chapter  9
29 Pages

Acknowledging Nervousness through Truth and Reconciliation

Lessons from South Africa
WithSamantha June Larson, Crystal Soderman

Focusing on the renowned example of South Africa following apartheid, this chapter examines the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) model as a promising approach to acknowledge nervousness associated with historical, state-sanctioned acts of violence and oppression. TRC commissions are charged with revealing, documenting, negotiating, and providing recommendations to reconcile past injustices committed by a state. This process has the potential to help government bodies reckon with the inequities they have perpetuated, and therefore process feelings of nervousness and shame resulting from their actions. After conducting a systematic literature review, this chapter finds that the South African TRC serves as a model for advancing restorative justice during a period of transition. However, the TRC was not able to promote redistributive justice for Black and Coloured South Africans. This limitation has extended economic inequities that serve as a remaining area of nervousness in the country today.