Source: (1998) paper presented at the conference Dealing with the Past. Reconciliation Processes and Peace Building. June 8-9, 1998. Retrieved September 30, 2002 from Columbia International Online Database.

In this paper, Mary Burton reflects on the transition from a regime of apartheid to a more democratic society in South Africa. She focuses particularly on the story of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Whereas many accounts of the TRC begin with the negotiations process of 1993 that led to the democratic elections in April 1994, Burton starts with President de Klerk’s February 1990 announcement that previously banned political parties and organizations would be permitted to operate. From her perspective, that irreversibly changed the political landscape in South Africa. On this basis, she reviews the events and issues marking South Africa’s complex and difficult transition from conflict towards peace.