Source: (2001) In Reconciliation, Justice, and Coexistence: Theory & Practice, ed. Mohammed Abu-Nimer, pp. 187-207. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.

The author evaluates the efforts of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at reconciliation in two communities in the East Rand of Johannesburg (Duduza and Katorus) affected by violence during apartheid. van der Merwe provides background to the TRC’s community intervention, and he sketches the actual TRC involvement in each community. From this, van der Merwe assesses the achievements and shortfalls of the TRC intervention. A significant part of his assessment weighs the premises and work of the TRC in light of restorative justice concepts and processes (particularly the tension between top-down and bottom-up restorative approaches). Whatever its achievements and shortfalls, the TRC forced people to examine their ideas of reconciliation, justice, and forgiveness.