Fighting for Justice in South Africa: Then and Now

Published 19/03/2008
Type Article
Author(s) Gwyneth Boswell
Corresponding Authors Gwyneth Boswell, Director, Boswell Research Fellows and Visiting Professor, School of Allied Health Professions, University of East Anglia

During autumn 2005, the author led a feasibility study investigating the experiences of 17 Xhosa men and women from the Eastern Cape who had, in some way, fought in the struggle for liberation from apartheid in its early days. The study showed, firstly, that it was possible to identify people who fell into this category with the help of archive collections and local veterans’ associations. Secondly it showed that, with the assistance of final year Theology students at the University of Fort Hare, access could be gained to these ‘veterans’ and in-depth qualitative interviews conducted, with the students providing translation where necessary. Finally, the interviews themselves highlighted a group of people who had sacrificed much for the freedom of their country, some  still optimistic, some disillusioned, but nearly all with outstanding health and social care needs. Transitional community justice aspires to a healing and restoration which still eludes many in the post-democracy years.