BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Nick Childs in Johannesburg
"A spiritual quest to heal the deep scars of apartheid"
 real 56k

Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
South Africa concludes healing process
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu chaired the commission
By Nick Childs in Johannesburg

The final committee of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been dissolved.

The committee has been considering amnesty applications.


It was a remarkable experiment in trying to come to terms with, and to heal, the deep scars of apartheid

The commission was set up in 1995 in the aftermath of South Africa's first non-race elections.

It was a remarkable experiment in trying to come to terms with, and to heal, the deep scars of apartheid.

Under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it invited people on both sides to confess the excesses of the past in return for leniency, even amnesty.

It was meant to help bury the legacy of division and forge a more united future.

Heated debate

Its proceedings unveiled horrific acts of cruelty and were themselves traumatic.

But the legacy of the commission itself still provokes heated debate.

Many whites complain that it has deepened, not healed, the divisions of history.

Many blacks feel their previous oppressors have in some cases literally got away with murder.

The enduring memory of the commission is of blacks retelling their experiences but few whites, particularly those in positions of responsibility, accounting for their actions.

And most of those now seeking reparations for apartheid still have not received any.

'Two nations'

The government believes the commission has helped in the healing process, although President Thabo Mbeki himself still speaks of the country as two nations.

The commission has been suspended since it issued an initial report in 1998, which was a broad indictment of the institutions which supported apartheid.

Its amnesty committee has continued its work in hearing some 6,000 amnesty applications.

It will now consider its findings. But as it wraps up its proceedings, the commission as a whole is being reconstituted, in order to produce a final report by the end of the year.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

16 Dec 00 | Africa
Rainbow nation at risk?
26 Jan 00 | Africa
South Africa bans discrimination
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories