Dr Allan Boesak recently addressed Monash University on the search for reconciliation in South Africa. He spoke to many issues that are central to the work of Khulumani Support Group as it continues the struggle for reconciliation based on justice in South Africa.
Dr Boesak asserted that "If the moral justification of apartheid was apartheid's heresy, this (current) abuse of reconciliation is our political heresy. In this process, we have perpetrated a further, grave injustice. We have ... re-victimised the people, ... robbed them of their rightful place in history, ... dispossessed them of their pride in their heroic role in the struggle for liberation, and ... disowned the sacrifices they have made". We have trivialized their suffering, suppressed their voices, minimised their sacrifices and overlooked their 'forgiveness, magnanimity and grace' in the face of imprisonment, torture and the murder of loved ones. "This ... purposeful unremembering serves the hegemonic narrative".
Dr Boesak explained that the challenges would not disappear by themselves, or be "evaded by political escapism or moral neutrality". They would not be overcome by forgetfulness, political compromise or selective indignation, but would need to be addressed through a commitment to justice for "the poor, the weak, the marginalised, the wronged."
He concluded that ordinary South Africans, single-minded toward justice, would be able to achieve this together. "History may be written by the victor, and the past may be manipulated by the powerful; but the future is moulded by those who dream it and believe in it" and amongst those " who can help us face the past, confront it, overcome it", are the survivors of the harms of the past.
Khulumani's members are those who hold the dream of a future in which they are all meaningful and valued contributors as Khulumani continues its efforts "to realize a democratic society in which victims and survivors are recognized and valued for their contributions and draw on their experiences to serve as agents of transformation of the quality of life in the communities in which they live."