oa Journal of Education - Redress and reconciliation in South African education: the case for a rights-based approach

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



The Bantu Education Act has been descriptionbed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as �the most evil of all pieces of apartheid legislation�. Following a recent call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for education in South Africa, numerous questions arise not only about the possibility but also about the plausibility, content and aims of such a commissioned investigation. This paper examines the epistemological, ethical and political ramifications of this approach. It argues that, given a certain ambiguity in the meaning of the term and given certain problems in the TRC process, the possibility and plausibility of such redress depend to some extent on a suitable �running partner� for the idea and the process of reconciliation. After discussing and dismissing several such �partner� ideas and principles, like ubuntu or botho, communalism and the common good, this paper examines and defends a rights-based approach that establishes rights as the backbone of redress and reconciliation as its heart.

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