. Hani Costa tells us more. Full Transcript
12:33To be able to say goodbye and have a place to return to, the grave as a tangible sight for mourning and a link with those who have gone forever. The act of burying is an act of closure before those that remain can go on. // I have interest in the fact that, if the Commission can succeed and make thorough investigations just to get where my husband is. Even if it is his remains, even if he was burnt to death, even if you can get his ashes, even if it is the bone belonging to his body. Because, no person can just disappear without trace. Full Transcript and References
13:32We have different phases of mourning. The most initial phase is shock, after that comes denial – no this is not happening - then we have depression, and after that we have aggression – and those two phases can inter-phase for a long time. And only then do we get to acceptance of the loss, when it’s been worked through and so on. So it’s of utmost importance for a person to continue and complete the whole mourning process. If we have a grave, if we know where our loved one is, it’s easier to go through the phases and to finish for instance the aggression, and the depression, and then come to acceptance of the loss. Whereas if you don’t know where your loved one is or what exactly happened, if you still have unfinished business … Full Transcript
14:30If you haven’t buried your loved one you always have suspicions that, I haven’t buried my loved one and if they have killed my husband, I’d like him to be brought home again, so that I can make a dignified funeral for my husband. I’d also like them to confess and state why they killed my husband and would like to know who were the perpetrators and the murderers of my husband. So, that we are able to reconcile. If we have washed our hands, we’ll be glad. We’ll reconcile because we never resurrect them, we will never make them leave again. We don’t want the disappearance to remain indefinitely. At least the truth must come. Full Transcript and References
15:22I think it’s specifically crucial in the current South African context to realise that people will experience different kinds of loss and that there might still be questions in people’s minds about what happened to their loved ones. What was the situation of the death, for example. And if that’s not completed, there will still be unfinished business, and that will hinder the person’s completing of his mourning process.Full Transcript
15:58I’d like my husband to be exhumed or be taken back from where he is so that I can bury him in a dignified manner. // I request an appeal that if the perpetrators have killed my husband they should please bring my husband’s remains so that I can bury him in a very dignified manner. I would like them to come and confess so that we can be reconciled. Full Transcript
16:35A memorial service brings conciliation but for many it can only dress the wound. For healing and for the pain to stop it is necessary to take leave of the bones and the body, to bid farewell to the only real reminder of a life that is gone. // A human being is not an animal, a beast, to be killed and your bones just lie somewhere in the open. We say we’ll hold a service somewhere. People must be accorded their dignity. And the last resting place of any human being is a place where people say, we’d like to remember here lies so and so. So, it is imperative that people should know beyond memorial services where their loved ones are. Full Transcript
17:15Tokyo Sexwale’s brother is one of those who never returned. He had to cope with never being able to know what really happened. // We are still waiting for information because originally it was sketchy but information is coming through about who may have been involved, where his last resting place may be. Whether he is resting or not is another issue. Therefore we also, my family, was quite involved, together with other families, in saying, where are our loved ones? Where can we locate their remains? Therefore the sooner we know, and appeals will be made to people who know, come forward. Not just my family. I mean, we should talk about everybody in South Africa. Whoever knows where, what, how things happened, come forward. Full Transcript
18:09The remains of a deceased person are very important to the family. People would want to know where their grave is, so that when the time comes for that family, members of that family to communicate with the dead people, the deceased, they will know where to go and stand or where to go and kneel so that they can get that feeling that they’re communicating with that person directly. They know where the remains are. Full Transcript
18:40Some people will be more able to finish their unfinished business, to get peace within themselves if they don’t have a grave, than other people. Some victims will suffer more to have that internal process completed than others. And some of them will need some facilitation to get there and to complete that process. It is possible, just because the human being has the power within himself to cope with real adverse situations. It is definitely possible for people to get there. It will be easier if they have a grave to go to and if they don’t have any unfinished business in their own minds about it. Full Transcript
19:30If a person says in a dream, I’m feeling cold, that’s a way of saying I did not get … I was not accorded the necessary decent burial which every member of a family deserves.Full Transcript
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