South Africa: The Terrorist Album - Restoring History and Memory From the Furnaces of Apartheid

analysis

In his third, much-anticipated book, 'The Terrorist Album - Apartheid's Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police', author and scholar Jacob Dlamini surgically dissects the myth of the all-powerful apartheid state, its attempts at covering up its crimes and obliterating history itself.

"The story of apartheid is, amongst other things, the story of the systematic elimination of thousands of voices that should have been part of the nation's memory." - TRC Final Report

In 1993, former officials and agents of the apartheid state embarked on an "orgy of destruction", incinerating around 44 tonnes of paper and microfilm records held by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The order had been given in March 1992. This much we know from evidence given later at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

But while who exactly issued the order is lost to history, enough evidence remains of how apartheid "corrupted individuals, ruined lives, and destroyed a country".

This purge of its misdeeds, the TRC noted, this "paper Auschwitz", had been a conscious effort to "deliberately and systematically destroy a huge body of state records and documentation in an attempt to remove incriminating evidence and thereby sanitise the history of oppressive rule".

It took eight months...

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