Nothing is more important than the truth.
The truth will set you free.
These are sayings we know and use in daily conversations. As a journalist, the truth is my foundation. It’s about facts, figures, legalities, evidence and data. But beyond this, there is a question that has been nagging me recently, leaving me conflicted.Does knowing the truth lessen the burden of trauma?
I think of the six family members, between the ages of eight and 70, who were murdered at their home in Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal some weeks ago. They were attacked and shot dead, allegedly by a relative over a dispute.
Only one person survived – a 9 year-old girl.
As the suspect faces the might of the law and the case unfolds in court, will the 9 year old girl be any less traumatised or will it add to her torment? Nothing will bring her family members back. That is the truth.
Nothing too will bring back the 35 year old Cape Town mother, who was reportedly stabbed to death by her husband while driving with her one year child in the car seat. She leaves behind two other children – under the age of 10.
How will they ever reconcile that their mother died at the hands of their father?
Truth and reconciliation.
It sounds hopeful. In reality, without full disclosure, hope is lost in the process. And that’s what has happened in post-apartheid South Africa. There are atrocities no one has answered for and so who do we hold to account?
The trauma remains.
We live with high levels of discontent, protest and violence in South Africa. Men and women – who should be the guardians of our democracy – are often on the other side of the law for harming their loved ones and committing crimes that are beyond human comprehension.
I mourn. I mourn for the dysfunctional society we live in. I mourn for the victims who have had their lives literally ripped apart. And I fear. I fear that this will become the norm. I fear that we will no longer be outraged when we learn of these cases.
As we battle COVID-19, awareness, outreach and advocacy into the heart of communities has become increasingly difficult. And then there’s that burning question – can the state really police families?
We are a nation in trauma on many levels.
As we mark a year since COVID-19 in South Africa, the loss we have experienced is colossal. I have tried to but I cannot quantify it. It widens and deepens every day….the loss of lives, livelihoods and our lives as we knew it.
My pragmatism fails me. I sometimes feel that this is surreal. Subconsciously, I think once all this is over, we will still see the loved ones we have lost to COVID-19. But, we won’t.
Like you, I persevere. And make it through another tough day. This hasn’t been easy on any of us. Many tears have been shed. On some days the tears do not stop. And that’s okay too.
We cry because we care.