Non-Fiction Books:

When Political Transitions Work

Reconciliation as Interdependence
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When Political Transitions Work by Fanie du Toit
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The peaceful end of apartheid in South Africa was a monumental event in late twentieth century history. A racist regime built upon a foundation of colonialist exploitation, South Africa had become by that point a tinderbox: suffused with day-to-day violence and political extremism on all sides. Yet two decades later it was a stable democracy with a growing economy. How did such a deeply divided, conflicted society manage this remarkable transition?In When Political Transitions Work, Fanie du Toit, who has been a participant and close observer in post-conflict developments throughout Africa for decades, offers a new theory for why South Africa's reconciliation worked and why its lessons remain relevant for other nations emerging from civil conflicts. He uses reconciliation as a framework for political transition and seeks to answer three key questions: how do the reconciliation processes begin; how can political transitions result in inclusive and fair institutional change; and to what extent does reconciliation change the way a society functions? Looking at South Africa, one of reconciliation's most celebrated cases, Du Toit shows that the key ingredient to successful reconciliations is acknowledging the centrality of relationships. He further develops his own theoretical approach to reconciliation-as-interdependence-the idea that reconciliation is the result of an integrated process of courageous leadership, fair and inclusive institutions, and social change built toward a mutual goal of prosperity. As Du Toit conveys, the motivation for reconciliation is the long-term well-being of one's own community, as well as that of enemy groups. Without ensuring the conditions in which one's enemy can flourish, one's own community is unlikely to prosper sustainably.

Author Biography

Fanie du Toit is the Chief Technical Advisor for Reconciliation at the UNDP Iraq office since 2016 when he stepped down as the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in Cape Town, South Africa. His main interest, as practitioner and scholar, is on the relationship between reconciliation and transitional justice processes in societies emerging from conflict and political oppression. In 1995, he completed a Doctoral Degree in Philosophy of Religion at Oxford University-focusing on religious truth in plural societies. In 2007, he received UNESCO's International Prize for Peace Education on behalf of the IJR, for work done on post-apartheid curriculum development, mainly in the areas of history and civic education. In 2014, he was appointed Honorary Associate Professor to UCT's Department of Political Studies.
Release date Australia
August 15th, 2018
  • Professional & Vocational
Country of Publication
United States
Oxford University Press Inc
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