Christine Anthonissen


This article uses Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodological framework for
considering the ways in which Die Kerkbode mediated the South African Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) from 1995 to 2001. It reflects on the reasonable
expectations one could have of a publication of the nature of Die Kerkbode, the
official publication of the Dutch Reformed Church, with its very specific readership.
It also reflects on how such expectations were met. The analysis indicates how an
early position of doubt in the integrity of the TRC process gradually developed into
one that responded sensitively to the volume of testimonies to human rights abuses
of the years of struggle. However, it also indicates a primary interest in the image of
the DRC and its own participation (or not) in the TRC processes. There is no
coverage of particular narratives of the special event hearings, the Human Righrts
Violations hearings or the Amnesty hearings. No reference is made to real events
which were topicalised during the TRC hearings themselves. Eventually, in 2001
there appears to be a return to a position that questions the value of the TRC and is
concerned more with amnesty for all than with restitution for those who suffered.
This calls for further reflection on why the DRC could at the time not respond with
more empathy and a more considered notion of reconciliation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/83-0-883


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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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