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Triumph Over Terror Series
Where Truth Lies
South Africa

A dramatic case before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

A printer-friendly version of this page 30 minutes
Directed by Mark J. Kaplan
Produced by New Vision Production
and Ubuntu Film and TV Productions with TVE - Produced in association with the Commission of the European Communities and WITNESS

This moving film is about one of the many terrible cases to come before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 22-year-old student leader Siphiwo Mtimkulu, and his friend Topsy Madaka, were shot and burned in 1982 by the feared Security Police under the former apartheid government.

Gideon Nieuwoudt - nicknamed "Notorious Nieuwoudt" - was a colonel in the Security Police. He and his colleagues are responsible for the torture, poisoning, and death of numerous black activists, including Steve Biko. In 1995 a group of top Security Police officers got a court order to block Mtimkulu's family from giving evidence before the TRC, threatening to undermine the whole process. 48 hours before the deadline expired, the officers finally applied for amnesty. Filmmaker Mark Kaplan documented the case for three years, during which time Nieuwoudt met with the Mtimkulu family seeking their forgiveness with unexpected and dramatic consequences.

Kaplan claims this case is a testimony to the best and worst of which mankind is capable.

Other titles in the series are:

Going Home - 10-year old soldier escapes rebel forces in Sierra Leone.

Till Death Do Us Part - Widows are denied inheritance and property rights in Nigeria.

In the Name of Safety - False imprisonment violates due process in Bangladesh.

Smiles: The Hypocrisy of Thai Politics - The struggle for greater democracy and free speech in Thailand.

Discipline with Dignity - The attempt to end corporal punishment in Nepalese schools.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1999     Copyright Date: 1999
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-745-0     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-802-2

"An incredibly powerful story describing the abuse and betrayal of the powerless during the period of apartheid in South Africa...The mere fact that such a film has and can be produced demonstrates the slowly-turning tide in South Africa. Suitable for any college classroom, this film provokes questions as well as emotion."
Jennifer Harrison, North Carolina Wesleyan College

"This video would be of great use in stimulating a discussion about the difficulties being faced in South Africa. It accurately documents the horrors of the past and provides a path for the future."
The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution

"A grim reminder of the evils that lurked in South Africa's pre-1994 segregated society."
Ceferina G. Hess, Ass. Prof. Political Science, Lander University

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Where Truth Lies

"Documents the horrors of the past and provides a path for the future." The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution

Links (The producer's web site)

Awards and Festivals
Best of Festival, Vermont International Film Festival
Best International Documentary, One World Broadcasting Trust Awards
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival

African Studies
Conflict Resolution
Developing World
Human Rights
Social Justice
United Nations

Related Titles

Between Joyce and Remembrance
A hard-hitting look at one of the many heinous crimes that came before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Tribal Mind
Post-apartheid South Africa is the best example of people struggling to overcome tribalism.

After Silence
Examines the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WW II, and its relevance to post 9/11 America.

Counting on Democracy
An examination of the fiasco in Florida in the context of the history of voting rights violations.

A Healthy Start
The debate over women's health care in South Africa.

Fighting Back
Women in Bosnia are rebuilding war-torn lives.

A Question of Rights
Looks at the state of women's human rights in Ethiopia, Latvia, Jamaica and Fiji.

Inside Burma
John Pilger investigates the history and brutality of the military dictatorship in Burma.

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