Jo-Anne Duggan is the Director of the Archival Platform:
"Archives – real or manufactured - and memory don’t always intersect comfortably. Archives are often, rightly or wrongly, accorded an authority not always granted memory, and memory may be unsettled or even contradicted by “evidence” carried in other, more formal records. In a presentation at the 2011 conference “Living with the Past”, Madeleine Fullard of the Head: Missing Persons Task Team at National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, explained the dilemma she faced in her dealings with the families of missing activists, when evidence unearthed by her team contradicted the versions of the past that the families of the victims remembered, the “authorised” narrative constructed by their communities, brought the paternity of the victims into question or revealed the complicity of neighbours, family members or friends with apartheid forces.
The archive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa is still under wraps, despite the concerted efforts of civil society organisations such as the South African History Archive. Maybe those with the power to make the decisions required to open this archive fear that it could unleash too many secrets, lies and truths. Maybe though, it’s time we confronted the demons of the past that lie in wait in the archive of our difficult past. Maybe then we will have a hope of healing."