Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

11
The Rest of the Story

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) published its final report in October 1998, the truth about the past was acknowledged in an officially sanctioned way, as an authoritative version of events. Findings were made based not only on victims’ and perpetrators’ testimony but also on information gathered by the investigative unit and research department of the TRC. The commission made findings about the responsibility of the political parties, the South African Defense Force (SADF), the State Security Council (SSC), and the South African Police (SAP), as well as organs of civil society, such as the churches, the press, and business.1 It began by pointing out that the response of the former government and its institutions had been “to hedge and obfuscate” and was marked by “halfheartedness and reluctance to make full disclosure.”2 Speaking of the testimony from the various sectors of civil society, the TRC said: “they were generally characterised by defensiveness and a failure to come to terms with the role these sectors had played in supporting the status quo, whether by commission or omission.”3

The primary finding of the TRC was that the predominant portion of gross violations of human rights had been committed by the former state through its security and law enforcement agencies. The state had perpetrated gross human rights violations including torture, abduction, severe ill-treatment, deliberate manipulation of social divisions to mobilize one group against another, unjustified use of deadly force, arming and training foreign nationals, incursions across South Africa’s borders, judicial killings, extrajudicial killings, and covert training of hit squads. In the early mandate period, the country was unjust and discriminatory, but it

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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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