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Where Truth Lies

Where Truth Lies

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.

'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


Main credits

Kaplan, Mark J. (film director)
Kaplan, Mark J. (film producer)
Crawford, Athalie (narrator)
Kobus, Kwezi (voice actor)

Other credits

Camera, Greg Shaw [and 3 others]; music, Dizu Plaatjies, Lungiswa Plaatjies; editor, Lisba Vosloo.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

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


South Africa,; Truth and Reconciliation Commission, TRC, apartheid,; peace, Siphiwo Mtimkulu, Topsy Madaka, Steve Biko, Gideon Nieuwoudt; "Where Truth Lies"; Bullfrog Films