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Betrayal of Khulumani's "Born Frees"

ChildrenOn the eve of South Africa's National Youth Day, Khulumani Support Group is concerned about the babies and children of its members born into a democratic South Africa.

These babies and children ranging in age from 0 to 11 years have been betrayed. One or both of their parents are victims or survivors of apartheid gross human rights abuses and violations, and have seemingly been abandoned by their fellow South Africans.

On the eve of South Africa's National Youth Day, Khulumani Support Group is concerned about the babies and children of its members born into a democratic South Africa.

These babies and children ranging in age from 0 to 11 years have been betrayed. One or both of their parents are victims or survivors of apartheid gross human rights abuses and violations, and have seemingly been abandoned by their fellow South Africans.

In other words these babies and children were born into families that had experiences of torture, rape, indiscriminate shootings, and arbitrary detention by the apartheid security forces. Other babies and children were born into families that experienced family members being murdered or assassinated by the apartheid security forces. As a result of the devastating effects of these abusive experiences, most of these families have not been able to take advantage of the opportunities that our new democratic order has offered, with detrimental effects on their babies and children.

Some members of these families who told their grim stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), received a "final" payment of R30,000.00 in reparations, and in the process lost the right to claim civil redress from those perpetrators who were given amnesty. There is no "amnesty" from the potential effects of unresolved family trauma on our members' babies and children.

We call on all relevant roleplayers to ensure that Khulumani's Born Frees are indeed free - free from having to deal with their parents' trauma and grief; free from knowing that their parents were victims and survivors of apartheid gross human rights abuses, but that South Africa failed to ensure that their lives were rehabilitated; free from the bitterness that may develop as they become increasingly aware of the injustices faced by their parents; free from the sense of isolation that may arise from knowing that they and their parents have essentially been abandoned by society, but in particular by those who had the power to ensure that justice was done.

For the sake of the Khulumani Born Frees:

we call on government to

  • support the appeal of the Khulumani damages lawsuit (Khulumani et al vs Barclays et al) being lodged in New York
  • distinguish between this lawsuit and the "Fagan-crafted" lawsuit which could be interpreted as undermining our country's sovereignty. (The Khulumani lawsuit does not undermine our country's sovereignty, but complements the objectives of the TRC.)

we call on business to

  • not interfere with the Khulumani lawsuit
  • begin to work with Khulumani in developing a redress strategy for the benefit of the babies and children of the victims and survivors of gross human rights abuses and violations

we call on all South African citizens to

  • accept that the past is not yet past
  • look to the future, while willingly continuing to resolve past issues for the sake of all our children

As we pay tribute on June 16 to the youth who could be said to have initiated much of our new democratic dispensation, let us ensure that not only is their struggle not betrayed but that our "born frees" are not betrayed.

Issued by: Marjorie Jobson

Chairperson Khulumani Support Group

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