Date:            00/05/31

Although I live in Canada, and lead an extrememly sheltered life, as I read through the register, I want to weep. I have never, and most likely never will, experience anything as reprehensible as the apatheid. Still, when I see the forgiveness, and willing to confess past wrongs that is brought out in the TRC, I am astonished. I congratulate you all on being able to own up to your faults, and ask for or offer forgiveness. I pray that this will be a strengthening and healing experience for you all. God bless.

Rachel, Canada.

Date:            00/06/06

First of all I want to express my deep gratitude to all the people who have made not only this site, but indeed the Truth and Reconcilliation possible.  My husband and I came to the US two years ago.  We are students here.  It has been these past two years that have truly opened my eyes to South Africa and the facts of my country's history.

I am 27 years old and am lucky enough to say that I never voted for the Apartheid government but that is only a very small consolation because I have to face the fact that had I been born earlier, I might have very well supported the government.

I regret so much that at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee I was still so ignorant and prejudiced that I blocked the whole thing out.  I never gave it a second thought.  If only I knew then what I know now, I could have attended meetings in person and at least show that as a white person I was involved.  But I wasn't.

Since coming to America, I have for the first time in my life forged relationships with black people.  Only here did I realize that indeed, there is nothing to be scared of.  Only here have I started trying to come to terms of what it means for me to be a white South African.

I am very emotional about this issue, and crying even as I type these words.  I want the world so very much to be a place of goodness and light.  It hurts me so much to read about what white people have done to people of colour everywhere in the world.  I struggle to find reasons to be proud of being who I am.  I am overcome when I hear that people can forgive.  I still see so much prejudice in myself and I hate it when I see it.

I have come to think that prejudice hurts both ways.  It hurts the person who is dehumanized and then it dehumanizes the person who is prejudiced.  In South Africa, as a child, I learned not to look black people in the eye.  Not looking someone in the eye is a refusal to recognize them as human and equal.

I wish I could reach every single person who has been a victim of Apartheid (in a sense we all are) and tell them that I am sorry for all the hurt.  I wish I could make it better.  I wish I could heal all of us once and for all.  I am so thankful that it ended.  To the white people I would want to say, read Antjie Krog's book, Country of My Skull and Bishop Tutu's book "No Future Without Forgiveness".  I believed for 25 years of my life that Bishop Tutu was evil because that was what I was told.  I believed it.  Now I realize that he is truly a man of God.  I am so thankful that he is South African. 

I know that I must return to South Africa because no other place will ever be home.  I know from family and friends that it is hard to live with the constant threat of crime, but the TRC has made me aware of how many millions of people lived most vulnerably with a much starker reality for so many many years.  I am grateful that I can add my voice to this movement.  All the world's darkness cannot put out the light of a single candle.

Lara Pienaar, Cleveland, OHIO

Date:            00/06/07

As a medical journalist who worked in South Africa for many years, I still deeply regret that I was not much, much more forceful in trying to get some of my stories published overseas whenever they were (so frequently) rejected by my editors due to the censorship laws under apartheid. I also apologize for my profound lack of courage to intervene in some specific events involving clear human rights violations during my work in South Africa.I do however have great faith in this present process of peace and reconciliation and pray each day that all the people of this country I love so much will find a clear, democratic and peaceful way forward.

Adriana Johanna Stuijt, Europe

Date:            00/06/27

In some senses I feel a bit of fraud signing this register, living as I do thousands of miles away, never having visited your country (something I hope to soon rectify) and also because I was only in my early years of secondary school when Nelson Mandela was released. These coincidences of birth mean that I personally have nothing to apologise for in any direct sense.
Although my parents and teachers instilled in me a deep and lasting sense of the evils of apartheid, at the time my opposition to that odious regime was limited to producing a school project on Nelson Mandela around the time of his release and, I seem to remember, convincing my parents to briefly become members of the ANC!

Even so, I still feel a curious need to say something and offer some sort of apology. Perhaps this stems from the feeling that 'There but for the grace of God go I'. Had I been older and living in South Africa, although I would like to think that I would have had the courage to speak out against the apartheid regime, the reality is that I very probably wouldn't. The old saying rings very true - 'All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing'. I am sure that there were better people than I too afraid to speak out.

Those connected to the TRC and those who have signed this register have my utmost respect. I am now a teacher of Religious Education in a Roman Catholic school and today
delivered a lesson to some Year 12 pupils (17 year olds) on the theme of reconciliation. For this lesson, I decided to explore with the pupils the rationale of the TRC particularly as regards the granting of Amnesty to those guilty of attrocities during the apartheid era.

The pupils were astonished to discover that so few conditions needed to be satisfied in order for Amnesty to be granted and when presented with some case studies were very much opposed to the idea that people guilty of abducting and murdering members of liberation movements during the apartheid era could walk away free men and women, provided that the Commission were satisfied that thier offence was politically motivated and that they had disclosed all relevant facts.

This idea does not sit easily with traditional concepts of justice and fairness, yet herein lies the true greatness of the TRC. I feel that it aims at something much greater than the satisfaction of an (imperfect) human understanding of 'justice' - it aims at reconciliation and redemption, recognising both the need to move on and also the fact that 'God's ways are not our ways'. It is to the credit of all involved with the TRC that they, many of whom bore the brunt of the evil that was apartheid, can find it within themselves to forgive - all the more so when I contrast this attitude with the indignation of my all-white, middle class group of pupils today at what they perceived as undeserved redemption for those who they believed to be beyond saving!

This isn't a criticism of the pupils - I expected such an incredulous reaction and my main concern was that I could never do the TRC full 'justice' (that word again!). Hopefully they did go away with some awareness of the power and beauty of the work that the TRC does and will remeber that 'To err is human; to forgive, divine'.

I will keep you all in my prayers.

Corin Willis, Liverpool, England

Date:            00/07/12

God, please continue to bless South Africa!


Melvin O. McCoy, Jr., Baltimore, Maryland


Date:            00/09/09

I was born in Johannesburg in 1946 and grew up under apartheid.  As a White, I received a good education at school and at Wits.  I was active in the anti-apartheid movement at Wits 1964-66.  I have lived in Melbourne since 1974, and was active in the anti-apartheid movement here.  In a small way, by pressuring the Australian Government to adopt both sports boycotts and economic sanctions, and to push for a negotiated settlement, we helped to achieve the eventual end of apartheid; and we celebrated 11 Feb.1990, and the electon of April 1994, here in Melbourne.  Now I teach the history of South Africa under apartheid to Australian students, who are attracted in great numbers to learning about the apartheid society and its eventual demise - the relevance to Australia's need to reach a proper reconciliation with its indigenous population is obvious.  The TRC has been a great achievement - far from perfect and clearly flawed, but still very necessary and of immense benefit for the future of SA. 

Dr David Philips, Melbourne,Australia

Date:            00/09/14

 As I read many of the messages writen by many different people, I've realized that I, as a white person, have been given multiple opportunities to live and live a free life. I want to take this time to appologize to all those who
felt rejected, used and abused based upon their race or gender.

Natalie  Desilets, Canada

Date:            00/09/15

For many years, I have been anxiously peering through the window of study, reading, and travel to catch the glimpses of South Africa.  I know I will never be a part of South Africa,but South Africa will always be a part of me.  It is for that reason that I write to express my respect for so many of you.  I am forever moved by the way love and hope prevail over hate and despair in South Africa.  Many Africans and Afrikaners have faced their fears and have had the courage to stand up and be counted on the side of hope.  Please know that you make me proud to be a part of the same species, and I hope that I would exhibit the same humanity in similar circumstances.  You are beacons of strenth to many others and examples to all.    

And to the families and friends of the people who died as a result of an environment of hate and mistrust, I send my most humble condolences.

Melody Redford, Calgary, Canada

Date:            00/09/30

Me and my class did a project on the TRC, and it was one of the best projects that I have ever done. We each had to take a case and review and research it. I have never had as much fun and learned as much in one assignment. I think that the TRC was a very good thing because it gave closure to the families of the victims. I am part black and do not understand what racism is. I have grown up in the U.S. in the 90's and can not imagine what it must have been like for the blacks during this time. I say that the TRC gives closure to the families, but again I have to say that I have never experienced what it is like to lose a loved one in such a tragic way before and therefore I can not say that it gives complete closure to the families. The one thing that I believe is that some sort of justice should be served in these cases. Some people in my class mentioned that forgiveness is not always what the families are looking for. Some of the families said in the reports that I read said that they wanted to see the killer

I thank you for letting me grace your presence and write my feelings and thoughts of the TRC. My heart goes to all the families that lost a family member, friend, or relative during this sickening part of South African history.

Bob Egan, San Mateo, California, United States

Date:            00/09/30

I learned about the TRC in school.  The process was a real eye-opener.  What people went through and what others did was amazing.  The way people were so brutally murdered and how their family members can look their loved one's killer in the eyes and say, "I forgive you" and mean it.

This was an extrodinary commission.  Risking traditional justice for the truth and reconcilliation is a risk that takes much courage and strength.  I hope other nations can use your counrty as an example to help with their problems.

Cindy Steiger, California, USA

Date:            00/10/02

I am 14 years old and we have been studying South Africa and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in my English and History classes.  We recently reenacted the amnesty hearings, each student arguing for or against amnesty for one of four applicants.  This simulation really made me think about South Africa's past, present, and future.  It was wonderful to study such an interesting and complex nation, and to see the steps that are being taken to have a peaceful future among all South Africans.  I applaud the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the message that it is sending to the rest of the world: it is possible for a previously divided nation to become united through the efforts of the people.

Becca Abeles, San Mateo, California, USA

Date:            00/10/03

I am a highschool student who has researched the TRC and must put my thoughts into a short summary....As the good man once said, Life is short and should be lived to the fullest.  We all must relish life and forgive to let hard feelings be released.  God bless us all!

Tony Catalli, San Mateo/USA

Date:            00/10/04

The marvellous work of the TRC is nowhere better demonstrated than in the pages of this register.  White South Africans of all ages have had to confront the crimes committed in their name by apartheid's agents, and remarkably perhaps, what we have seen here is a seemingly genuine remorse and willingness to look for a new future with their black countrymen.

Having been to South Africa I realise that racial tensions remain in your beautiful country.  The TRC has however made a vital beginning on the path to social harmony.

Ian Cooper, Cardiff, UK

Date:            00/10/08

I wanted to thank you, South Africa, for having been the one who made the whole world opening its eyes.
My father went to South Africa in the 80s and was naive enough to believe all the things that Whites were saying. So that, when he came back to France he gave me wrong informations. I was a child at this time and did not really react to what he was saying but it must have had a great impact on me since I'm now doing research on South Africa and the TRC.
I commit myself in fighting against any discrimination and any unfair action.
Thank you for being who you are.
I will never forget what you did.

Anne Simon, Nantes, France