Ubuntu and Common Humanity in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

  • Hanneke Stuit


Stuit analyses the use of ubuntu as a political discourse by the South African TRC, where it became interrelated with forgiveness as the preferred mode of interaction between victims and perpetrators in the process of reconciliation and nation-building. Stuit discusses how the meaning of ubuntu in this context revolves around a contradictory use of a notion of common humanity that is claimed to be all-inclusive but also (re)installs a new benchmark for communal and national belonging. Yet, as becomes clear from a close reading of some of Krog’s TRC-related poetry, this discursive strategy of implementing ubuntu and forgiveness also offers a place from which it becomes possible to change, or at the very least, act upon this dominant discourse from within.


Human Dignity Humane Language Common Humanity Public Hearing National Unity 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanneke Stuit
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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