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.
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.
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.