News / Africa

    From South Africa to South Sudan: Lessons in Forgiveness

    • Lyndi Fourie was killed in an attack in South Africa in 1993. Her mother, Ginn, has set up a foundation to promote reconciliation, with the mastermind of the attack, Letlapa Mphahlele.
    • Ginn Fourie attended a peace organizers training event in Juba, to share her experience of reconciliation in South Africa.
    • Letlapa Mphahlele, who works with a reconciliation foundation in South Africa, in Juba on April 29, 2013 to share his experience with forgiveness.
    • The Lyndi Fourie Foundation at work in Platfontein with San, the original people of southern Africa who live in isolation in today's South Africa after being ostracized for working as trackers for the Defense Forces during apartheid.
    • Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphahlele set up a foundation to further reconciliation in South Africa, named after Fourie's daughter, Lyndi, who was killed in an attack in 1993, organized by Mphahlele.
    From South Africa to South Sudan, lessons in reconciliation. Click on the image to see a slideshow.
    Anthony Mogga
    Letlapa Mphahlele is a member of parliament in South Africa. In 1993, during the country’s apartheid era, he organized an attack in Cape Town that killed 23-year-old Lyndi Fourie.

    Nine years later, Lyndi’s mother, Ginn Fourie heard an interview with Mphahlele on the radio.

    "I knew he had been dodging the public prosecutor and had not applied for amnesty (under South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation process), and so with a sense of anger and righteous indignation I took myself down to his book launch," she writes on the website of the foundation that carries her daughter's name.

    "During the event I stood up and asked him whether he was trivialising the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process by not taking part in it. To my surprise he responded in a very positive way."

    The two went on to set up the Lyndi Fourie Foundation to "further conciliation in South Africa."

    "We feel extremely privileged through discovering conciliation ourselves to extend the opportunity for others to cross the divides of race, gender and differing ideology," the foundation's website says.

    Fourie and Mphahlele have been able to forgive one another, and the same is possible for South Sudanese, Fourie told more than 200 peace mobilizers who were finishing a month of training in Juba -- one of the first tentative steps toward getting South Sudan's reconciliation process under way.

    "We in South Africa thought it was very important to capture the truth of what has happened in order for justice to be taken care of," Fourie said.

    "I believe if the peace mobilizers can demonstrate and live as if the peace has already happened, it will happen," she said, speaking with Mphahlele at the training event.

    Mphahlele said true reconciliation can only be achieved by talking honestly and openly about what has happened in the past.

    "Story-telling should be given space," he said, adding that it was essential for people to admit to their wrongdoings -- much as he did with Fourie.

    "It is quite a struggle, it is not easy," he said.

    Fourie told the peace mobilizers that reconciliation could help South Sudanese to move beyond the tribal affiliations that are often the source of conflict in the country.

    "When people feel represented and they have their voice heard, they are much more willing to do what is necessary, rather than just impose (solutions) from the top," she said.

    "You have a wonderful opportunity in South Sudan to negotiate a change and to define a way forward for yourselves," she said.

    A key step will be to ensure that everyone in South Sudan participates in reconciliation, said Mphahlele.

    That could be the toughest challenge faced by the reconciliation process in South Sudan, where, earlier this month, President Salva Kiir abruptly canceled a reconciliation conference organized by Vice President Riek Machar -- who is also seen as a rival to Kiir for the leadership of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

    South Sudan's healing and reconciliation campaign was approved in January  by the Council of Ministers and was supposed to get under way this month. 

    It was to follow the model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, where victims and perpetrators of apartheid-era injustices met and reconciled.

    Machar, who last year apologized for his role in the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Jonglei state in 1991, some eight years into the civil war in Sudan, headed a committee in charge of preparing for the launch of the reconciliation effort, until he was relieved of those duties by Kiir earlier this month.

    Last week, Kiir appointed a new committee to organize the conference, but no date has been set for the healing and reconciliation project to get under way.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora