Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Miracle or Model?

By Lyn S. Graybill | Go to book overview

About the Book

Was South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) a “miracle” that depended on the unique leadership of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu? Or does it provide a working model for other traumatized nations? Addressing these questions, Lyn Graybill explores the political origins, theological underpinnings, and major achievements of the world’s most ambitious truth commission—an institution that offered indemnity to perpetrators of gross human rights abuses, and a process that urged victims to forgive.

Graybill distills in one concise and very readable volume a vast amount of information on the TRC, including discussions of a number of groups—the media, religious communities, and the medical and business sectors—that came under the scrutiny of the commission. She also addresses the theory and practice of forgiveness and the relative advantages of amnesty versus prosecution. She concludes with an indictment of the ANC government’s failure to enact the commission’s recommendations for substantial reparations to victims, and an overview of NGO efforts to continue the reconciliation process.

Lyn S. Graybill is on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction. She is author of Religion and Resistance Politics in South Africa and coeditor of Africa’s Second Wave of Freedom: Development, Democracy, and Rights

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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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