Two different blog sites offered touching and personal reflections on Dr Siona O’Connell’s documentaries, ‘The Wynberg 7′ and ‘An Impossible Return’.

In her blog post Nadia Kamies, who grew up in the same street as O’Connell on the edge of District Six, provides poignant descriptions of the two documentaries, adding how they resonate with her personally. Reflecting on ‘An Impossible Return’, she comments on how many Capetonians are not aware of the full extent of the forced removals during the apartheid regime. After attending the premiere of An Impossible Return she writes, “What I remember most about my grandmother’s removal to Mitchell’s Plain in the 1970s, was her loss of independence. Suddenly, the fiercely-independent woman who had survived two husbands, was exiled to a suburb without any infrastructure and had to ask for help to fetch her pension from the Cape Town Post Office as she could no longer get there via public transport.”

It is this act of remembering, stimulated by O’Connell’s work which makes it so powerful, particularly for those whose stories are ignored or diminished by being relegated to ‘the past’. In her blog 3D Reflections of Life, Sharon Lewin describes the experience of watching Dr O’Connell’s documentaries as therapeutic — she writes, “Getting people in the same room to see the documentary, [The Wynberg 7:] An Intolerable Amnesia, was as therapeutic as the screening itself. It is that deep trauma of our violent past that keeps our communities locked in depressing cycles of violence.  When people’s stories are shared, we acknowledge their experiences and hopefully, it helps with the healing we desperately need in our country.” See the rest of her post here.

Commenting on the Wynberg 7: An Intolerable Amnesia, Nadia Kamies adds that she was “shocked to hear that those who hadn’t testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission still have criminal records. Listening to their stories and the lack of acknowledgement 30 years later, I don’t blame them for wondering whether the sacrifices they made were worth it.” Read her full post here.