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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid