‘Young people fail to understand how dangerous the struggle was’

Tutu says young people do not sufficiently understands the deep suffering of those who were in the struggle.

FILE: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he understands young people today are sometimes intolerant of their elders in the struggle against apartheid but they are not sufficiently aware of just how dangerous that struggle was.

The Archbishop was reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the first human rights violations hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Tutu chaired the TRC, whose mandate was to investigate gross human right violations, from 1960 to 1994.

Mostly, human rights hearings were held in public, as were the hearings of those perpetrators who applied for amnesty - a first for any truth commission in the world.

More than 21,000 victims of human rights abuses made statements to the TRC and more than 7,000 applied for amnesty, although fewer than 900 were granted it.

Tutu says he knows that young people sometimes dismissed the negotiated transition to democracy and the TRC but do not sufficiently understands the deep suffering of those who were in the struggle.

LISTEN: TRC Podcast Series: What is the state of reconciliation in South Africa?

Click here to view History for the Future, a special feature to commemorate 20 years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.