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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs