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Repairing the Irreparable: Dealing with Double-Binds of Making Reparations for Crimes of the Past

Hamber, Brandon
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Revised paper first presented at the African Studies Association of the UK Biennial Conference “Comparisons and Transitions” as SOAS, University of London, London, 14-16 September.

Reparations, both material and symbolic, can be important for survivors of violence or families of victims of violence. Socio-economic development and government strategies such as truth commissions can help individuals and a country begin the process of working through a traumatic history and addressing injustice, injury, and loss. Yet, Hamber claims, reparations, socio-economic development, and other responses are not sufficient in themselves for genuine resolution. Such resolution depends on how individuals over time personally work through the traumas of the past. With all of this in mind, Hamber explores in this paper the interplay between these factors, and the difficulties of trying to make amends for past wrongs in post-apartheid South Africa.


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