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Inside the TRC (6/99)

The Jakaranda trees were in full bloom in late October when I arrived in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, as part of a massive media contingent covering the national event of the decade – the hand over of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final report to President Nelson Mandela. The purple flowers, like the customary garb of the TRC’s illustrious chairperson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, seemed to overwhelm everything.

Unlike most other journalists – pampered, pompous, and jockeying for position in this earth-moving event – I was tired and disoriented from a 19-hour bus ride, and still recovering from almost three years in the cauldron of the TRC Investigative Unit. Nevertheless, I was eager to see what the commission would release as the product of all our work. I didn’t really doubt that it would "do the right thing," yet I wasn’t certain exactly how the report would look when unveiled to the world. And I couldn’t forget the deep, almost soul-destroying battles which had been waged behind the scenes. read more