Miracles, Trauma and the Truth Commission
Like most South Africans, I remember well the day of the first democratic election in South Africa – 27 April 1994. I spent the day with a group of fellow mental health workers on call in case violence erupted as was widely predicted. I am not sure exactly what we could have done if it had; perhaps consoled the injured or relatives of those bereaved, or maybe been nothing more than a buffer if violence had flared up. But there we sat at a local teacher training college, listening to the news and waiting for what most of us felt was inevitable large-scale violence. As is well documented, however, the day passed peacefully as people waited for hours in long queues to vote for the first time in their lives. One of the simplest acts in the world felt like the most profound. Being there and watching it and, of course, voting myself, in a context where political generosity trumped racial division, felt like a miracle.