Reparations and Paying for the Past
This book has to this point focused on the complexity and challenges of coming to terms with political atrocity. This chapter will take these arguments a step further by analysing the process of reparations, largely through the prism of the South African case, and consider the implications of reparations for societies attempting to deal with a legacy of political violence. The issues surrounding reparations can help to amplify the psychological process of attempting to deal with the legacy of a violent past. They are also useful because they are inevitably a product of the social context and are inextricably linked to political processes. As such, the issues provide another vehicle for analysing how the individual process of coming to terms with political violence is related to what happens at the political level.
The chapter begins with a theoretical and conceptual focus on reparations, and thereafter discusses the implication of such thinking in the South African case. It concludes by extracting the key lessons from South African for the wider reparations debate.