The paradigm of justice, which animated the post-war struggle for independence in equatorial Africa, has collapsed. Rights have ascended, going by the name of 'reconciliation' in contemporary South Africa. The pendulum has shifted from one to the other, best illustrated by the 'social revolution' of 1959 in Rwanda and post-apartheid 'reconciliation' in South Africa.
Rwanda represents a case of justice without reconciliation, post-apartheid South Africa reconciliation without justice. Our dilemma is how to transcend the polarity between justice and reconciliation. Are we condemned to choose between the two? Or is a measure of justice a necessary ingredient for a durable reconciliation? To manage the tension between reconciliation and justice creatively we need to think of reconciliation as political and social, and justice as social and systemic. More ...