Power of Storytelling

I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about the power telling our stories have on us when we speak our truth and when other people hear us. I listened to a powerfully moving segment of American Public Radio’sSpeaking of Faith in which they looked at South Africa’s Truth& Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

Hearing two individuals who worked on the commission tell stories of the power of stories took my breath away.

In an attempt to rebuild its society without retribution, the Commission created a new model in our time for grappling with a history of extreme violence. The basic premise of the Commission was that any individual, whatever he or she had done, was eligible for amnesty if they would fully disclose and confess their crimes.

Victims were invited to tell their stories and witness confessions. Through the TRC, many families finally came to know when and how their loved ones died. By the end of the hearings, the Commission took statements from more than 20,000 victims of Apartheid and received applications for amnesty from 7,100 perpetrators.

Host Krista Tippett speaks with two people—one black, one white—who did the work of the commission in charge of it.

Listen online here.

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