n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Francois Du Bois and Antje Du Bois-Pedain (Eds.) : book review

Volume 2010, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



The transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa is often held up as a model for other societies with repressive pasts to emulate. One of the most important bridging institutions - the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) - sought to provide a forum in which the pain of victims of gross human rights violations could be heard and acknowledged; perpetrators of those very violations were also granted amnesty in return for a full disclosure of their crimes as part of the process. An acknowledgment of the pain of the past was meant to provide a basis upon which to ensure that citizens of different racial groups were reconciled with one another. This settlement raises a number of questions. To what extent did the TRC process meet the demands of justice? Did it adequately assign responsibility for past wrongs or was it simply a convenient manner to avoid responsibility? To what extent is the ideal of reconciliation realized through the process and what does its achievement unavoidably elide?

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