Sunday, February 1, 1998 at 20:53:28

This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood
which unites one family...

Whatever befalls the earth,
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life;
he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
he does to himself.

Ted Perry
inspired by Chief Seattle

Apartheid destroyed the web of many peoples lives. May our children learn from the mistakes of the past and may we all ask for forgiveness for not doing enough to destroy such an abhorent system sooner.

Godfrey Radloff, Durban, South Africa

Sunday, February 1, 1998 at 22:05:01

I was involved in some human relations exercises in the 1960's where I got to know some exceptional African, Indian and "Coloured" people. I was too cautious about extending the friendships outside of the context of those meetings. At my place of employent I attempted to make a difference to the relationships between white and African but again did not really stand out against their exploitation because it was a family business.

I rejoice at the friendships that have endured through the period of awful domination and now can be enjoyed with greater fullness.

The possibility of true brotherhood in Christ which was present then and can be made real now is a release of so much tension within me that I feel like a new person.

Ian John Blyth, Pietermaritzburg, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 02:18:42

To all my Fellow South Africans who suffered as a result of the enforcement of inhumane policies and laws of the regime for which I voted both in good faith and in ignorance; who used the Name of Jesus Christ as a political bargaining tool and as a source of political credibility - I apologise most humbly.

It was easier to 'pray for the Government', and believe and say: "let the people of God do what is best for this land", while I busied myself with the business of surviving a broken home and the effects of a poverty stricken childhood.

My Brothers, my Sisters, one and all, please Forgive me. While I was trying to build my life, yours was being forcefully taken from you, and all I did was say "God, give our leaders Wisdom".

I know that were our positions reversed, I would not want to forgive, and I would have to pray "Lord, I forgive, Help thou my unforgiveness". I pray that you can find it in your hearts to at least pray that prayer of which I am admittedly, undeserving.

anon, Boksburg, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 08:30:13

Peace and reconciliation is possible if we all join hands to make it possible.

Mmamajoro Phalatsi- Shilubane, Pretoria, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 08:32:37

I am deeply sorry for having done so little in the past and having turned the other way. I commit myself to all in South Africa snd pray that God will use me in building a nation founded in His love and forgiveness

Claire Saunders, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 08:57:09

Having been born in 1940, I was obviously brought up to believe that any racial group other that 'whites' were inferior, but even at an early age I was aware that 'non-whites' were treated unfairly and unjustly.

After all, every human being has their pride and feelings.

I am now very sorry that I did not join those ranks of people who fought for the rights of all South Africans in years gone by and would like to appeal to each and every person living in South Africa to do what every they can to ensure that we all live together in peace and harmony.

Let us join together to make South Africa a beautiful and peaceful nations.

Doris Gardner, Johannesburg, South Africa

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 11:59:54

As I was born in the seventies and grew up in the middle of the propaganda era, never knowing what to believe and how much we didn't know, I appreciate how important it is to find out the truth, as far as possible. Only by realising the full extent to which we were kept in the dark about what was happening in our own country, and by aknowledeging that we could all have done a little more to rid ourselves of our oppressive regime, will we ever be able to make a sane, happy country out of South Africa. I know the TRC will reach, in some way, even those who oppose it or dismiss it as another set of Nuremberg trials.

Die waarheid sal ons vry maak!

Marthali Brand, Pretoria, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 14:05:36

I am very aware of my ancestry. I descend from Krotoa whose people watched van Riebeeck come ashore in Table Bay in 1652. I descend from Swiss, Dutch and German mercenaries, soldiers of the Dutch East India Company, who came to the Cape because it offered them more opportunities for advancement than their homes in Europe ever could. I descend from Huguenot refugees who came to the Cape to escape religious persecution and social degradation in seventeenth century France. I descend from slave women, like Angela van Bengale, brought to the Cape to serve in van Riebeeck's fort, or Eva van de Caap, born at the Cape of unknown parentage towards the end of the eighteenth century. I descend from an Englishman who, following the first British occupation, settled in Cape Town in 1797.

And my ancestry has taught me, as nothing else can teach me, that our external appearance means nothing. We are all able to be good and kind and filled with love, and we are all able to be brutal and cruel and filled with hatred. I do not believe that all those who suffered discrimination under the policy of Apartheid are virtuous. I do not believe that all those who lived silently enjoying the fruits of Apartheid are evil.

Not many people are cut from heroic cloth. We allow the myth-makers to rewrite the truth of our ancestry. We allow party hacks to sit on the judicial bench. We allow psychopaths to commit murder in the name of "law and order". We betray ourselves and our country.

I was lucky. I was able to choose never to wear a uniform or carry a gun. I never voted in an election. But I confess that I took the easy road of silence. I enjoyed the fruits. It was too hard for me to raise my head and protest or to reject racist values.

I am deeply sorry about, and bitterly regret, the damage done to my fellow South Africans. I ask -- without any right to be heard -- that the new South Africa should learn from its past. However badly we were treated, I ask that we remember how we felt in our pain, and never attempt to commit similar crimes again in the names of justice and social re-engineering.

Andries William de Villiers, Cape Town, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 14:25:50

I am a black South African and regret deeply that I stood by silently when my fellow colleagues were dismissed for any excuse. Some were fired for "being too clever". Those white managers are still holding senior positions today and are enjoying the priveledges that they have always enjoyed without remorse. When I did decide to stand up and speak, I was victimised and had to resign. I cannot go back to the line of work I did because I do not have a cetificate of employment or letter of recommendation. At 40 I had to change my career. I apologise to all those who had their bread snatched away from them. Time will heal but we will never forget!!! God bless Africa and well done, TRC.

anon, Cape Town, SA

Monday, February 2, 1998 at 15:47:20

I hereby pledge my support to uplift and enrich the lives of my fellow countrymen in what ever way i can.

Kritesh Maharaj, Vanderbjlpark, South Africa