JOHANNESBURG July 23 1996 Sapa


Testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Soweto hearings on the June 1976 student uprising, Janet Goldblatt Tuesday appealed for a monument dedicated to her father, Dr Melville Edelstein, who was murdered by rioting students.

Commissioner Hlengiwe Mkhize, chairperson of the reparations and rehabiliation committee, said Goldblatt's request for a monument at the site of her father's death was a challenge for the Soweto community.

Flanked by her sister, Shana Edelstein, Goldblatt, 32, appealed for witnesses to recall her father's last words and reveal the circumstances of his death. She also wanted an answer to the question that had plagued her family, "Why Dr Edeltein?"

"He loved the people of Soweto almost like he did his own family," Goldblatt said.

She described her father, who had a doctorate in Sociology and worked for the West Rand Administration Board in an advisary capacity setting up workshops for disabled people and involved in charity work, as a man who believed all should be educated equally.

She said her father was a fantastic human being who cared deeply for those less privileged than himself.

She appealed for government to combat crime and violence telling of how her best friend's father, whom she described as her second father, was murdered a week ago.

Goldblatt described how her father had told her mother a week before his death, that he had a bad feeling about the mood of the students.

"We should make an effort to care for one another, for we are now one nation."

Goldblatt concluded that the family's wounds had never really closed, however, she felt good about testifying before the commission and sharing her story with others, who had suffered as a result of the 1976 student uprising.

South African Press Association, 1996
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