Apartheid confessions

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It has been eighteen years since the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission delivered its final five-volume report to President Nelson Mandela. Yet South Africans are as much in the dark today as they ever were about a remarkable feature of apartheid rule: collaboration. While the commission did force a number of apartheid agents and collaborators (notably novelist Mark Behr) to confess their misdeeds, such confessions proved to be the exception rather than the norm. This essay examines some of the few apartheid confessions we have. It raises questions about the kinds of ethics that should guide those who believe that South Africa would be better off if it allowed for a full-frontal confrontation with the phenomenon of apartheid. How are scholars to deal with known and suspected collaborators? How are they to treat the tainted apartheid archives that point to the widespread nature of collaboration under apartheid? These are just some of the questions raised by the essay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)772-785
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology


  • Askaris
  • TRC
  • apartheid
  • collaboration
  • confessions
  • ethics
  • history


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