Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

It might seem odd to begin a book about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with a discussion of a play set in “a country that is probably Chile” by a Chilean playwright (ix). Allow me to explain why I do so. Death and the Maiden’s clear articulation of the challenges inherent to any truth-seeking process has made references to it almost...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book has been a long time in the making. Without Susan Jarratt’s mentoring, endless encouragement, and incisive comments, I wouldn’t have finished my PhD, let alone become a professor and published this monograph; I owe her my biggest debt of gratitude. With patience, humor, and tact, Steve Mailloux pushed me to be more theoretically sophisticated...

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Introduction: The Rhetoricity of Truth Commissions

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pp. 1-14

In April 1994—after forty-five years of institutionalized white supremacy, which left lasting and deep scars—nearly twenty million South Africans participated in the country’s first truly democratic elections. Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for twenty-seven years, won the elections in a landslide, becoming South Africa’s first black president. This dramatic...

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Chapter 1. Localizing Transitional Justice

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pp. 15-30

The transnational circulation of people and ideas across cultural and geographic contexts has created new situations in which persuasion can occur. Rhetoric happens when rhetors take up arguments and tropes from this global flow to effect change or achieve identification in a particular location or situation. Rhetorical scholars have urged that attention be paid to...

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Chapter 2. Ambivalent Speech, Resonant Silences

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pp. 31-59

Scholars and human rights activists agree that telling one’s story does not necessarily promote long-term psychic recovery or healing (Hamber). However, they have found that doing so fulfills a basic human desire to “break the silence.” As Priscilla Hayner explains, “truth commissions seem to satisfy—or at least begin to satisfy—a clear need of some victims...

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Chapter 3. Contesting Accountability

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pp. 60-96

In Long Night’s Journey into Day, a documentary about the TRC directed by Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffmann, Sizwe Makana seeks to explain why four black youths killed Amy Biehl, a white American Fulbright scholar. Biehl was pulled from her car as she drove through an anti-apartheid rally in which participants shouted anti-white slogans. Makana is incredulous...

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Chapter 4. Imagining Reconciliation

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pp. 97-124

Joyce Mtimkulu, the woman in figure 1, has sought for more than twenty years to gain legal redress against Gideon Nieuwoudt, the man who murdered her son. In spite of her objections, the TRC granted Nieuwoudt’s application for amnesty because he fully disclosed his violations and proved that they were politically motivated and met the “proportionality”...

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Conclusion

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pp. 125-128

In the 1990s, power relations in South Africa changed dramatically. That period was indeed “rich in new rhetorics.” The architects of the TRC, an institutionalized set of rhetorics, hoped it would facilitate South Africans’ movement from the culture, politics, and violence of an apartheid past toward a democratic and rights-based future. The Commission was...

Notes

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pp. 129-134

Works Cited

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pp. 135-142

Index

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pp. 143-157

Back Cover

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