The Relationship between remorse and offering forgiveness: selected case studies from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
This study investigates three case studies, namely, the “Pepco Three”, the “St James Church incident”, and the “Gugulethu Seven incident” from the perspective of ongoing reflections on the nature of reconciliation in the sub-discipline of Systematic Theology. The research problem that is investigated in this project is: What role did visible signs of remorse (or its absence) play in the willingness or unwillingness of victims (or their close relatives) to offer forgiveness to the perpetrators of gross violations of human rights related to the three cases studies mentioned from the amnesty hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission, namely the “Pepco Three” the “St James Church massacre incident”, the “Gugulethu Seven”. In each case study, the crucial question that will be asked is whether the victims or their relatives understand forgiveness as something that is conditional and part of a longer process of reconciliation, or whether they understand forgiveness as something that can be offered unconditionally. The research draws on some standard theological literature with specific reference to literature on the concepts of reconciliation, forgiveness and remorse emerging in the aftermath of the South African TRC. This is followed by a description and critical analysis of the three identified case studies. In each case, I listened to the recordings, read the transcriptions, and considered the available secondary material on the case studies.