Back to RJ Archive

Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Minow, Martha
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Negotiation Journal. October: 319-355.

Citizens of South Africa are confronting a painful past through the new nation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or TRC, which thus far has heard thousands of reports (many televised) about murders, torture, and other human rights abuses that took place during the apartheid era. South Africa’s TRC is grounded in a constitutional commitment to the African concept of “ubuntu,â€? or humaneness. Amnesty is available on a conditional basis to alleged perpetrators. The author assesses the potential restorative power of truth-telling; the significance of sympathetic witnesses; and the tasks of both perpetrators and bystanders in the TRC process. Aspirations for justice are considered along with restoring dignity to victims, offering a basis for individual healing, and promoting reconciliation of a divided society. Author’s abstract.


AbstractAfricaCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationPrisonsRestorative PracticesRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsVictim Support
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now