“As Americans we have much to learn from you (South Africa) as you acknowledge, in lectures such as these, the importance of the process of reconciliation.”
This is what Dr. Beverley Tatum, president of Spelman College from the United States of America, said in a lecture titled “Reconciliation: Being in Relationship with each other” at the Second Annual Reconciliation Lecture at the University of the Free State (UFS) last night. She was referring to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that formed part of the transformation process that started in South Africa in the early 90s.
Dr. Tatum says there are a variety of definitions for the word “reconciliation”. One of the definitions is that it “causes you to accept something unpleasant”. Reconciliation is also used t settle differences.
She also says that reconciliation is helping to acknowledge the pain caused and injuries done in the past. This acknowledgement is part of a healing process. “This is perhaps most clearly evident in the work of the South African’s TRC’” she says.
Dr Beverly, who is also the author of Can We Talk About Race? And Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? , ended the lecture by emphasising how leadership is required in the path to total reconciliation.