The task of the circle is to voice their views against patriarchy and to liberate women's voices from oppression and discrimination. Thus, this article is written from my own viewpoint of the IsiXhosa religious culture, to articulate and give insights of Mrs Konile's testimony and thereby give voice to her suffering and experiences under the apartheid system as an African black woman. Given the above-mentioned unwillingness of the TRC to give voice to women's experiences under the apartheid system, the article seeks to identify and give voice to Mrs Konile's suffering and experiences under the apartheid system.
Context and circumstances of Mrs Konile's Testimony. In , they published Mrs Konile's testimony in a book arguing that when they explored Mrs Konile's words from the archives coming from the proceedings of the TRC, they discovered that from the first words Mrs Konile uttered at the human rights hearings, her words got lost in translation.
The translator failed to interpret Mrs Konile's words. From the testimony on the website, Mrs Konile began by saying 'I am Ms Khonele [ sic ] from indistinct I have three children [ … ] etc' Krog et al. In the testimony from the website which is written in English , the transcriber misspelled Mrs Konile's name and wrote 'Khonele' instead of 'Konile'. The word indicated by 'indistinct' was not known. And this part had a very negative effect on Mrs Konile's testimony. This is because indistinct was to describe the place from which Mrs Konile was from. Krog, Ratele, Mpolweni argue that when they listened to the Isixhosa version of the testimony, they realised that 'indistinct' word was 'Indwe', a village in the Eastern Cape.
And because this information was missing, Mrs Konile's audience had assumed that because the hearings were held in Cape Town, and the Gugulethu incident happened in Cape Town, and all the other three mothers who testified before her were from Cape Town, Mrs Konile was also from Cape Town. So, when they realised that Mrs Konile was from the village in the Eastern Cape, this information significantly changed the whole narrative.
Possibly, it could be argued that the name spelling of Mrs Konile's name had no implications on her testimony. However, the assumption about where Mrs Konile was coming from had huge implications in distorting facts and even hearing Mrs Konile's testimony. This will be shown in the discussions below. In her classes, we were required to acknowledge the work of the TRC and to critique its work and mandate especially with regards to national reconciliation.
As a student, I was intrigued by Mrs Konile's testimony, so I asked Krog if there is any possibility to get the audio version of Mrs Konile's testimony. She offered the original Isixhosa version of the testimony and suggested that I should search the archives for video footage. In , I decided to listen to the audio of original testimonies of the Gugulethu mothers.
Watching the video of the testimonies, I decided to retranslate the testimony of Mrs Konile, and I reviewed the testimony in the light of IsiXhosa religion and culture. Mrs Konile's testimony was deeply influenced by the Isixhosa religion and culture. Ancestors are believed to communicate through dreams. I use Isixhosa religious culture in this article, and not simple ATR, so that I can give the meaning and significance of the symbols that Mrs Konile uses in her testimony that are based within the particular Isixhosa sociocultural background.
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Mrs Konile's testimony: Scene one: Land inheritance Ukucanda. My name is Mrs Konile from eNdwe. I had four children. The three daughters are all married, and the fourth one was the one who was shot. I was living with Zabonke, my son and depended on him.
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I had no husband; my husband had passed away earlier. I had registered my son to inherit the land because women were not allowed to inherit land. After registration to inherit land, Zabonke told me he wanted to go to Cape Town to find work. Zabonke explained to me that he needs to go to Cape Town to find a job so we may be able to build when we inherit the land. The time to issue land in the village had come, on the day I was supposed to get the piece of land I was denied access to land.
It is already observed from the above discussion that the revelation of eNdwe as a place where Mrs Konile lived allows scholars to explore Mrs Konile's testimony in many other ways than focusing on what was perceived as inconsistent and incoherent. The knowledge about eNdwe gives to the reader free exploration of the text, and moreover the new knowledge demands its own ways of being comprehended. Therefore, I want to argue that Mrs Konile's testimony is logical.
If one reads carefully the first part of the testimony, one would realise that Mrs Konile answers the question posed to her by Dr Boraine see the discussion below. However, in her following the TRC's narrative, she did it with a pinch of salt that allowed her to give voice to her own suffering and experiences under the apartheid system.
Dr Boraine said to Mrs Konile:. Tell us where you come from, where you've been, and about your family before you tell us about what happened in In the first part of the sentence, Mrs Konile pronounces her name, and where she is from, 'eNdwe'. In the following sentence, she mentions all her children by numbering them. She then goes into details, 'three were daughters and now all married, and she finishes the sentences by specifying Zabonke, as the fourth child, and the only son, who was shot'.
She goes further and argues that she was living with Zabonke, and depended on him because her husband had passed away a long time ago. From this point, Mrs Konile digs deeper into where she comes from, where she has been, and about her family before saying something about as asked by Dr Boraine. Here I want to argue, Mrs Konile spoke about what Zabonke meant to her as a mother living under the apartheid system. Indeed, looking at the first three women's testimonies, the audience expected that Mrs Konile will share some sentimentality about Zabonke.
However, for Mrs Konile this was not what she had in mind, so she goes on and tells the audience that before Zabonke left for Cape Town, the villagers were going to give them a site to build. However, when the time to receive land came, I did not get the land 'all the other people's names came out, except mine'.
I want to argue that Mrs Konile connects the land issue to the fact that she was a widow, a woman, and to the fact that Zabonke who was the man she registered herself under was not around in the village to speak for her. In this overarching analysis, Mrs Konile speaks about being a woman living under the apartheid system, about the difficulties of being a widow within the culture of Isixhosa, how she was not allowed within the Isixhosa culture to inherit land because she was a woman and how she was only someone when a male figure was around.
Letsoalo writes that long before the 'basic needs' concept became fashionable in the literature of development, African women produced food, provided water and clean clothing, taught children language and healthy habits and performed certain tasks and others in their communities. Letsoalo argues that in the modern society this might be described as the disproportionate division of labour, but in traditional African society this allowed African women to have access to a quality life in the broadest sense.
She argues that this allowed African women to utilise valuable statuses and activities that constituted people's well-being and human flourishing. With the arrival of colonialism, industrialisation and the dawn of the apartheid era in South Africa, African black women in South Africa were left without any source of employment and survival. Black men had to find employment in the mines and industries. Women had to find ways to complement their husbands' migratory remittances in order for their families to survive.
Then women were to be found working in two areas: one group in the rural ancestral regions confined by apartheid legislation usually denied the right to be with their husbands, and worked in the rural farms , and others were found in what was called 'black urban areas' in the backyards of their white madams, etc. Letsoalo Moreover, Letsoalo argues that the more racist a society was, the more sexist it became. The apartheid racial policy that discriminated against black people brought about triple oppression for black women: they were discriminated against because of race, class and gender.
The more racist South Africa was, the more sexist it became. For example, in the rural periphery, black women lag far behind black men in accessing the benefits of development. Black women without education were forced to work on the white farms and in apartheid-directed Bantustan industries, and women who had access to education were limited to work as teachers and nurses. The other group of women were forced to depend on their husbands, especially those who were Christians because the woman's place was in the kitchen and to raise children at home.
This resulted in black women having to be subordinate to male figures to access development; male figures had already been practising patriarchy, which believed that culturally women cannot own land. This is where Mrs Konile finds herself as a rural black woman. Mrs Konile points out that when her son went to Cape Town, she did not receive land, while all others received their piece of land see the translated testimony above. She articulates clearly how she found herself in a system of oppression and reflects on a patriarchal phenomenon of structural relationships in hierarchies and pyramids.
Imathiu writes that 'women are known as their father's daughters when unmarried, their husband's wives when married, and are also referred to as the mother of their firstborn child after motherhood'. Likewise, the IsiXhosa culture is not different.
I argue that Mrs Konile in this first scene asserts her will to arise in the new democratic South Africa. She voices out gender injustices in her own life. She relates gender to structures and how such structures determined her will to arise as a black woman living in the village. As a woman who lived under the apartheid system, she exposes how societies marginalise and silence the voices of women from culture to the apartheid government in this case.
Mrs Konile's testimony Scene two: The dream about a goat. The retranslation is as follows:. I said to her, the one I was going with, I said, Heyi! You know what, my hearts palpitating with a strange feeling [ after having seen Pheza who lives in Cape Town, but is suddenly in Indwe ] and it persists. Last night I had a dream a bad dream.
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I dreamt that here at the door there was a goat that was standing, like this [ gesturing ], ehh standing like this [ gesturing with her hands ], and my friend laughed and said, Eyi! You really had a bad dream. Next to the tree. In the official version, the word 'dream' was missing. Only the words ' … a very scary period appeared continued, there was this-this was this goat looking up [ sic ]'.
These missing words totally confused the audience. Moreover, the audience had expected Mrs Konile to speak about the treacherous day of her son's death and to portray him as a hero of the struggle against apartheid like all the mothers who had testified before her. The other three mothers gave powerful testimonies about how they learnt through television, comrades and neighbours that the police forces murdered their sons. Mrs Konile was expected to do the same.
Remember Dr Boraine asked her ' … tell us about what happened in '. Instead of responding to this, Mrs Konile spoke about goats, made exclamations and gestures. No wonder the audience assumed she was psychologically traumatised, while others thought she was hallucinating, and others thought she was incapable of articulating herself; she was incomprehensible.
Mpolweni argues that a careful reading of the dream about the goat revealed that Mrs Konile was giving an account of how she learnt about her son's death. She articulated her own story in a way that rural traditional people do. So, to answer the question, 'how did you find out about your son's death', Mrs Konile created a dramatic story that was linked by dreams about the goat, strange feelings, gestures and exclamations, including the presence of Pheza in the village.
In the Isixhosa religious cultural background, goats are used for rituals; however, when one dreams of a goat, it is considered a bad omen. It signals that there is something that has gone totally wrong. Mrs Konile used the dream about the goat to fit her testimony to the testimonies see above 2. The other mothers dramatised their testimonies and told the TRC that they found out about their son's killings from television, from comrades and from their madams Though, Krog et al.
Mrs Konile was not, however, very successful in steering her story within this four-tiered context. She chose to tell her story in a particular cultural and metaphoric way that sat strangely among the other narratives from the mothers of the Gugulethu Seven. However, Mrs Konile is a village woman and it should have been obvious for the TRC that her storytelling would be different from the other three women from Cape Town. Her storytelling would also be different in style. Mrs Konile comes from an oral traditional background that utilises gestures, repetitions, direct speech and exclamations to get her narrative to the audience.
But how could the TRC have known this when in the testimony, the place where Mrs Konile was from was missing. This article seeks to emphasise that the narrative of 'the goat' in Mrs Konile's narrative has significance. The goat is not just an animal used for rituals in the isiXhosa religion and culture.
To dream about a goat is a loaded statement; loaded with cultural connotations. If one reads the above-translated testimony, one would realise that when Pheza arrived in the village, the dream about the goat began to gain momentum. In the isiXhosa, religious culture to dream about a goat standing near the door or inside the house is considered bad. It means either something has gone totally wrong or something is about to go wrong.
Based on the previous discussion, I want to argue that Mrs Konile tried to suggest to the TRC that she did not find out about her son's death from neighbours, employees or television. But she linked dreams about the goat, heart palpitating with a strange feeling and the arrival of Pheza in the village. She knew something had gone wrong and it was related to her children and therefore she pushed Pheza to tell her what is wrong. If we consider this, we would see that Mrs Konile still followed the TRC's narrative but in her own way of storytelling and used religious cultural symbols to tell it.
None is an outsider, all are insiders and all belong', one would expect a better reception of Mrs Konile's testimony. If, truly, the TRC embraced the 'rainbow' notion, the TRC would have realised that Mrs Konile was a mother from rural areas and was closely connected to a traditional way of life. Mrs Konile's experiences, her disposition, her orientation and her worldview exposed the weaknesses of the TRC testimony model.
Scene three: I remembered my son's feet when he was young. I was then introduced to the other mothers who lost their son's in the killing. We went to a meeting where they said that our sons were in a certain forest, when they were killed. It was said that our sons were asking for forgiveness when they were allegedly killed by the security forces members.
After the meeting, we went to the mortuary to identify our sons. My son's body was so swollen covered with blood that I could not recognize him. The only way I recognised him was with the … I remembered my son's feet when he was young. After we identified our sons we were told that we need to bury them, the 'Boers' said we must take our sons and bury them.
I did not want to bury my son in Cape Town; I asked to go home with him. They denied me this and said Zabonke had bombs with him. The comrades also said he needed to be buried where he died.
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I gave up and went home to struggle with life on my own. Mrs Konile could not pronounce words such as comrade ikhombresi , mortuary moshani , graveyard emalindeni note that in the translation above these words are translated correctly. As an uneducated woman, she used either Xhosa words to describe what she was saying or a slang used in the rural environment Mpolweni Scene 4: 'Eyi! Eyi its tough '. While I was collecting coal, a rock hit me. I was taken to hospital. At the hospital, the doctor identified me as the mother of Zabonke her son , a terrorist.
The doctor then chased me away.
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The doctor said go back under the rocks, you are not human that is where you belong. This part of the testimony Mrs Konile began by sighing heavenly six times within five rather short sentences. Moreover, when the TRC officials asked 'What would you say to the perpetrators? Eyi it's tough '. I want to suggest that in this part of the testimony, Mrs Konile completely leaves the TRC narrative structure in my own view on reconciliation and forgiveness.
This suggests that the scholars were troubled by Mrs Konile's refusal of forgiveness and reconciliation; it suggested the refusal of Ubuntu:. The Ubuntu approach to truth and reconciliation, predicted on the belief that 'I am because we are', recognises the value of dialogue as part of transitional justice efforts in post-conflict regions. This approach was evident in the testimonies of women who had experienced trauma or lost loved ones.
Their ability to forgive perpetrators was possible because of their recognition of the humanity of the perpetrator. Godobo-Madikizela Against this, this article acknowledges Mrs Konile's attitude towards reconciliation and forgiveness and the kind of Ubuntu that was being established at the TRC. My dentist. My lawyer. Truth be, told, none of their clients have any idea whether they passed their licensing exam on the first try—or the fifth. You may not have passed, but you are not a failure. David C. He is School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents and is the author of 13 books.
December 14, Every time we have a New Jersey real estate licensing class, students go through 75 hours of intense education in real estate law and practice and then they graduate from our real estate school. But sometimes, we get another message: I feel like such a failure! I failed my exam! So what do we say? Our final words.