chapter  6
13 Pages

Dealing with a traumatic past: the victim hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and their reconciliation discourse

WithAnnelies Verdoolaege

Apartheid can be seen as the outstanding traumatic event that has characterised the lives of many

South Africans living today. The apartheid regime officially came to an end with the first demo-

cratic elections, on 27 April 1994, but already quite a few years before this historic date South

African society at large had been wondering how to deal with the peaceful coexistence of its

population groups. Apartheid had been devastating to the lives of a great many South Africans,

so it was clear that atrocities committed under apartheid had to be addressed, in one way or

another.