Digging Up the Dirt

By Gurney, Kim; Johnson, Scott | Newsweek International, April 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Digging Up the Dirt


Gurney, Kim, Johnson, Scott, Newsweek International


Byline: Kim Gurney and Scott Johnson

A forensics team is tracking down South Africa's disappeared--and reopening some very cold cases.

One June day in 1986, security agents from South Africa's apartheid regime abducted 10 black teenagers from Mamelodi township, 40 miles from Johannesburg, injected them with a coma-inducing drug, and left them to burn to death in a staged vehicle explosion. The grisly fate of the "Mamelodi 10" became a poignant symbol of apartheid-era abuses, and then of South Africa's brave attempt to deal with them in a nonpunitive way: in 1999, some of the killers confessed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and were granted amnesty.

But the story didn't end there. More than a decade later, following the TRC's recommendation, the bones of those teenagers are being dug up in a thorny Winterveld cemetery north of Pretoria. "These are the unsung heroes of the struggle," says Madeleine Fullard, who is directing the team looking for the bodies. "They were not guerrillas. They were abducted, held and tortured. They died the worst kind of deaths."

Fullard is the head of South Africa's Missing Persons Task Team, set up three years ago to complete the unfinished business of the TRC: to find and exhume the hundreds of people "disappeared" at the hands of the apartheid government and whose cases were heard by the TRC. The task team aims to offer mourners the truth about their loved ones' final resting places. It has located dozens of graves over the past couple of years. And its advanced forensic work is attracting attention from elsewhere in Africa, where decades of conflict have left legions of unidentified bodies.

Within South Africa, however, the team's work is raising uncomfortable questions. After the restoration of majority rule in 1994, when the country opted to set up the TRC to deal with apartheid-era crimes, it resolved to forgo mass Nuremberg-style prosecutions. Officials and their henchmen would be granted amnesty on two key conditions: that their crimes proved politically motivated, and that they came clean about the deeds. Those who lied or failed to fully disclose their criminal involvement could still be prosecuted.

Now some of what Fullard and her team are digging up is clashing with the official TRC histories and could undermine the amnesties granted a decade ago, setting in motion new prosecutions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Digging Up the Dirt
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.