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What is this thing called reconciliation?

Hamber, Brandon
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Paper presented at the After Truth and Reconciliation Commission forum, at the Goedgedacht Farm, Cape Town, 28 March. Downloaded 2 June 2004.

As Hamber and van der Merwe observe, the question is regularly asked in South Africa whether the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has harmed or fostered the process of reconciliation. The answer is not that simple, they respond. Reconciliation is a complex and comparatively new term for South Africans, and the TRC has not provided a clear definition of the term and its use in the context of South Africa and the TRC. Against this background, Hamber and van der Merwe identify five ways people in South Africa talk about or define reconciliation, whether explicitly or implicitly. Differences in these definitions have often been at the core of conflict among groups at odds over the TRC and its work.


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