Source: (2002) Canadian Journal of Political Science / Revue canadienne de science politique. 35(2): 323-346.

The meaning of reconciliation in South Africa remains ambiguous and contested. A distinction is drawn between moral and political approaches to reconciliation that invoke thick and thin accounts of solidarity. The discourses of forgiveness and healing are ‘‘too thick’’ because they demand public coherence at the cost of private difference. The promotion of deliberative democracy protects difference, but is ‘‘too thin’’ to enable a substantial basis for reconciliation. Apology, as the fullest expression of ‘‘shared history,’’ furnishes the moral transformation necessary for the democratic culture to take root. In this model, reconciliation strikes a balance between solidarity and plurality. Author's abstract.