DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SPEAKS OUT ON RECONCILIATION
By: Winston Sibanda
Different organisations and activists graced Maharani Hotel’s Tugela Room on Monday as the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) hosted discussions on reconciliation twenty years into democracy.
The discussion which was based on a documentary film titled, A snake gives birth to a snake provoked emotions as some people recalled life during the apartheid era.
The film was aimed at questioning how society views the child of an enemy.
Thembi Mtshali, a local actress, said it was essential for artists to find healing before they can take to the stage. She said storytelling begins by one telling their own story and the ability to speak out is part of healing from the past. She urged people not to take lightly the role of artists in society.
Mtshali said, “As artists we are among the few people who interact with the youth and they look up to us. We have a role to lead by example as well as tell the untold stories.”
Ela Gandhi, a member of the panel, said that today South Africa has not fully healed because of lack of inequality. She said Mahatma Gandhi (her grandfather) used to say everyone had individual strengths and it is how they are used that determines how we live.
Gandhi said, “There is power within anyone to bring change, what we should know is what is it that we want to change? Once we reach that decision we will be able to live as one respectfully.”
Dr Alex Borain, vice chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), said the nation should work towards achieving a new economical social act that has the goal of reconciliation. He also acknowledged that the issue of reconciliation is a global issue, using Rwanda as a case study.
Albie Sachs, former judge of the Constitutional Court urged people to acknowledge what South Africa has grown to be.
He said the country is democratic and everyone has the right to choose their leader. He applauded the TRC for trying to achieve forgiveness within societies.
He said bitterness is destroying the country.
“The president had a point when he said we have a good story to tell, but we are close to destroying it. Let us look at corruption levels within our society and our education sector. If we strike inequality we will have a better South Africa for all,” said Sachs.
At the end of the discussion people were invited to support such initiatives so that they can be expanded to other provinces.