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Walk with Us and Listen: Political Reconciliation in Africa
by Charles Villa-Vicencio
foreword by Desmond Tutu and Desmond Tutu
Georgetown University Press, 2009
eISBN: 978-1-58901-883-9 | Paper: 978-1-58901-572-2
Library of Congress Classification JZ5584.A35V55 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 303.69096


Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict, open warfare, and mass atrocities toward peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that make political stability, the beginning of democracy, and the rule of law a possibility.

For over forty years, Charles Villa-Vicencio has been on the front lines of Africa's battle for racial equality. In Walk with Us and Listen, he argues that reconciliation needs honest talk to promote trust building and enable former enemies and adversaries to explore joint solutions to the cause of their conflicts. He offers a critical assessment of the South African experiment in transitional justice as captured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and considers the influence of ubuntu, in which individuals are defined by their relationships, and other traditional African models of reconciliation. Political reconciliation is offered as a cautious model against which transitional politics needs to be measured. Villa-Vicencio challenges those who stress the obligation to prosecute those allegedly guilty of gross violation of human rights, replacing this call with the need for more complementarity between the International Criminal Court and African mechanisms to achieve the greater goals of justice and peace building.

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