Where the South African TRC Fell Short
In its ambitious reckoning with the violence of the apartheid era, the testimonies at the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) included emotions that would have been considered beyond the appropriate scope of testimony in most criminal trials. Yet, although formally included, the moments when victims expressed anger were either ignored altogether or met with ambivalence and confusion about their significance and the appropriate response. In retrospect, the testimonies from the Human Rights Violations hearings provide a remarkable record of how anger was manifested at the Commission. An examination of the transcripts reveals the many ways that an engagement with anger was eclipsed by other concerns and by uncertainty regarding its purpose.
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