Reparations for apartheid-era human rights abuses: the ongoing struggle of Khulumani support group

SOURCE: Speculum Juris
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Bohler-Muller
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7978
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/2720

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at


Healing wounds arising out of complex socio-economic and political violence cannot be easily reduced to monetary terms. Reconciliation through healing is a protracted and complex process that entails creating structures and institutions that act as vehicles for the transformation of society that is driven 'from below' and not imposed by the state. In many countries that purport to advance democracy, the state has the responsibility to meet transformational goals through such vehicles as truth and reconciliation commissions, inter alia. In this mostly state-centric model governments create new structures and institutions, and adopt new policies and laws in an attempt to manage complex social environments, with the ultimate grand aim of nation-building. However, despite the faith that governments have put in such institutions, critics have pointed out that such for a do not allow adequate space for dissent, arguably a necessary condition for democracy. In efforts to move beyond state-centric models of transformation, reconciliation, nation-building and social cohesion, civil society at times organises itself into bodies that seek to champion the interests of victims in a bid to encourage and nurture discourse and contestation and to facilitate the creation of public spaces that rupture the metanarratives of national building and transitional justice. It is from this perspective that this contribution critically interrogates the issue of monetary reparations (compensation) for human rights abuses that took place during the apartheid era, pursued in courts and other for a established by organisations such as Khulumani Support Group (hereinafter referred to as Khulumani) in South Africa.