Informit article: Truth and reconciliation commissions

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Powerful edifices built on hope.

More than a decade ago, and I am in Berlin on my winter break from university when I read the testimony of Lucas Sikwepere at the truth-commission hearings in South Africa. I imagine a large and airless courtroom in Johannesburg. The court is crowded with people. Long, thin lines of tables and chairs run across the room. Lucas sits at one of the tables. A frail man, a black man, a blind man. He has spent days listening to other victims’ stories and has then told the story of his own abuse and torture in a police cell. He was shot in the face and blinded, he had hessian sacks put over his head, he had buckets and buckets of cold water poured over his head, he had nearly been suffocated. At the end of his testimony he says to the commissioners.

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