Source: (2011) A Matter of Spirit, a newsletter of the Inter-community Peace and Justice Center, No. 92, Fall, .

In the market place of ideas, the concepts and language of reconciliation have become quite popularized and at the same time diluted. Coming out of the turmoil of the South African political transition of the 1990s, it became abundantly clear to me that the term reconciliation was easily ‘hijacked’ to serve the particular interests of any number of socio-political groupings. For some reconciliation was used to describe the political process of power-sharing as represented in the Government of National Unity. For others it referred to a new political and legal dispensation governed by the ‘rule of law’ and democratic reform that allowed former enemies to live together without killing each other. Still others would have used the term to describe a “good working relationship” on the job or in the community with persons of another culture or race. While all of these notions have linkages to genuine reconciliation, they are only parts of the whole. Authentic reconciliation requires us to move beyond mere social tolerance or political coexistence it is concerned with repairing the harmony in the life of a community or nation. By harmony, I mean the restoring of meaningful relationships (relationships of dignity, trust and collaboration). Harmony also infers at least two other aspects: a collective concern for the common goodi of all (corporate well-being), and a shared future view that gives hope and motivation to the idea of unity. (excerpt)

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