Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 06:09:08

Deep regret for not speaking out or doing anything when I knew that people's dignity and rights were being violated. I saw it everyday and guessed much of the rest. I realise that I have no excuse and that the guilt that I have I deserve and will have to live with.

The South Africa we have now and will have for many years to come, we have created. I don't know if I or many of my fellow South Africans have the courage or self-sacrifice to correct what has resulted from our actions. I can only pray for the ability to look at myself in honesty and the courage and grace to correct what I can correct.

Elaine Bing, Pretoria, SA

Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 07:39:06

I am proud to be a South African.

I am optimistic about the future of this country.

I will play my small part in keeping this country great. I am grateful for the way things have worked out for this country since the 94 elections. I am glad that we have been able to learn from the mistakes of our past. I am glad that we have largely been able to forgive each other for the wrongs of the past. I love this country and all its people.

Johann Anton Kok, Linden, Johannesburg, SA

Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 13:48:22

I commit myself to a future that does not include the ignorance and abuse of the past. I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.

If I wait for South Africa to change before I change South Africa will never change. For South Africa to be different, each and everyone of us must take the first step inside our heart. I commit myself to taking the steps needed to build the future of my country. When I was young I didn't know, when I was older I was so scared. I didn't hurt anyone by commission - I hurt myself and my country by ommission. I want to change that in the future and I want to say sorry for a lack of courage in the past.

Jackie Storer, Cape Town, SA

Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 21:07:45

It is sad that there must be a compromise in the search for reconciliation. It is, however the only way to go.

Anon, Seattle, USA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 09:42:46

I was 9 years old when the Soweto uprising began, and oblivious.

I was 16 when I learned of the South African Communist party's existence.

I was 18 when I learned about the war in Angola against the "communist terrorists".

I was 21 when the UDF and the ANC were unbanned. Somehow I failed to make the pieces of the puzzle fit.

I was 22 when I saw "Cry Freedom" and cursed the SA Government.

I was 27 when I read "Long Walk to Freedom" and finally understood.

Today I am 30 - and I'm sorry and angry.

I am angry - that the previous generation allowed apartheid to happen and so effectively kept me in my insular world. I am angry with myself for sailing through my varsity days oblivious to what was going on. I am sorry for my complicity in allowing evil to triumph because I did nothing. In the words of George Santayana "Those who cannot remember the past are forced to repeat it".

The work of the TRC goes a long way to helping every South African continually hold the past as a road map for our future. We must never forget! I pledge myself to working for a different South Africa in the vocation I have chosen. I salute Mr Mandela for his humbling example of what it means to be reconciled with one's enemies. He is an example worthy of emulating.

Sharlene Swartz, Cape Town, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 10:15:43

I am sorry that I did not do enough.

Barbara Hutton, Cape Town, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 10:25:52

In one or another way, we were all parts of the whole that created and perpetuated the State of Apartheid. I am sorry for the opportunities I missed to say or do more to show resistance to what was s o clearly wrong. I am sorry for the unconscious deeds and thoughts that were discriminatory and unjust.

Wendy Walton, Cape Town, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 10:35:03

I am sorry for the senseless suffering of so many people, and that I did not have the courage to try and make a difference.

Megan White, Cape Town, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 12:50:39

The "truth" hurts. (It was not my making) Let "bygones be bygones", we have all committed a "sin". Let us all reconcile and turn to the future and build a bright "rainbow" nation for US all to live peacefully together.

Charles Dickens said, "Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts."

Charles Stuart Lanning, Durban, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 13:02:16

In a critique of President Mandela's ANC conference speech, Patrick Bulger of The Star wrote (18/12/97): "White South Africans have reaped all the benefits of the policy of reconciliation but in turn have offered little and sacrificed even less". What a way to put it, how succinct! As a black man who grew up in Soweto, inhaled the teargas and was sjambokked often by the SADF and men (brutes?) of De Kock's ilk, including many other horrors of racism, I remain angry and very bitter. But having observed the rancour (if not hatred) of blacks towards whites in America during my short stay as a student, I can't help but BEG.... please, please let us save SA. Although I battle to forgive my white compatriots, the need to forgive and help build our country remains another level of the struggle.... good enough reason to make me stay put here at home.......Africa.

Bereng B. Mtimkulu, Meadowlands, Johannesburg, SA