Tutu to lead consultation on Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University (SU), in collaboration with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, present a two day consultation on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says SU Communication and Liaison in a media release.

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu will lead the discussion on the presentations of the various faith communities at the TRC hearing, as well as how they envisage their role in reconciliation in the present and future of South Africa.

The discussion will be held in the “Hofmeyrsaal” in Church Street in Stellenbosch on Wednesday October 8 (09h00 – 17h00) and Thursday October 9 (09h00 – 16h00). The hall has limited seating and a RSVP is essential.

“At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Communities’ Hearing in 1997 the various Christian churches as well as other faith communities in South Africa made presentations on their role in the history of our country, as well as on their commitment to the future. In the spirit of 20 years of democracy, the faith communities are invited back to discuss their role in reconciling South Africa today,” explains Prof Christo Thesnaar of the SU Faculty of Theology.

The aims of the “hearing” are:

  • To put the process of reconciliation back on the main agenda of all faith communities in South Africa;
  • To make a significant contribution to reconciliation and national unity in the current South African context;
  • To contribute to the development of responsible and realistic reconciliation strategies for the faith communities, and offer practical suggestions on how to address the challenges of reconciliation and nation building in our land.

The TRC re-enactment will be chaired by Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, assisted by members of the TRC.

Day 1 and the morning of Day 2 will consist of contributions from those faith community leaders who gave witness before the TRC during the faith hearings in 1997, followed by contributions on reconciliation by the current faith community leaders. A number of churches who were absent at the 1997 event, are also invited to contribute to the programme.

The afternoon session of Day 2 will consist of contributions by local and international participants, while the last session of Day 2 will focus on proposals for the way forward.

Christian faith communities doing presentations include the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Catholic Church, Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church), Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika, Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika, The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, Baptist Union of Southern Africa and TEASA.

The Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish communities will also be doing presentations.

The two day programme will be concluded by a discussion by Dr Frank Chikane with some closing comments by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Interested people should liaise with Prof Christo Thesnaar, cell: 084 573 4322, e-mail cht@sun.ac.za or Helette van der Westhuizen, cell: 072 547 9464, e-mail hvdwest@sun.ac.za for more information or phone 021 808 9560 during office hours. Limited parking is available on the premises of the Faculty of Theology, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.

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