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Centre for the Study of Violence & Reconciliation, South Africa

From 1995 to early 2001, Brandon Hamber managed the The Transition & Reconciliation Unit (TRU) at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa. It was initially know as the Project on Truth and Reconciliation and expanded into a full Unit as its work developed. The Unit (or TRU), which still operates now under the management of Tlhoki Mofokeng, focuses its attention on the impact of the violence associated with the political conflict of the past. It concentrates on reconciliation as a strategy for dealing with the legacy of this violence. The Unit engages in intervention and policy work in this area that is aimed at entrenching a human rights culture, empowering survivors of apartheid violence and healing the wounds of the past.

The Unit develops (and has developed) constructive and holistic ways of dealing with changes in South African society. TRU, under the leadership of Brandon Hamber, conducted over 200 education workshops on the TRC. The research arm of the Unit also produced some 30 publications evaluating the work of the TRC and its implications for reconciliation. In addition, the Unit made several submissions to the TRC, i.e. on the role of the judiciary in the past, survivors' perceptions of the process.

The TRU also helped set up the Khulumani Victim Support Group and has worked with them consistently over the years. However, when the TRC began to wind down in 1998 and as a result the Transition and Reconciliation Unit began to shift its focus into a range of new (but related) principle areas. This was considered vital so as to entrench the successes of the TRC process in the countries. The main areas of work of the Transition and Reconciliation Unit of the CSVR included evaluating the impact of the TRC, empowering civil society and victims in preparation for the end of the TRC and creating reconciliation initiatives that would carry the work of the TRC forward in sustainable and practical ways.

The evaluation of the TRC and the application of its lessons to other conflict situations still continues as a mainstay of the Unit's work. Simultaneously, the Unit, under the leadership of Tlhoki Mofokeng, has begun to apply itself to the challenges of the post-TRC period. The two major programmes undertaken in 2000 were the Research and Advocacy Programme and the Reconciliation and Intervention Programme.

Project Website (External Link)

Truth Commission Publications of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)

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