Friday, December 19, 1997 at 14:51:14

As a victim of Anti-Semitism during the Apartheid era and as a white male I express my deep regret at not doing more to avoid the way of life which we had to follow.

Racism is horrific but it appears to be interpreted as a colour issue only. Those of us who experienced blatant Anti-Semitism, both socially and in the work place were too scared to voice our objections. In so doing we perpetuated the Anti-Semitism and by default perpertated crimes against humanity. In view of this ironic state of affairs, nevertheless I do ask my brothers and sisters of South Africa to forgive me for being a part of the inhumanity which was the ideal of Apartheid philosophy. God Bless this Country. shalom.

anon, Krugersdorp, SA

Friday, December 19, 1997 at 16:11:59

Total regret for having been passive in the face of such a crime against humanity---racial segregation.

Having been born in the 30's when it existed long before the word apartheid was even thought of, I was a coward, as I have been aware of the injustice ever since childhood.

Sylvia Davidson, Cape Town, SA

Saturday, December 20, 1997 at 07:44:36

How difficult to find words... I am now, almost to the day, ten years an exile from South Africa. I left at the height of the apartheid regime's crack down, January 21, 1988. As a young white man, right out of UCT, the choices were limited: stay and be conscripted, stay and fight or go to jail, or leave. It may seem that leaving was the easiest option, but I don't know if it was. I feel that I have been left behind, and that the battles I might have fought have remained un-fought, and therefore still painful, within me. As a deeply closeted gay man, too, I was frightened as much by homophobia as I was by the agony I witnessed around me. These things are connected in my mind. In conversations with myself, I plead youth and fear for not having done more... What was I to have done? Certainly, I was politically too naive to have thought it through back then; but just as certainly, I was conscious that I should have been doing something - anything - to make this stop. The deepest crime of a system of oppression, I think, is that it oppresses each single soul; it squashes love, passion, and commitment, and thrives on the particular fears it manages to instill in each creature it has damaged. It is the sum of these fears and this pain that was the horror of apartheid, the addition and multiplication of agonies that made it seem unbreakable. I remember looking at my classmates who did do things -- who attended meetings, who went underground, who disappeared -- and wondered at their courage. I was unable to find that in myself. Now, ten years later, in a new adopted home, I am in a quandry. I want to tell everyone so much: how, with the lessons I learnt in those days, I have come out, and become an activist in other causes... how not saying "no" when I should have before has made me say "no" when I see injustice now. I cannot apologize, in any meaningful way, for the things I was unable or unwilling to do ten years ago. That was another me; I hardly know him now. But I carry the pain of not having fought those battles: perhaps a privileged pain, but a pain nonetheless. And with it, I have the pain of not being part of the New South Africa, of being in another place that has become home. It is a home I love, but people here don't understand like you all do. I miss you. Reconcilliation is a hard word, because it means giving up something old and familiar, and accepting something new and strange. The hardest struggle for me, for the rest of my life, will be reconcilling my understanding of myself with the knowledge of how and where I grew up. Reconcilliation is a battle too, a fight to accept the dark bits of ourselves while avoiding guilt, self-hatred, and smallness. It will be an ongoing battle, and a hard one. And even though I am here, and you are there, it is a battle we are in together, this time.

David Valentine, New York City, USA

Saturday, December 20, 1997 at 12:40:40

I wish I had done more to speak out against human rights violations. I could not see myself going to the army and be involved in the unjust war against the people of South Africa and Namibia. I refused military service on religious grounds and did community service (1986-1990). I realised that there is much more I could have done.

I was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church (and became a member of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in 1986 and of the Uniting Reformed Church in 1994) - and hope that the DRC will acknowledge more clearly the role it played in supporting indirectly human rights violations in the past. It is only by acknowledging our past role that we will be able to play a role in the future.

I commit myself to work for a beter South Africa and I invite specifically all white Afrikaans speaking South Africans to join all South Africans in the rebuilding of a peaceful and just South Africa.

Frederik (Bobby) Nel, Vereeniging, SA

Saturday, December 20, 1997 at 17:32:56

It is our prayer that God will comfort and heal those who have suffered in silence all those years, whilst the majority of white South Africans were either ignorant or indifferent to their fate. May the Almighty grant the people of this country the wisdom and insight in their endeavour to reconcile and unite a nation in mourning.

Johann & Connie Nel, Johannesburg, SA

Sunday, December 21, 1997 at 12:58:42

How I regret the the many wrongs perpetuated in the name of a Apartheid, how we killed our country. I wish that all that hurt could go away but sadly this will take a long time. Let us hope that those who are still guilty will come clean and let those who still flaunt what is being done at the TRC get their day in court. I served in the SADF and can only be glad that there is no blood on my hands resulting from my service. Yet we still need to reconcile those former enemies, it may help those who suffered as a result.

While our past does need airing we also need to look to the future, we can learn from our mistakes but must never make them again. To my fellow South Africans who have suffered, I am deeply sorry for any wrongs that I did, forgive my errors and help us to live in peace, accepting each other for what we are.

Derek Walker, Johannesburg, SA

Sunday, December 21, 1997 at 14:33:41

We are committed to reconciliation with all people in our country

Lederle family - Nroma, Brett, Greg, Scott, Douglas, Bloemfontein, SA

Sunday, December 21, 1997 at 15:00:38

We regret not having voiced our abhorrence of the system more vehemently than we did.

Joan Smuts and family, Cape Town, SA

Sunday, December 21, 1997 at 15:28:19

I am sorry that I did not do more than I did. I also regret not having been aware of the real truth of what was happening in South Africa. I only started to ask questions of myself when my two children started to question the system - They were only 12 and 10 at the time. This made me question the system myself, which finally made me aware of the situation in 1978 only. Forgive me!

Cathy Parsons, Johannesburg, SA

Sunday, December 21, 1997 at 22:02:33

To all the people of South Africa, thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my sorrow and regret in not doing enough to stop human rights violations in my country. I am guilty and for that I am sorry. Please forgive me, all those I have ever treated with contempt or injustice. I promise to try to treat all people with fairness and equality and where I see injustice I will speak up aginast it. I promise to contribute to the positive developement of South Africa.

Thank you to you all at the TRC for being so hardworking, brave and so wise in dealing with the wounds of South Africa that so many of us are not prepared to deal with.

May God bless all South Africans and keep our country in Peace.

Lucia Maria Jardim, Stellenbosch, SA