Civil society and reconciliation in Southern Africa

This article presents some of the key findings of the Southern African Reconciliation Project (SARP). The SARP was a collaborative research project involving five Southern African NGOs in Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. It examined how the concept of reconciliation was understood in political and community contexts in Southern Africa and investigated the ways in which national government policies and civil-society participation in reconciliation initiatives have opened up and/or foreclosed on opportunities for reconciliation, transitional justice, and the promotion of a culture of human rights. The author summarises the historical context of reconciliation in Southern Africa, outlines the reconciliation initiatives in each country, and identifies emerging debates around and principles of reconciliation that have surfaced in the work of civil-society organisations (CSOs) in the region.