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 vs. prosecution. She concludes with an indictment of the ANC government's failure to enact the commission's recommendations for substantial reparations to victims and with an overview of NGO efforts to continue the reconciliation process. Graybill explores the political origins, theological underpinnings, and major achievements of the world's most ambitious truth commission.
Lyn 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.