- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition, First Printing edition (January 23, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618211896
- ISBN-13: 978-0618211890
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness First Edition, First Printing Edition
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More focused than most books about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), this searing account is by a psychologist who grew up in the black townships and who served on the TRC under Archbishop Tutu. She brings you close to the horrific testimony about what apartheid's perpetrators did, and also to what Tutu called "holy" scenes of forgiveness by victims' families. But at the center are her personal prison interviews with Eugene de Kock, who directed "the blood, the bodies and the killing" against apartheid's enemies. Does he feel remorse? Can Gobodo-Madikizela feel empathy for him? Demonizing him as monster, as hopelessly other, lets him--and us--off too easily, she maintains. The elemental issues about perpetrators, victims, and bystanders stretch back to the Holocaust and will spark intense discussion. How can apartheid Prime Minister De Klerk say his hands were clean? What about the majority of whites who say they didn't know? No easy answers, just the hope embodied in the TRC that cycles of political violence can be broken and that there are alternatives to revenge. Hazel Rochman
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BOOKTV description of the presentation:
A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness
from March 9, 2003
From John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, South African activist Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela discusses her book "A Human Being Died That Night." A psychologist, Ms. Gobodo-Madikizela had many conversations with Eugene de Kock, the former commanding officer of the apartheid police squads. De Koch, whose nicknames include "Dr. Death" and "Prime Evil," is currently serving 212 years in prison for crimes against humanity. Much of the book is set during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, during which both the perpetrators and their victims were given the right to be heard. Ms. Gobodo-Madikizela suggests that the TRC hearings may not have produced complete reconciliation, but the validation the victims received and the absolution they subsequently offered was therapeutic and necessary for the creation of the new democracy. Albie Sachs, a judge with the Constitutional Court of South Africa joins Ms. Gobodo-Madikizela. This program is hosted by Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit educational organization that encourages an interdisciplinary approach to teaching history by relating it to the daily experiences of the students.
The monster behind the apartheid, de Kock seemed devil possessed to wipe out every native African in South Africa. Now that Apartheid was over Gobodo-Madikizela dared to interview him and offer her people's forgiveness for the terrible atrocities he engineered. Could a man of his caliber be touched by their offer of forgiveness?
Reading this book is an unforgettable experience. Forgiveness is a god-like thing. Would that all of us would learn how powerful it is!