Apartheid damaged the humanity of all South Africans, black and white, said Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the recent Beyond Reconciliation Conference round table, organised at UCT.
Tutu said one of the dangers of the post-apartheid society is that South Africans did not recognise that they had been damaged by apartheid.
"Maybe we haven't got to the point of dealing with that," he said, pointing to "instances of poverty that are unacceptable, with Government ministers buying expensive cars when there are people going to bed hungry in this beautiful land".
However, in response to a question by sociologist Professor Deborah Posel, Tutu was emphatic that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he chaired, had been successful in the approach it adopted of moving the country towards healing from its apartheid past.
"If you believe in Ubuntu - that my humanity is bound up in your humanity, whether I like it or not - then I can't just stand by and cogitate. And mercifully for us, most people behave that way. It's just that these others capture the headlines." Author and former TRC journalist Antjie Krog said the world struggled to understand the philosophical underpinnings of South Africa's reconciliation process because of the "dominant post-Holocaust discourse".
"At the end of the 20th century, another way of dealing with the injustice of the past has been put on the table by the black people of this country."
She said that, by forgiving white South Africans, blacks had placed an imperative on whites to change, but whites had failed to accept this.
During the conference, Tutu received the Fetzer Prize for Love and Forgiveness, which he was awarded jointly with the Dalai Lama, for facing, over 50 years, "with great courage, a world that is weary of being in the grasp of fear and violence".
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo applauded the "hugely important vision" of the Fetzer Institute, which sponsored the conference, in "infusing back into individual lives and community life the ideas of love and forgiveness and reconciliation".
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