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The Role of the Church in Promoting Reconciliation in Post-TRC South Africa

van der Merwe, Hugo
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. 269-281.

Hugo van der Merwe observes at the beginning of this essay that, in many ways, the witness for justice seemed a much simpler task for churches in South Africa than the development of a new vision for their role in post-apartheid society. Nevertheless, it goes to the heart of many religious beliefs; and so churches must play a vital role in pursuing reconciliation – that is, in overcoming divisiveness and in building relationships. With this role in sight, van der Merwe uses the interviews conducted by Bernard Spong with religious leaders to examine ways in which the church interacted with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). He builds on this to explore how that interaction affected the approach of the church in addressing the challenge of reconciliation after the closure of the TRC.


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