Source: (2004) Social Science Information. 43(2): 145-166.

The South African ‘‘compromise’’ remains unique in the history of post-colonialism (if it belongs at all to that category, which is open to debate). Ten years after Mandela’s election to the presidency, and his calm refusal of personal self-perpetuation, in contrast to most presidencies in most western-style democracies, South Africa remains somewhat of an aporia. However, the South African anchoring in compromise as constitutive of democracy unveils a concept and a practice of reconciliation which are akin to ‘‘compromise’’ yet stand out as uniquely ‘‘rhetorical’’, especially in the tension between a judicial vision of public deliberation and public deliberation itself. This article focuses on land restitution as a site for deliberative coming-together. Author's abstract.