oa South African Human Rights Yearbook - Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1354-3903



'Let the healing waters flow, ' was the crux of Archbishop Tutu's text when he officially handed over the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Report to President Mandela in 1998. This message, by a man chosen to lead a commission that would attempt to unravel the mirky history of a country polarized by apartheid, continues to be a hrefrain in the politics of South Africa. In an attempt to offer some form of closure on a turbulent past, the unfinished business of understanding the truth about institutionalised oppression was one of the fundamental challenges of the commission. Many lives were lost by those resisting the apartheid system, and some lost in protecting the system. In most instances the circumstances surrounding the loss of lives were the result of gross human rights violations. As a way of making meaning about the apartheid past so that what happened would never repeat itself again, the commission was established to help South Africans on a path toward national reconciliation.

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