(About) Halfway Through the Summer

As a part of my work for the CSVR this week, I postponed my compilation of information about Rwanda to complete another task. My supervisor asked another intern and me to write out summaries for the over 40 countries included on the truth commission, truth and reconciliation commission, and reconciliation spreadsheet. The CSVR has been creating and updating parts of their website to include PDF version or readily accessible links to current truth commissions. This website is being created in an effort to create more accessible information to aid in the study of African countries. The summaries will be published on the official CSVR website to give researchers, scholars, or anyone who is interested the chance to gain a brief understanding of what the TC, TRC, or RC intended to address and how. This was a really interesting project and it gave me the opportunity to learn a bit of information about each country that I was assigned by reading through the mandate the ordered the TC, TRC, or RC and the actual TC, TRC, or RC if available. With only a few weeks left, I am looking forward to learning as much as I can before my internship ends and school begins.

At our weekly meeting, my counterparts in South Africa were discussing the increasing violence in several towns including both KwaZulu-Natal (home town of Zuma) and Johannesburg as a result of the arrest and jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma. Over 100 people had been injured and several were dead at the time they were telling us. However, as the day has progressed, these numbers have greatly increased to over 1000 jailings and at least 72 deaths. I found this Reuters article helpful with its explanations and contextualizing of the circumstances.

In addition, the COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa, like checkpoints, are back in place across the country. Luckily, vaccine roll-out has had relative success and the CSVR staff and interns are looking forward to getting their vaccines once they are eligible. They find it difficult to believe that there is debate amongst citizens in the United States about whether to get a vaccine that could save thousands of lives. One remarked that “it [the vaccine] isn’t political in South Africa” and that South Africans are anxiously waiting for access to more doses of the vaccine.