Truth and Lies: Stories from the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in South Africa

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9781862074460: Truth and Lies: Stories from the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in South Africa
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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to investigate more than 30 years of human rights violations under apartheid. Jillian Edelstein returned to her native South Africa to photograph the work of this committee and was present at some of the most important hearings, such as that of Winnie Mandela. Portraits are combined with accounts of the treatment suffered under the former system. The project lasted for the duration of four years and involved photographing the victims and perpetrators of crimes committed under apartheid. A record of the atrocities committed and the fight to win justice.

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About the Author:

Jillian Edelstein's photographs have been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and the Photographer's Gallery, London; in France at the International Festival, Arles and the International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, where she won the Visa d'Or in 1997; and at the Bensusan Museum, Johannesburg. Her portraits have been published in many periodicals including the New York Times Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, National Geographic and the New Yorker.

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More than three years after its report came out, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) continues to be a model for countries dealing with issues of guilt, amnesty, and forgiveness. Edelstein is a white South African photojournalist whose moving, full-page, black-and-white photographs, with brief profiles and quotes, bring readers up close to the victims, the perpetrators, and the court proceedings. As Michael Ignatieff says in his fine introduction, the portraits prevent abstraction. Sentimentality disappears. What reconciliation? A torturer poses with macho confidence, proud of himself; Edelstein wonders why he agreed to be photographed. One mother holds a handful of the hair of her son, murdered by the security police. A member of the TRC, Pumla Gobida-Madikizela, brings things into the present by discussing the role of the white bystanders to apartheid: they didn't do the killing, but they are the "beneficiaries"; she calls on them to end their silence. These are strong, disturbing images and ideas, sure to engage those concerned with apartheid history and with racism and reparations here and abroad. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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9781565847415: Truth and Lies: Stories from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa

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