South Africa Reconciled? To what extent can the South African society be regarded as reconciled, eighteen years after the first democratic elections?
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This study sheds light on the South African reconciliation process since 1994. It provides an overview of the most important developments up to the current state of the South African society. Special attention is paid to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its aftermath. The central argument is that reconciliation must be regarded as a combination of psychological healing (indicated by the improvement of relationships) and material enhancements (indicated by the decline of socio-economic inequality). While the reconciliation process has already made some progress, it is not completed yet. The main burden on psychological reconciliation is the limited social contact between people from different racial backgrounds, which keeps prejudices and fears in place. Regarding material reconciliation, society is still a far cry from socio-economic equality. Almost two decades after the transition, any broader societal change is yet to come. At the same time, South Africans seem to be willing to move on and to leave apartheid behind.