South Africa Must `Unearth Truth about Dark Past': (Truth and Reconciliation) Commission Begins Hearings

Article excerpt

East London, South Africa

South Africans' attempt to come to terms with their traumatic past during the apartheid era and its psychological aftermath received a major boost last month when the first in a series of public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began in the Eastern Province city of East London.

The four-day hearings in East London were opened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of the 17-member commission which includes five leading church figures, who lit a candle in remembrance of those who died or disappeared during the anti-apartheid struggle.

The commission is investigating human rights violations committed by supporters of the former apartheid regime and by members of liberation movements during the struggle against apartheid.

"We long to put behind us all the pain and division of apartheid, together with all the violence that ravaged our communities," Archbishop Tutu said at the opening of the hearing, hoping that all those who had been injured in body or spirit may receive healing through the commission.

"Thank you, all of you around the world who have prayed and are praying for the commission's work. …