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Violence, Inequality and Transformation: Apartheid Survivors on South Africa’s Ongoing Transition
(Publications)
Violence, Inequality and Transformation: Apartheid Survivors on South Africa’s Ongoing Transition

Jasmina Brankovic, Brian Mphahlele, Sindiswa Nunu, Agnes Ngxukuma, Nompumelelo Njana and Yanelisa Sishuba

 

 

About the Book 

Despite its lauded political transition in 1994, South Africa continues to have among the highest levels of violence and inequality in the world. Organised survivors of apartheid violations have long maintained that we cannot adequately address violence in the country, let alone achieve full democracy, without addressing inequality. 

This book is built around extensive quotes from members of Khulumani Support Group, the apartheid survivors’ social movement, and young people growing up in Khulumani families. It shows how these survivors, who bridge the past and the present through their activism, understand and respond to socioeconomic drivers of violence. 

Pointing to the continuities between apartheid oppression and post-apartheid marginalisation in everyday life, the narratives detail ways in which the democratic dispensation has strengthened barriers to social transformation and helped enable violence. They also present strategies for effecting change through collaboration, dialogue and mutual training and through partnerships with diverse stakeholders that build on local-level knowledge and community-based initiatives. 

The lens of violence offers new and manageable ways to think about reducing inequality, while the lens of inequality shows that violence is a complex web of causes, pathways and effects that requires a big-picture approach to unravel. The survivors’ narratives suggest innovative strategies for promoting a just transition through people-driven transformation that go well beyond the constraints of South Africa’s transitional justice practice to date.

A result of participatory research conducted in collaboration with and by Khulumani members, this open-access book will be of interest to activists, students, researchers and and policy makers working on issues of transitional justice, inequality and violence.

 

About the Authors 

Jasmina Brankovic is a senior researcher with the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and associate editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice. She conducts research on transitional justice, inequality and civil society strategies, with a focus on participatory methods. She is co-author of The Global Climate Regime and Transitional Justice (Routledge 2018). 

Brian Mkhululi Mphahlele has been a member of Khulumani Support Group in the Western Cape since its founding and currently serves as the secretary of the provincial executive committee. A former political prisoner and torture survivor, he provided testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and continues to fight for redress for apartheid survivors. 

Sindiswa Mirriam Nunu is the field worker for Khulumani Support Group in the Western Cape, organising and mobilising members in cooperation with area committees across the province. She served as a councillor for the City of Cape Town from 1998 to 2000. She is an active member of her community on women’s issues and in the struggle for land rights.

Agnes Ngxukuma is a member of the executive committee of Khulumani Support Group in the Western Cape. She is also an organiser in the African National Congress Women’s League. A mother and grandmother, she runs Eggie’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha and volunteers as a caregiver to those in need in her community.

Nompumelelo Njana is an apartheid survivor and long-time member of Khulumani Support Group in the Western Cape. She is the founder of a waste picking and recycling initiative in Khayelitsha and an activist in the Waste Pickers Movement of the Western Cape and the South African Waste Pickers Association.

Yanelisa Sishuba is the daughter of a Khulumani Support Group member. She is a youth activist, currently working as a Democratic Alliance youth leader in Cape Town Metro. 

 

Reviews

“In this timely book, apartheid’s survivors illustrate how the capitalist system that drove apartheid continues to drive inequality, poverty and violence in democratic South Africa and how the denial of socioeconomic rights undermines civil, political and cultural rights. All human beings have the right to social, economic, political, civil and cultural rights – human rights are universal, inter-related and inter-dependent. Those in power need to listen to these critical voices: the old fault lines, including race, class, gender and geography, must be urgently dismantled so South Africa can transition to a peaceful, just and equal society.” – Pregs Govender, activist and author of ‘Love and Courage: A Story of Insubordination’

“This book sketches the important links between inequality and violence through the narrative accounts of Khulumani Support Group participants. Through their voices we see their continued marginalisation in post-apartheid South Africa and how it continues to shape present-day experiences, including violence. The authors make an important contribution. They show the need to tackle socioeconomic factors that drive violence in order to address the ‘why’ of violence and reduce both inequality and violence.” – Shanaaz Mathews, director of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town

“This volume represents an innovative and desperately needed rethink of approaches to structural violence and the idea of justice in political transitions. … The Participatory Action Research modality that drives the contents of this book articulates the empowerment of the social transformation that Khulumani demands and highlights this as a grassroots effort, incarnated in Khulumani as a social movement, to drive a transformative justice. As such, it represents an empirical case study that both challenges conventional wisdom of the South African transitional justice process as a model and shares the valuable and impressive experience of Khulumani as a tool to understand, make visible and challenge ongoing injustice. Global efforts to build a new practice of transformative justice demand such examples and this volume represents one important step on the path to constructing such a practice.” – Simon Robins, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York

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The full post can viewed on the link below 

 

https://www.wits.ac.za/coe-human/research/violence-inequality-and-transformation/

Friday, 24 April 2020
Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice
(Publications)

Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice

Chomiak.L (2017). Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Nigeria: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice
(Publications)

Nigeria: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice

Yusuf. H. (2017). Nigeria: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Practitioner Perspectives on Transitional Justice: Tunisia
(Publications)

Schkolne, Maya. 2015. Practitioner Perspectives on Transitional Justice: Tunisia. Cape Town: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Goedgedacht Forum for Social Reflection.

Sunday, 01 March 2015
Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies: Conceptual Foundations and Debates
(Publications)

Brankovic, Jasmina, and Hugo van der Merwe. 2014. “Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies: Conceptual Foundations and Debates,” in Moving Beyond: Towards Transitional Justice in the Bangsamoro Peace Process. Davao City: forumZFD Philippines.

Part of a publication that outlines transitional justice in the context of the current Bangsamoro peace process in the Philippines, this chapter provides a brief overview of the conceptual evolution of transitional justice. It then discusses challenges likely to be met in post-conflict transitional settings - namely, multiple armed groups, legal pluralism, ethnic and religious tensions, socioeconomic marginalization, and gender inequality - along with some of the strategies used to address these challenges.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014
Transitional Justice and Human Rights
(Publications)

Van der Merwe, Hugo, and Jasmina Brankovic. 2014. “Transitional Justice and Human Rights,” in SAGE Handbook of Human Rights, ed. Anja Mihr and Mark Gibney. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Presenting a brief, political history of transitional justice, this chapter shows the ways in which transitional justice is caught between international human rights' normative claims and local norms and constraints regarding delivering justice. The chapter was published in the SAGE Handbook of Human Rights, a two-volume set that analyses human rights issues of both contemporary and future importance.

Tuesday, 01 July 2014
Framed! How the human rights framework shapes our engagements: A treasure trove of ideas and exercises to explore the framework that human rights offers.
(Publications)

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. 2013.  Framed! How the human rights framework shapes our engagements: A treasure trove of ideas and exercises to explore the framework that human rights offers. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights: Johannesburg.

Friday, 04 April 2014
Accountability and National Reconciliation in South Africa (in English and Spanish)
(Publications)

Brankovic, Jasmina. 2013. "Accountability and National Reconciliation in South Africa." Ediciones Infojus: Derechos Humanos 2, no. 4: 55-86.(Click here for Spanish-language version)An exploration of the extent of accountability and reconciliation arrived at to date in South Africa calls for a look not only at the agenda and impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but also at the role played by state and other structures after 1994. This article suggests that accountability and reconciliation have been limited, although the responsibility for this may lie more with choices made after the TRC was established than with the commission’s work itself. This article was written for a special journal issue on the 30th anniversary of  Argentina's truth commission, which includes reflections on the South African TRC.

Thursday, 13 February 2014
How others have done it: A desk study of community projects related to torture, Appendix C
(Publications)

Bantjes, Megan. 2011. How others have done it: A desk study of community projects related to torture, Appendix C. Johannesburg: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.With the aim of informing CSVR's development of a community work model to address torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, this desk study examines six community projects conducted in South Africa and in other countries. Details of four of the interventions were found in the literature and information about two projects was gathered in interviews with the staff involved. Each intervention is discussed in terms of six questions that have been found useful for thinking about community work (see Questions about community work, Appendix B). The objectives of CSVR’s community work on torture - transformation, prevention and amelioration - provide the framework for considering the implications of each of these projects for CSVR's development of a model.

Monday, 16 December 2013
Pan-African Reparation Perspectives: Special Bulletin on Reparation for Victims of Torture in Africa.
(Publications)

APDH, EIPR, CSVR, PRAWA, REDRESS. 2013. Pan-African Reparation Perspectives: Special Bulletin on Reparation for Victims of Torture in Africa. Issue 1, 26 June 2013. Actions pour la Protection des Droits de ’Homme’, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, REDRESS.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013
Perspectives Panafricaines sur la Réparation : Bulletin spécial sur la réparation pour les victimes de la torture en Afrique.
(Publications)

APDH, EIPR, CSVR, PRAWA, REDRESS. 2013. Perspectives Panafricaines sur la Réparation : Bulletin spécial sur la réparation pour les victimes de la torture en Afrique. Numéro 1 - 26 juin 2013. Actions pour la Protection des Droits de ’Homme’, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, REDRESS.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013
Advocating Justice. Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa
(Publications)

Brankovic, J. (August 2010). Advocating Justice. Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa. Workshop report. CSVR & African Transitional Justice Research Network (pdf 692Kb)

 

Abstract: The “Advocating Justice” workshop brought together Africa-based practitioners and scholars to share experiences and evaluate African civil society’s advocacy for transitional justice on the continent. Drawing on workshop papers and discussions on strategies used in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, this report examines and highlights local organisations’ central role in shaping transitional justice agendas in Africa.

Monday, 30 August 2010
Advocating Justice : Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa
(Publications)

 

In 2010, the “Advocating Justice” workshop brought together Africa-based practitioners and scholars to share experiences and evaluate African civil society’s advocacy for transitional justice on the continent. Discussing case studies from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the participants highlighted the central role local organisations play in shaping transitional justice agendas in Africa. The workshop was hosted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation on behalf of the African Transitional Justice Research Network.

 

The workshop discussions are summarised in the report, Advocating Justice: Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa.

 

Case studies:

Sierra Leone: A Long and Difficult Journey to Reconciliation - The Role of Civil Society, by John Caulker, Fambul Tok International

Liberia Case Study, by Ezekiel Pajibo, Independent Researcher

Centring Women’s Rights in Transitional Justice Processes in Northern Uganda: FIDA-Uganda’s Experience, by Kihika Sarah Kasande, FIDA-Uganda

The Coalition for Reconciliation in Uganda: Important Lessons for Proactive Civil Society Engagement in Catalysing Transitional Justice Discourse, by Stephen Oola, Advocate

Kenya Case Study, by Njonjo Mue, International Center for Transitional Justice, Kenya

Reparations Advocacy: The Case of Khulumani Support Group, by Shirley Gunn, Human Rights Media Centre

The Unfinished Business - The Case of Victims’ Unrelenting Search for Justice in Kenya, by Wachira Waheire, National Victims Network, and Davis Malombe, Kenya Human Rights Commission

Justice and Reconciliation in Rwanda: What Role for Civil Society?, by Edem Comlan, Penal Reform International, Great Lakes (Rwanda)

Advocacy for the Adoption of Transitional Justice Mechanisms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by Dieudonne Diku Mpongola, Congolese Coalition for Transitional Justice

Reparations and the African Commission: Experiences from Zimbabwe, by Roselyn Hanzi, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Advocating for the Adoption of a Holistic Transitional Justice Policy at the African Union, by George Mukundi Wachira, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

 

Tuesday, 25 May 2010
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