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Title:Reading the Apartheid State
Author(s):Keniston, Billy
Abstract:More than fifty years after Henrik Verwoerd (the "architect of apartheid") was assassinated on the floor of the South African Parliament, it is not possible to simply walk in and demand to be shown the archives. It took me three months, visiting multiple archives, and an extensive email chain with the archivists working at them, to uncover the giant treasure chest of documents pictured here.​ In 1972, the South African Parliament conducted a Commission of Inquiry, targeting liberal and radical opponents of apartheid, including a number of university student organizations, and non-racial Christian groups. In the past couple of years, I have become obsessed with one paragraph, right at the beginning of the Commission's report, which, to my astonishment, reads as follows:​ “Your Commission, in carrying out its terms of reference... heard evidence from 58 witness, the vast majority of whom had legal representation (the transcript of the evidence covers 3,388 pages); and studied the documents submitted (this documentation runs to about 13,000 pages).”​ Pictured here are those 16,388 pages of evidence, most likely accessed by a historian for the very first time!​
Issue Date:2020
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Billy Keniston
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-04-14

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