1994: A BLOODY MIRACLE- A FILMED ARCHIVE OF S.A HISTORY
By: Sbongakonke Mbatha
In celebration of 20 years of democracy, The Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) presented 1994: A bloody miracle, to Durban University of Technology students at the Arthur Smith Hall on Wednesday.
The film is a documentary about South Africa’s bloody transition to democracy- film archive of the political violence and physical battles of rival political parties during the days leading up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
Verne Harris, Director of Research and Archives for the NMF said the main aim of watching the film with students is to let the younger generation know that even the greatest freedom icons like Nelson Mandela also made bad decisions which led to the loss of innocent lives.
“Certain decisions had to be made for us to enjoy the freedom we have, even though they were detrimental to many at that time,” said Harris.
The film shows in detail how much blood was shed for South African freedom, with a series of interviews of perpetrators and victims of the National Party’s intentional bombings that served as intimidation to stop South Africans from voting.
Harris kept on emphasizing that someone must take responsibility for all the brutality and bloodshed that took place in the days leading to elections.
“Who do we blame? We cannot persecute everyone who was involved in the killings because that would mean everyone will be found guilty and that is no solution at all,” he said.
One of the victims that gave testimony on the film, Patience Pupuma, also said that responsibility must be taken because even though it has been 20 years, wounds have not healed. Pupuma said the country still has a long way to go and it is up to the current generation to make a difference.
“We still have a long way to go. The struggle continues,” said Pupuma.
She also said that little has been done to compensate families that lost their loved ones and other properties.
Harris said that change takes time.
“We have failed South Africa. Mandela led us to believe that problems can be solved quickly but unfortunately that is not the case. It takes time.
“We are looking to the current generation to liberate us from this backward way of thinking,” said Harris.