July 31, 2010 – Acclaimed author and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman delivered a thought-provoking lecture, the eighth in the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture series, at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg. His talk, entitled, “Whose Memory? Whose Justice? A Meditation on How and When and If to Reconcile”, drew on his own experiences during times of unrest, oppression and reconciliation in Chile, drawing parallels with those of Nelson Mandela, and of South Africa as a whole, during and after apartheid.
The lecture served to remind the audience that “Memory does not exist in a vacuum,” and that we need to allow diverse memories and interpretations of history to coexist if we are to reconcile, even in our differences. Emphasising the importance of justice being done in the name of future generations, rather than of retribution, Dorfman said, “We cannot undo the damage of the past, but must strive instead to undo the damage to the future, we must prove in our actions tomorrow that we have learned from the terrors and sins of yesteryear.”
To hear the lecture in its entirety, watch the video below. Please note: the broadcast begins at 00:45.