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Original Research

Die Waarheids- en Versoeningskommissie as Simulacrum en die rol van belydenis, vergifnis en versoening

Melodie Nöthling Slabbert

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 26, No 3 (2005), 773-782. doi: 10.4102/ve.v26i3.250

Submitted: 03 October 2005
Published:  03 October 2005


This paper examines the relevance and validity of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ s Christian leitmotiv in relation to the victim hearings. It is suggested that the Commission’ s emphasis on religious themes such as the search for truth, the confession of guilt, forgiveness by victims and in the final instance the promise of redemption, reconciliation and transformation may facilitate the emergence of “moral elitism” or lead to the erroneous belief that a consensus morality dictating the transformation discourse exists. In this role, it can be said that the Commission has become simulacrum for the only way through which the truth about apartheid and redemption could be found.  The religious “authority” assumed by the Commission provided the necessary legitimacy to dictate to perpetrators and victims on a very personal level. The author warns that the Commission’ s religiously inspired transformation rhetoric hides ambitious political motives that try to accomplish too much, too soon.

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Author affiliations

Melodie Nöthling Slabbert, University of South Africa, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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