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Do Sleeping Dogs Lie?: The psychological implications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa

Hamber, Brandon
June 4, 2015

Source: (1995) Seminar no. 5. Johannesburg, South Africa: Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Downloaded 20 October 03.

Making this presentation around the time of the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in consequence of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Bill in South Africa, Brandon Hamber notes that the purpose of the TRC is to foster a truth recovery process aimed at coming to terms with South Africa’s past. Further, the TRC is to enhance reconciliation in South African society in the aftermath of the conflict under apartheid. While many have explored these goals from various perspectives, little attention has been given to the psychological dimensions of the potential work of the TRC on individuals and society as a whole. Hence, in this paper Hamber explores how the process of the TRC could operate as a psychologically rehabilitative mechanism. In the end he argues that the TRC is not a sufficient process in itself to promote individual and collective psychological rehabilitation; rather, a range of psychological structures and strategies will be needed to run in parallel with the TRC.


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