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Film at Mariposa delves into South Africa’s past

  • Courtesy Photo—


Friday, June 08, 2018 2:38PM

In connection with the Mariposa Museum’s current exhibit, “Conscience of the Human Spirit:  The Life of Nelson Mandela,” the Mariposa will sponsor a screening of the film “Long Night’s Journey into Day” at the Peterborough Community Theater on Monday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m., with short discussion led by the Rev. Jamie Hamilton of All Saints’ Church following the film.

The film provides an inside look at South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission through four cases heard by the commission, including the only case involving an American citizen. Rev. Hamilton has traveled to South Africa a number of times to work with the Rev. Dr. Gideon Khabela, who served as Chaplain to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission beginning in 1993.

In the aftermath of the dismantling of Apartheid, South Africa’s decision to focus on Restorative Justice over Retributive Justice allowed the full truth of the atrocities committed to be exposed because amnesty was granted to the perpetrators. An entire nation searched for a way to heal from its violent past by telling and hearing the truth through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s proceedings. As Commission Chaplain Rev. Khabela once said, “This process is revealing the Soul of South Africa. What is the Soul of your country?”

While in seminary in 1983, the Rev. Jamie Hamilton (now Rector of All Saints’ Church in Peterborough) met the Rev. Dr. Gideon Khabela, a Presbyterian minister from South Africa, and they became close friends. Rev. Khabela returned to South Africa to work with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and was named Chaplain to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1993. Rev. Hamilton has made numerous trips to South Africa, working with Rev. Khabela in the village churches of Kwa Zulu Natal.

Said Rev. Hamilton, “As we observe the South Africans’ process of healing the injustices of racism, our gaze can easily turn to our own struggle with institutionalized forms of racism in this country.  Can we as victims, enemies, perpetrators and bystanders seek humane redemption from each other?”

The film is 90 minutes long and features four cases (out of thousands that were held all over the country): Amy Beihl, the only case involving an American; the “Craddock 4”; Robert McBride, an ANC activist who left a car bomb outside a bar; and the “Guguletu 7.”