In the aftermath of violence and oppression, nations face the dilemma of confronting past suffering while also rebuilding and preventing future injustice. There is no formula for avoiding vengeance, soliciting forgiveness, and exacting truth and justice. However, recent history offers examples of societies that have navigated these quandaries. In the wake of apartheid in South Africa and genocide in Rwanda, both societies developed legal, political, and cultural campaigns meant to expose and record oppression and violence while attempting to restore the wounded nations. In this episode, we explore the attempts at healing South Africa and Rwanda. We focus on the pain and hope that are built into campaigns for truth, justice, and reconciliation.
Timothy Longman is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Boston University, where he serves as the Director of CURA: the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. From 2009 to 2017, he served as the Director of BU’s African Studies Center.
Free Resources and Featured Books
Coexist is a documentary film by the Upstander Project that examines the way Rwandans have attempted to heal. The film captures the perspectives of victims, perpetrators, and witnesses to the 1994 genocide.
Confronting Apartheid is a book produced by Facing History and Ourselves and the Boston University African Studies Center. It focuses on the themes of membership and belonging, resistance to and the consequences of violence, tools for civic engagement, and approaches to civic education, all while focusing on the historical case study of apartheid in South Africa.
USC Shoah Foundation Resources for Teaching about the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is an online resource guide that includes a diverse array of classroom-ready resources such as survivor testimony, multimedia activities, and informational texts.
Ghosts of Rwanda is a PBS documentary about the genocide in Rwanda. The online teacher center includes lesson plans, accompanying materials, and pedagogical guidance for teaching this history and incorporating the film into classrooms.
Witness to Apartheid: A Teaching Guide was developed by the Zinn Education Project and includes free excerpts from the 1986 Academy Award nominated documentary. The teaching guide also includes pedagogical advice for introducing the idea of apartheid in classrooms and lesson materials.
Life Under Apartheid: Teaching with Primary Sources was produced by PBS and includes a curated set of multimedia resources, including primary sources such as posters and photographs from the apartheid era in South Africa.
Thanks to Timothy Longman and Claude Kaitare for sharing your insights and expertise.
Thanks to Nico Rivers for audio editing, mixing and mastering this episode.
Photo of Timothy Longman provided by the Boston University website.