• Stories from Robben Island: A Report from a Journey of Healing— David Denborough Quick View

    A three-day gathering on Robben Island, South Africa, organised by the Institute for the Healing of Memories and the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, brought participants together from many different parts of the world to share stories and ideas about the healing of memories and ways to address histories of trauma. This paper describes some of the principles and practices of healing which shaped this meeting. It describes the structure of story-telling and reflection that occurred, and includes a number of stories, reflections and the lyrics of songs to convey the experience.

  • History Shaping the Present: from an interview with Marlene Silbert Quick View

    In this piece, Marlene Silbert, the Education Director of the Holocaust Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, describes ways of teaching history that make it relevant to the present. In particular, Marlene describes ways of engaging with Holocaust history that can enable action and healing in present day South Africa. This piece is derived from an interview. Cheryl White, David Denborough and Peter Hollams were present.

  • Ubuntu: Caring for people and community in South Africa— Elmarie Kotzé et al. Quick View


    Since the first hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in April 1996, South Africans over the next two years heard the revelations about the nation’s traumatic past. The TRC received 20,000 statements from victims, 2,000 of these were heard in public hearings (Krog 1998, p.vii). Through the TRC we came face-to-face with this country’s volatile history and began to grasp an understanding of the human cost of apartheid.

    Different options were available regarding amnesty for perpetrators who testified before the TRC. Negotiators decided against the sort of trials held at Nuremberg after WWII, and they also decided against offering a blanket amnesty. A third way, granting individuals amnesty in exchange for full disclosure of the crimes for which amnesty was sought, was a preferred way of dealing with perpetrators. This way of conditional amnesty has often been described within a framework of Christian forgiveness, but it was also consistent with ubuntu, an African worldview (Tutu 1999, p.34). In this paper, we will be describing the significance of ubuntu in our work in South Africa.

  • Our country was saved by students from an interview with Lolo Mabitsela Quick View

    This interview took place around the diningroom table at Lolo’s Guesthouse in Soweto. Cheryl White, Makungu Akinyela and David Denborough had the pleasure of staying with Lolo Mabitsela and speaking with her about her life and her career as a teacher in Soweto’s schools. Earlier in the same day, we had travelled through Soweto and visited the Hector Peterson Museum which honours the lives of those school students who were killed during the Soweto riots of 1976.

  • Reflections on a workshop in South Africa— Leonie Thomas Quick View

    In February of this year I attended a four-day workshop with Yvonne Sliep in a beautiful part of rural South Africa, the Valley of a Thousand Hills. My experience in attending the workshop and in traveling to South Africa has had far reaching effects on my life and work.

  • Guarding Mandela: Where do you come from? Who is your family? What are you studying? from an interview with Christo Brand Quick View

    Christo Brand works at the Nelson Mandela Gateway in Cape Town, South Africa. This Gateway is the starting point for daily boat tours to Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other political prisoners were imprisoned during the Apartheid regime. Christo Brand knows these histories well, for he was a prison officer on Robben Island – one of the warders directly assigned to guard Nelson Mandela. The following piece is an extract from an interview by David Denborough in which Christo Brand relates stories of his time guarding Nelson Mandela, and how the political prisoners of Robben Island turned the jail into a university. These are stories that invite us to reflect not only on what South Africa is teaching the world, but also on what a political commitment to education, teaching and learning can make possible.

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