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Deification, Demonization and Dispossession

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Reconciliation and the Hopeful Sizwe

image of International Journal of Public Theology

Many regard South Africa’s reconciliation process as a model for a search for peace in and among nations. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission played an admirable part in this. However, problems remain in continuing and completing this reconciliation project. For many the failure to secure social justice through reconciliation remains one challenge. At issue is also how South Africans deal with their fractured and painful past. This article revisits issues of culpability and responsibility by asking whether a primary obstacle towards reconciliation might be that South Africans, instead of taking personal and collective responsibility for reconciliation, have hidden behind two major and completely opposite South African figures: Nelson Mandela and Eugene De Kock. It is argued that the ‘deification’ of Mandela and the ‘demonization’ of De Kock pose an important obstacle for the acceptance of culpability and responsibility for addressing historic wrongs with a view to true reconciliation.

Affiliations: 1: Butler University and Christian Theological


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