Week Eight: Balancing Work and Play

For a fair portion of my time this summer, I have worked tirelessly on the TRC amnesty hearing project. The TRC was divided into two groups: the amnesty hearings and the victim reparation hearings. One unfortunate shortcoming of this process was that individuals who were identified as “victims” in the amnesty hearings, were not automatically given “victim status” for the purpose of receiving reparations. What this meant was that a significant portion of individuals who were considered “victims” for the purpose of an individual seeking amnesty, were never given their deserved reparations.

Khulumani has been compiling evidence for a law suit against the government for many of its failures in the TRC hearings.  My job has been to identify these individuals and compile a list of those who were left out of the process.  While this sounds fairly straightforward, it has not been an easy task. It has required me to read through hundreds of old court cases to find the names of those who were killed, tortured, or assaulted and compare those names with the reparation victims list. Thus far, I have found close to a hundred names, and I am not even halfway through the hearings. I am going to try and finish as much as I can before my time here in S. Africa ends.  

Reading through some of the horrible crimes committed during the apartheid can be emotionally draining at times, which is why I make sure to take advantage of my free time and enjoy this beautiful country.  I have been able to travel quite a bit these last few weekends and have done some really interesting things. I went to the Cradle of Human Kind, hike/crawled through the Sterkfontein caves, went to a Rugby game, hiked through the Melville Koppies, went horseback riding in the countryside, saw the Pretoria Botanical gardens, and finally went on a Safari! Will be adding pictures soon!