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Introduction: Religion and Reconciliation in South Africa

Chapman, Audrey R
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Audrey R. Chapman and Bernard Spong, eds, Religion and Reconciliation in South Africa. Voices of Religious Leaders. Philadelphia and London: Templeton Foundation Press. Pp. 1-16.

As it continues to emerge from years of repression and conflict, South Africa confronts a legacy of deep social, racial, economic, and political divisions. In view of these persisting issues, the 1993 Interim Constitution acknowledged the importance of reconciliation to South Africa’s future. This parallels the aim of the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) to balance truth-finding with reconciliation. As Audrey Chapman notes in her introductory essay, this book then – consisting chiefly of interviews with religious leaders about the role of religion with respect to reconciliation in South Africa – is a contribution toward understanding the implications of the South African experience in pursuing forgiveness and reconciliation among former adversaries. To provide a background and framework for the content of the interviews, Chapman reviews the apartheid legacy, the public role of South Africa’s religious communities, and the TRC’s efforts to promote reconciliation.


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