Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

10
Wounded Healers:
The Churches Respond

Despite the contribution that Christian theology can make toward understanding reconciliation and, more important, the responsibility the churches had in legitimating apartheid, church response to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was initially minimal. Formal responses came early on from the Research Institute on Christianity in South Africa (RICSA) at the University of Cape Town, the theological faculty at the University of the Western Cape, and church leaders from the South African Council of Churches (SACC).1 But support from denominations and individual churches was weak. Etienne de Villiers, professor of ethics at the University of Pretoria, has made the point that the TRC could only function successfully if the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) and other Afrikaner churches lent their support: “If the political parties of the Afrikaner, the Afrikaans newspapers, and, in particular, the Afrikaans churches withdraw their support and encourage Afrikaners to refuse any co-operation with the TRC, the TRC will surely not succeed in its objectives.”2

White churches—especially white Afrikaner churches—were mainly uninvolved in the process. The Northern Province Council of Churches issued a statement in December 1996 critical of these churches’ minimal assistance in statement taking, preparation for hearings, and counseling victims.3 The Dutch Reformed Church—or the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK)4—early on declined to make a submission, promising to review the issue later.5 In August 1997 the DRC issued not a submission but a document written for the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, The Story of the Dutch Reformed Church’s Journey with

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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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