In the lead up to this week, I had been pretty worried. This was a big trip. I was going to a completely difference place, one I had never expected to even see. This was a place where the work I would be doing could have a real impact. But it was also a place that I didn’t really feel like I knew enough about. There is so much history here and so much pain, would I be prepared to discuss these issues? I had done some reading, but would that translate to successful work? Would I be ready for this?
This week when at the Apartheid Museum, I learned more about the travesties that occurred during this oppressive rule in South Africa. There was a very interesting part of the museum in which videos of hearings by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) were played. In these videos, I saw and heard things that were absolutely horrific. The recordings have been essentially playing over and over in my head ever since.
There was a juxtaposition that made the experience even more clear to me. Following this room, I walked down the hall way and outside into a place that decreed “FREEDOM” on the wall with inspirational music. I had a tough time with this because in my mind this was not the end. I know that the museum was not suggesting that everything was perfect now, but it made me wonder if some people felt as though everything should be fine and that everyone should move on. And then I got to thinking, how in the world has anyone moved on? People were given amnesty for crimes against the humanity of others but that does not mean that the families could move past it. Who was the “moving on” for? I understand the intention of the TRC, but was the line ever drawn? I am left with so many questions.
So after all of this, I know the answer to my earlier question: There is no way I could have been ready.