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Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 53
|16:07||This coming week the Human Rights Violations Committee of the Truth Commission will hold its last public hearing. During the past 14 months we have become familiar with the commissioners and Committee members who listen, question and sympathize with the victims at these hearings. Their faces are familiar but who are the people behind the faces. Let’s introduce you to two Committee members from the Truth Commission’s Gauteng office.||Full Transcript|
|16:33||Joyce Seroke’s life has been driven by a passion for the cause of women. Her office is cosy, light, filled with pictures and postcards. At hearings she is relentless with detail, always voicing that last question otherwise might have gone unasked. Her activism stretches back to the fifties when she was one of a handful of female students at Fort Hare University. ||Full Transcript|
|16:58||We formed the first black women’s organisation with women like Fatima and all the women all over and it was a very powerful group, that black women’s organisation. And when we had the 1976 unrest the government panicked and decided to take all the leaders in. ||Full Transcript|
|17:25||‘On detention…’ // For the first time my mother cried when she came on Christmas day and she realized I wasn’t going to come and I felt very angry because you know the adjutant has to stand there when our visitors come and I didn’t want her to see my mother broken for the first time. She had brought us all sorts of things: a turkey, a tablecloth, flowers and some food, but everybody had brought food, but hers was so different. We came together, because the four of us now were no longer separated. And I said where on earth does my mother think we could use a tablecloth, a starched tablecloth and serviettes and all that? And then Winnie Mandela said we’re going to fight for a table.||Full Transcript|
|18:26||‘Meeting Madiba…’ // When they came in I quickly went up the stairs to wait for them and I must tell you that when an important man like this comes in my tradition you have to sing his clan praises and I didn’t know Madiba’s clan names except ‘Madiba.’ And I had to phone my mother in Johannesburg, in Soweto for her to tell me what were the other clan names and she gave me a whole list and I just said no four is enough. So, when Madiba came through the door with Bishop Tutu and his entourage, I was up the stairs and I just shouted the praise songs, ‘Madiba, Yemyem, velabam” bensele!’ And then this man looked and he went up the stairs and I came down and he just hugged me. My heart was pounding so hard.||Full Transcript|
|19:33||‘On Hearings…’ // My heart goes out for the women, because the women always come there talking about what happened to their sons, to their husbands, they hardly tell us about what has happened and yet when you probe deeper you’ll also find that they also experienced violations and some of them more terrible than some of the people they’ve come to talk about. ||Full Transcript|
|20:06||Hugh Lewin’s office gives an indication of the person, no frills for this man with his quiet, thorough, honest approach. A journalist by trade his convictions led him to prison and exile, but his opposition to apartheid started in the sixties when he joined an armed sabotage group.||Full Transcript|
|20:26||What we were involved in was as I say ‘active sabotage,’ protest sabotage, specifically not to affect people, not to affect human beings, but at the same time to show that there was opposition, that there were people who were opposing.||Full Transcript|
|20:43||‘On Interrogation…’ // I had two sort of major sets of interrogation. The first was the old statue one, draw a line and Swanepoel sat there with the various other people and said ‘Jy gaan praat’ [You will talk] and you know you stand there until you talk. And within, I think maybe it takes half a night, maybe a night, maybe a bit longer, but after that you’re finished, you’re in a completely different world, you’re in their hands. That was the first one. The second time was a fortnight after I’d been picked up, when John Harris put the bomb on the Jo’burg station and that night there was just blood at the Grays, there were no holes … they just beat the hell out of us, very badly. ||Full Transcript|
|21:26||‘On prison…’ // The experience, as I say yes it was quite a long time, but I was young and I had a much lesser sentence than other people. I mean, I had a parking ticket, seven years was ‘min,’ but it was really only inside prison, for me certainly, that the full reality of apartheid came into being because prison; and particularly for us, because we were the ‘kaffirs’ of that society, we were the blacks of the white prison… ||Full Transcript|
|22:00||‘On Hearings…’ // There’s always something that comes up, there’s always something that you don’t expect that comes up and it’s actually very difficult to keep control, because if you don’t keep control then it’s… I mean, we are not the important people; we’re merely the mediators if you like.||Full Transcript||