Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 08:24:19

I deeply regret that I did not take a more proactive stance in fighting the evil of apartheid. I could have done much more than I did, and justified my lack of action on the basis that I was "getting on with my life".

I was influenced by the propaganda of the government of the time, and accepted the censorship imposed on us all without going to the trouble of thinking about the consequences of this. This, despite the evidence of suffering all around me.

Needless to say, this could not have happened if I myself had not been desensitized and damaged by the harsh Calvinist home in which I was brought up. The lack of wisdom and compassion which was part of me, and the emotional deadness from which I suffered are staggering.

I pray that all those who have been hurt and whose lives have been destroyed by my lack of action, are more aware and compassionate than I was, and have more wisdom which may enable them to understand the circumstances which lead to my lack of action, and through doing so, find it in their hearts to forgive me.

Colin Glen, Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 08:35:41

On this Day on Reconciliation, 16 December 1997, I wish to say the following:

To my daughters, I wish to apologise for the fact that I did not do more to give you a better country than the one I inherited from my parents.

To the Nyathi family in Shluvukane, I wish to express my deepest gratitude for quietly showing me the gross stupidity of my racism.

To any South African, or southern Africa, who my have been affected in any way by my not questioning my participation in the SADF in 1973 I wish to express my deepest regret.

To any South African or southern African who may have been affected in any way by not questioning my participation in and legitimising of the politics of the Apartheid era I wish to express my deepest regrets.

To my friend and colleague Chappy Mokgalong, you may not know it, but it was you who inspired me to renounce my racism and led me to participate, in a very limited way, in the struggle. For this I thank you.

I pledge myself to fighting racism and oppression, both overt and covert, wherever and whenever I encounter it in my daily life. I pledge myself to do all I can to heal the wounds and rebuild this country so that our grandchildren will never experience the fear and hatred of the Apartheid era.

Andrew Scholtz, Pietersburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 08:43:54

I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have consciously and unconsciously caused others in our land because of racial, cultural, or religious bigotry in me.

"Oh may the Lord grant that the blessed day of universal reconciliation may soon dawn, when an immense chorus of jubilant love will rise from the one and only family of the redeemed and when they, praising the divine mercy, will sing with the Psalmist: 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity.'" - Pope John XXIII

God bless Africa!

Colin George Garvie, Durban, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 08:59:10

We wish to acknowledge to the TRC -- and ourselves -- that we failed our fellow human beings by not caring enough about their welfare on the occasions of which the general public became aware. We feel ashamed and sorry; we apologise and commit ourselves to try and do better int the future.

June & Hans Sittmann, Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 09:28:33

I believe in what the Truth Commission is doing. I express my regret and sorrow for not doing everything I could to prevent human rights abuses. I commit myself to reconciliation and to re-building this country, and to supporting our constitution and its protection of human rights.

I feel great sorrow and anger at the hurt and suffering that has taken place, and the damage that has been done in so many lives -- and still affects so many people. And I also believe that it's not too late -- yes, I could have done more in the past, could have been more courageous in opposing apartheid. I regret that I didn't. But now there is a new opportunity to commit to this country.

The challenge is still there to build respect for human rights, to help develop the country, to help make the ideals enshrined in the constitution real. I commit myself to that.

Brett Davidson, Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:10:18

I am in awe of the capacity for forgiveness. I am committed to reconciliation and to actively participating in and contributing to building a peaceful, dynamic and healthy South Africa. For being complicit through my lack of meaningful opposition, I am sorry.

Glynis Ponton, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:11:53

I hereby wish to sympathies with all the people of this country who were physically and mentally harmed over last 350 years. May this never again happen to any person of this land. If I had said any word or acted in any way that could have hurt any person in the past may you find forgivness in your heart.

God bless South Africa

Shane Leon Adams, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:13:04

I pray that as the truth about our country's past is being exposed, that the Lord will grant us all His wondeful forgiving spirit and His grace to move forward.

Denzil Abrahams, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:34:15

I'm sorry that through all the years of "knowing" what was going on, I, like many other South Africans, was too scared in the knowledge of the draconian rule of the Nationalists, to do something constructive to end the curse on our people.

Peter Davis, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:42:12

As a 53 year old white male, I first became aware of the unfair nature of South African society, when the Government declared that I was not allowed to play rugby against my Afrikaans friends who lived in the same town (Krugersdorp). We were effectively placed in separate leagues (1959). This got me thinking and speaking out about the unfair nature of people making decisions that were being forced on us.

Black and white South Africans, lived in two worlds even further apart than that being created for the privileged few. Comment at the time, brought derision from your peers and discipline from your teachers and other adults - at least my parents allowed me to pontificate on the situation without ever imposing their own views.

Throughout my life I have consistently held the view that our society was un-Christian, wrong and unfair -- it is my single biggest regret, that although vocal, I was not more "active" in making my views take a more practical form. An armchair critic cannot be vindicated if one doesn't produce change in the face of opposition! For this inactivity I am truly sorry. The opportunity was there, I had the motivation -- and in many small ways tried to address the balance -- but failed to make a significant contribution.

For all the lives lost, the opportunities missed and the intellect unfulfilled - I resolve to make a continual confession to my God of my sinful omission.

I resolve to make my time and skills available to this country for the rest of my life - to help build a better future. I resolve to understand the process of change and evolution that is required by my black brothers and sisters -- and never bear any malice when the going gets tough -- through never giving up on the dream that we have all been freed to enjoy.

In our darkest hour we always turn to God for help -- possibly we as a Nation, needed to go through this dismal part of our history to be drawn as one people to Him - the miracle has happened through His grace, let us not through inactivity allow the moment to pass.

Peter French, East London, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 10:47:57

I have been in South Africa for five years but have closely followed South African events from the perspective of both human decency and having relatives who are missionaries in various parts of Southern Africa.

My guilt is that of the wider western world; the sin of omission, we knew and ought to have exerted more pressure on our elected representatives, who should likewise have displayed a greater degree of humanity.

My real point is the total lack of contrition displayed by the Afrikaner elite, both in the military, in the body politic and commerce. They have denied, obfuscated and only admitted minimal responsibility when their backs have been nailed to the wall. There has certainly been no contrition and nor should there thus be any forgiveness; voluntary admission is one thing, dragging it out totally another. The mass of Afrikaners benefitted little from apartheid, (this is true of the white populace en masse), and it is perhaps an odd but sad aspect of apartheid how few benefitted, but equally how monstrously these few benefitted. The sad truth is that living standards have declined for ALL South Africans over the past twenty years and the ordinary whites have fallen way behind their Europe-domiciled compatriots. [Shortened]

Jon Quirk, Lonehill Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 11:25:47

No apology will bring back those that we took, we can only hope that the past will never catch up with us again.

Justin Hoy, Somerset West, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 12:37:40

It is with great regret and deep remorse, that I reflect back about my service in the National Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group ("Canaries") - 1996-1997. Being a minister now, I am ashamed to have been part of a group, linked to the Chaplain's Service, which proclaimed an unjustifiable gospel to the civilian population of South Africa at that time.

More or less like this: "Brothers and Sisters, we want to assure you that Jesus Christ is being served inn the SADF." Implied was: therefore you can send your son to the border in order to fight for this country. In reality we were fighting against our own people; which I was ignorant of at that time. However, my ignorance should not be an excuse for having participated in the ideological and theological legitimation of the apartheid security state. For my part in it: I would like to ask for forgiveness to all those who have suffered.

I want to commit myself to the proclamation to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who has the well-being of all humanity at heart. May God heal us all!

Georg Meyer Place, Kempton Park, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 12:43:36

On behalf of my family I wish to apologize to our servants for ill-treating them, especially to the family of the woman known by me as "Liesbet" (Elizabeth) who worked for us many years when we were living in the Free State (O.F.S.) She came from Lesotho and lived in a little hut outside our own property. We were living in a mining town outside of Theunissen. To this day my parents cannot tell me what happened to her when my father was transferred. I know that they would also wish to apologise for not treating her properly.

I also wish to apologise to my many "coloured" friends for not doing enough, especially during the "eighties" to help them. to educate whites and to fight for a just South Africa. I have never felt sorry for entertaining any of them in my house and can just feel pity for the Hillbrow policeman who arrested me and gave me a fine for allowing an "Indian" friend of mine from Durban to sleep over at my house in Hillbrow (1986).

As an Afrikaner I also wish to apologise to my fellow South Africans for the way our history was portrayed and taught at school, and worse for me believing some of the most outrageous ideas, especially when blacks were portrayed as heathens and blood-thirsty belligerents.

Let us all work towards establishing a peaceful nation!

Daniel du Plessis, Vredehoek, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 13:40:57

This is a message of regret for any wrongdoings which have led to suffering by the people of South Africa. Although we never supported the previous government's ruling party, and its policies, we were by omission taking part in a system which placed us in a privileged position. It is our earnest hope that the new constitution will result in South Africa becoming a model which will be the envy of the world and all mankind.

Clive and Ingrid Poplett, Sandton, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 13:47:02

Let's heal this beautiful country of ours. I'm sorry for the injustices I've done and believed throughout my life

Thabu Pienaar, White River, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 14:12:29

As a privileged white South African, I have had a heavily sealed heart against the pain of fellow South Africans for so very many years. I was not one of the brave for a very long way back in the 60s who marched in protest and became part of the underground. After only a few protests, I succumbed to the immense intimidation at the time. And my heart has carried the guilt of not having done more all these years.

Thank you for the opportunity of admitting how we feel publicly at last. It's wonderful to be able to hold my head high and say with pride that I am a South African for the first time in my life - I am 50!

Tessa Dace, Cape Town, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 14:32:28

I would like to express my deepest support for a community of South Africans who remember and can speak their past faithfully, and am committed to finding ways for us to tell our stories and see our experiences from another's pair of shoes. Using drama, art and the music of our imaginations and dreams, I believe we need to interact and dialogue to cross over and cross out the divisions of the past..

Nan Hamilton, Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 14:36:01

It is heartening to note that the TRC considers that the symbolic support of the average individual is important and will result in broad healing amongst all rather than simply the chief protagonists in the struggle.

Walter Staffetius, Johannesburg, SA

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 14:41:56

I reach out to my fellow South Africans and say I am sorry for what I did and did not do.

I fully commit myself to reconciliation, maintaining human rights and personal dignity, and supporting (and defending) our new constitution.

I also pray that together we can build a monument, celebrating the human spirit, based on mutual trust and respect.

I love you South Africa!!!

Smook van Niekerk, Sandton, SA