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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Confessing the Truth: Shaping Silences through the Amnesty Process
Author:Harris, Brent
Periodical:Kronos: Journal of Cape History
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41056411
Abstract:The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Amnesty Committee (AC) was a crucial site for the packaging of South Africa's history, for its display and its emission. However, as a space of display, the AC was characterized by contestation as history was rendered through the perspectives of the perpetrator/s, the victim/s and their legal representatives. In this space, the past was not presented to make it familiar but to manifest its strangeness. This process of estranging the past was a crucial mechanism in defining the 'new nation' and, as such, it was crucial to the production of silences in a new official history. This essay is concerned with how silences are produced rather than with approaching silences as oversights or blind spots. It argues that the mechanisms employed by the TRC in respect of its amnesty hearings, and the ways in which the amnesty process played itself out, engendered silences, particularly of the accountability of the apartheid State. In this respect, silences were produced structurally. The essay focuses on the structural silences that first emerged at the TRC's hearings in Cape Town. Notes, ref.