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The TRC: A Project of Public Education

Williams, Carin
June 4, 2015

Source: (1999) Paper presented at the “TRC: Commissioning the Past” conference, organized by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) and the History Workshop (at Wits University). University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, 11-14 June 1999. Downloaded 10 March 2004.

According to Carin Williams, one of the main aims of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is nation-building. Williams’s purpose in this paper is to investigate the TRC and its mechanisms to determine whether the TRC can be interpreted as a project for public education with respect to nation-building. Employing the term public education in a broad sense, she refers to the shaping of a shared identity: for example, shared social perspectives, understandings, values, and aims. She argues that the TRC can act as a catalyst for nation-building to the extent it can pave the way for tolerance, a multi-cultural approach, and reconciliation. To examine this possibility for the TRC, Williams defines the type of truth commission the TRC is; explores the TRC in relation to public education; and draws conclusions based on her investigation.


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