Tag Archive: Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Tutu and No_bob

 

Continuing with my share from  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ as we look at some of the messages that came out of the second day:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

General buzz in the air. Today it is a lot of testimony from other faith groups so should be interesting.

In our hunger for reconciliation maybe justice was held at bay. Economic justice. Restitution.

It’s as if, with the advent of democracy, we gave our mission and ministry to the government.

Without love, without justice, without genuine fairness, there can be no reconciliation.

 

Thulani Ndlanzi (Cong): we have promoted a non-racial community rather than a multi-racial community.

 [Thulani Ndlanzi just raised the bar with that presentation recognising so many vital local issues.]

 

Have we lost our minds? Link back to earlier devotion. Where we have grown complacent and normalized injustice.

 

 [Really enjoying Thulani Ndlanzi. Speaking it like it is. ‘it should be a given that when we drafting laws we focus on women’s rights.’]

Thulani Ndlanzi: We need to bring God back into schools. What good is it to have a good mathematician with no ethics?

Thulani Ndlanzi: What good is it to produce a great scientist who has no morals?

 

Nadine Bowers du Toit (TEASA): South Africans for the most part seem to have a love hate relationship with reconciliation.

 

Brigalia Bam (SACC): Quoting Mandela – You will need to re-interpret your theology that allowed you to accept apartheid.

Brigalia Bam quoting Mandela -Now is not the time for the churches to return to the cosiness of the sanctuary.

 

Malusi Mpumlwana (SACC): We hear more about social cohesion than we do about national reconciliation.

 

Hlengiwe Mkhize [panel]: Reconciliation is a generational issue.

 

Wow, Thandile Khona, black guy, really giving it to the Muslims in terms of black inclusion within Muslim leadership.

Thandile Khona is President of Muslim Youth Movement. Really interested to hear what Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie has to say next.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie (Sect Gen Muslim Traditional Council): We believe South Africans are waiting on the religious leaders today.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie: As a religious community we have to be critical of our govt when it comes to corruption.

 

Yasmin Sooka: We all have our internal contradictions & in religion this often relates to how do we treat those who are different.

 

 [Really interesting session listening to the muslim representatives. Some great points.]

 

Nalini Gangen (Maha Sabha) just made it clear that all Indians should not be seen through the lens of that one family. #GuptasArentUs

Nalini Gangen: Hindu marriage not being recognised. Sale of house documents for eg would reflect them as unmarried.

Nalini Gangen: How we react to what happens and is happening is based on what we have seen.

 

Reuben Shapiro from South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace. This just got political. Gaza statement happening.

Reuben Shapiro – The Jewish voice in South Africa is not homogenous.

 

Big moment of humour as Tutu goes to a mic way too high for him and does a huge jump ‘to reach it’. [TbV hysterical].

 

 Tutu recounting story of man being tortured – ‘These are God’s children & they need me to help them recover the dignity they are losing.’

Tutu: As we listen i hope we hear more than just the words. That we remember that we are surrounded by some incredible people.

 [Inspirational break as Tutu gets up and recounts some stories of some of the people in the room.]

 

The post apartheid generation. Not sure where the segregation comes from. We need to create spaces to share our stories.

 

Frank Chikane: The job is not yet finished. South Africa has a long way to go to deal with the pain of the past. Black and white pain.

 

Imam Rashied Omar – It’s not the job of the state to do forgiveness.

Rashied Omar: Bicycle theology. You stole my bicycle. Years later you are sorry. But where’s my bicycle?

[Loved that analogy – found it really helped get my mind a little more about the idea of Economic and Land Reparation that still needs to happen]

Rashied Omar: Too much co-operation with the state. But we were co-opted by the state. Don’t fly flags in the church.

 

Eddie van der Borght (Amsterdam): The urgency of this moment, the momentum, should not be lost.

 

Nico Koopman – I think one of the reasons we live so distant from each other is because we still live with stereotypes of each other.

Nico Koopman – Please notice the abnormality in the normality.

Nico Koopman – Words are important because words create worlds. But we need to move beyond words to other types of action.

Nico Koopman. Forgiveness paves the way for reconciliation, restitution and reparation. It makes us hungry for more.

 

Tutu: This is one of the maddest countries. #TellingStoriesOfInsaneForgiveness

Tutu: This thing we are talking about [TRC] was a broken instrument. But God used it.

Tutu: We should be taking off our shoes. Cos this is holy ground.

Tutu: We are a country that is meant to show the world how we are supposed to be a family of God.

Tutu just threw away his closing address and is winging it by the Spirit. #PowerfulEnd

 

And let me close with some other Tweets from some others who were there:

 

@rogersaner “Somehow we haven’t been able to translate the large religious presence in SA into justice.” –

@changeagentSA “: Nyobole: “In the past we have neglected our role in education but are reclaiming our role”

@tutulegacy The biggest beneficiaries of apartheid were the business communities.

@tutulegacy Pillay: “Unity is a gift given to us by God. We need a bigger vision. Jesus calls us to be one.” 

@rogersaner An obvious need coming out of today is for white South Africans to do some serious work to face and own the past and privilege

@digitaldion ‘Now is not the time for the Churches to retreat to the safety of the sanctuary’ Nelson Mandela comment in 1997. Still true today!

@val_c_anderson We need a different kind of theology that can underpin action – “contextual theology”. 

@val_c_anderson “There’s no such thing as apolitical religion.” ~ Dr Rashied Omar. 

 

So there you have it. Does not do what happened the last two days immense justice, but hopefully gives glimpses and some challenging ideas and concepts to reflect on and wrestle with.

A big thing that came out looking back at the original TRC is that perhaps we focused too much on Truth that we overlooked justice.

Another big idea that was said on many occasions was the need for reparation and land reform [of which fairly little has been done] to add to the reconciliation and justice that did happen.

A big failure was that the church/faith communities as a whole seemed to sit back and hope the government would take the lead on Reconciliation , whereas the Government had initially hoped that the church would pick up and continue the work of the TRC in hundreds of little TRC’s all over the country [which never really happened and quite possibly because it was not well communicated enough]

The church/faith communities as a whole has failed to be involved enough in areas of Reconciliation and has a lot of work to do. The majority of the people in South Africa would fall into some kind of faith community and so it seems to make a lot of sense that if the faith communities as a whole got serious about this stuff it should and would happen.

And more… we closed off by singing the national anthem together which was a powerful moment.

[To return to the beginning of my reflections on these two days, click here]

 

 

 

 

 

Tutu and No_bob

This is a continuation of the previous post which started giving an overview and summary of my participation in the  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ which took place this week. Here are some selected highlight moments that could be captured on The Tweeterer in 140 characters of less:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

Michael Weeder (Anglican): I have to ask, Where is God in this? And what is the work of God in this moment?

Michael Weeder (Anglican): What was abnormal then? And what of that abnormal has become normal for us today? We need to revisit.

Michael Weeder: It seems darker than yesterday. We have to drink deeply from our own wells.

: Michael Weeder: You don’t shout at people, but there comes a time when you need to. It’s time to extend this to big business.

Michael Weeder: The chains have in many ways slipped to the mind.

 

Vuyani Nyobole (methodist): We are prone to many of the sins that it is our duty to condemn.

Vuyani Nyobole: Unfinished agenda of TRC – TRC unfortunately favoured the perpetrators over the victims. Shortcoming of previous TRC

Vuyani Nyobole: We focused too much on the Truth and not enough on the Reconciliation. It was therapeutic in many ways.

Vuyani Nyobole: it wasn’t the responsibility of the government to bring reconciliation. That should have been led by faith communities.

Vuyani Nyobole: There is a responsibility on us as faith communities for critical reflection on the state of things.

Vuyani Nyobole: If there is corruption in the government, most of those people sit in our pews. It is the responsibility of the church.

 

Dion Foster (methodist): I don’t think we’re living in a post apartheid society. Law has changed. Society remains largely unchanged.

Archbishop Tutu interrupts with, “That’s why I am glad I retired when I did.” (Laughter)

 Dion Foster on Culpability: We are a large religious community in this country. But we have not translated that presence into action.

 

Yasmin Sooka (panel) The presidents fund is really huge. But 19 years later, reparations have not yet happened?

 

Kevin Dowling (catholic): Where we failed was the statements didn’t necessarily move to the conversion process. The same is true today.

Kevin Dowling: Unless the privileged community go through a conversion process that affects them personally, change has not happened.

Kevin Dowling Unless you’ve held the hand that that statistic represents, you know nothing about their story.

Kevin Dowling: a transitional justice must always begin from the story and the voices of the victims.

Kevin Dowling: Retributive justice or Restorative justice – are we going to heal or punish?

Kevin Dowling: No transformation has taken place until we see economic justice and restoration.

Kevin Dowling: Restitution. Our victims, our survivors, were sold short.

Kevin Dowling: If you want peace, you have to work for justice. But very very often peace agreements to end violence sacrifice justice.

Kevin Dowling: Who will take us forward? An empowered violated disenfranchised people. We need to be in the trenches with our people.

Kevin Dowling: We cannot anymore carry on with the perception that government must do everything. Cos government can’t do everything.

Kevin Dowling: We need to forget about appearing on TV and be in the shacks, in the trenches, in the reality of our people.

Kevin Dowling just brought up the issue of immigration which is going to “exacerbate the issue of poverty.” The govt needs to address.

 

Piet Meiring (panel) we have to remember that justice and reconciliation have to go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

Yasmin Sooka: Restorative justice and punitive justice. What about the forgotten one of Redistributive justice?

 

Jerry Pillay (Presbyterian): Gender justice is also an important need for the church to focus on. And ecojustice.

Jerry Pillay: The need of practical aspects of reconciliation has largely been swept under the carpet. Many of us just want “to move on”.

Jerry Pillay: Churches need to ask, “How do we actually revisit what we do in light of changing contexts?”

Jerry Pillay: The vision must come with a reminder that this is a biblical imperative. Jesus prayed that we should be one.

 

Yasmin Sooka: in reality, gender equality remains elusive. Violence against women has become normalized.

Piet Meiring: the importance of the twinning of Unity and Reconciliation is an important thing we must never forget.

 

Kobus Gerber (NGK) An event like this brings tears to our eyes. Just to experience what we were part of being done to the people.

 

Peter Grove (URC) Will we make progress if we just repeat what was said 17 years ago? I don’t think so…

Peter Grove: We live our lives between the tension of memory and expectation.

Peter Grove: People constantly rewrite the past and redefine the future.

Peter Grove: Before we can move to attempts to do certain things we need to ask ourselves how to be certain things.

Peter Grove: We cannot talk about the squatters camps and the townships. We need to meet our brothers and sisters there.

 

E G Fourie (NHK) My church made it very clear to me I’m here in my individual capacity.

E G Fourie: So in my individual capacity i want to say I’m sad that I’m here in my individual capacity.

 [E G Fourie just blew this whole thing open with raw rough real tear-filled-and-causing testimony. Heavy. So good.]

E G Fourie after heavy speech about some of the race struggles within his church: This is where our church is…now.

E G Fourie: Many moons ago when i was at school we had no such thing as political correctness.

E G Fourie: kids who were mentally challenged we called specials. They were put in a special class.

E G Fourie: My church when it comes to issues of reconciliation is in a slow class.

E G Fourie:Now we call it a special needs class. My church has special needs.

EG Fourie: We have a special need for forgiveness.

 [E G Fourie gets standing ovation as he breaks down and Tutu goes forward and embraces him. Real moment.]

 

Amie van Wyk: Let me explain my name. My name is Jan. My dad’s name is Jan. Our worker was Jan. The donkey’s name was Jan.

Amie van Wyk: So my mom changed my name. (Tutu in loud hysterics)

 

Daniel Andrews (AFM): We must see what is happening in society through the eyes of those who are suffering.

 

Glenda [panel]: Intergenerational trauma that adults carry that we must deal with so children don’t carry the scars on.

 

Frank Chikane (AFM) The constitution must reflect what the Lord wants us to be.

Frank Chikane: If justice calls for us to go this way we must do it, whatever the cost.

 

Tutu: God puts Himself/Herself in our hands. And we’ve messed up His reputation.

Tutu: I actually saw God smiling through the tears today. Thank you for wanting to help Me make my world a better place.

Tutu: It is up to you and you and you whether this country becomes a hell or a paradise. God doesn’t have anyone else.

 

So those are a number of the Tweets i sent out while listening on day 1 – even though you might not have been there ad even though these do not fully carry the heart of the different testimonies, there is still food for thought in here and enough to make you stop and go, ‘Wo!’ and hopefully think and reflect some more.

[To continue on to Part III and the tweets from Day 2 of the Commission, click here]

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