Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

7
Women’s
Testimony Before the TRC

Ranking internationally as a country with one of the highest numbers of women in Parliament,1 South Africa has taken the lead among African nations in articulating gender rights as vital human rights. In the postapartheid constitution, the government committed itself to the abolition not only of race inequality but also of the gender inequality that had previously characterized the nation. Initiatives early in Nelson Mandela’s administration that focused on women’s rights included the Commission on Gender Equality, which monitors, investigates, and reports on issues of gender in civil society; the Office on the Status of Women, which is responsible for mainstreaming gender in all government departments; and the introduction of the Women’s Budget Initiative (WBI), which analyzes the impact of the national budget on women.

Given the government’s strong support for women’s rights, it came as a surprise to many observers that women’s voices were not being heard by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and that the nation as a result was getting a skewed look at the nature of human rights violations that had been committed.


Women’s Experiences of Repression

The 1960s were the decade of entrenchment of separate development. Forced removals (to remove “black spots” from white areas) proceeded apace, and many blacks were “endorsed” out to the homelands under the government’s influx control system. Families were torn apart under the

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Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa - Miracle or Model? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Setting Up the Trc 1
  • 2: Nelson Mandela: Pragmatic Reconciler 11
  • 3: Tutu’s Theology of Reconciliation 25
  • 4: Forgiving the Unforgivable 39
  • 5: Amnesty: A Controversial Compromise 57
  • 6: Storytelling 81
  • 7: Women’s Testimony Before the Trc 97
  • 8: Innocent Bystanders? 113
  • 9: Media Hearings 125
  • 10: Wounded Healers: the Churches Respond 133
  • 11: The Rest of the Story 145
  • 12: A Workable Model? 163
  • 13: Afterword: Miracle or Evil Compromise? 177
  • Chronology 181
  • Glossary 187
  • Acronyms 189
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 219
  • About the Book 231
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