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Featured Commentary: Nelson Mandela, Memory, and the Work of Justice


Verne Harris uses the 18th Alan Paton Lecture to reflect on the roles of memory in the reconstruction of South Africa in the wake of the apartheid era.  He addresses three interlinked questions: has post-apartheid memory work only scratched the surface of the country's pain and alienation; does the really hard work remain to be done; and to what extent are the failures of the post-apartheid project failures of memory?  These questions are addressed along five lines of enquiry: metarrative, access to information, healing, reconciliation and learning.  For each Harris suggests a deconstructive interrogation.  While focused on South African specificities, the enquiry speaks to global questions of transitional justice and reckoning with oppressive pasts.

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