Increasingly, the historical significance of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is becoming globally apparent. Within South Africa, debate about this imperfect but undeniably productive, transformative institution continues, long after the TRC formally shut its doors. The design of the many truth-seeking, reconciliatory mechanisms to emerge in Africa and elsewhere in recent years has been informed by comparative discussion in which the South African experience features prominently.
The TRC has been viewed as a groundbreaking confrontation with the challenges facing any transitional society: to discover the truth about the past, to account for it in ways that promote justice, and to develop reconciliation strategies that enable previously divided people to look forward, together. It represents an historic moment in which humane ways of dealing with an atrocious past have been cultivated.