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 dialog 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.
Charles Villa-Vicencio is a visiting research fellow at The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting professor in the Conflict Resolution Program, both at Georgetown University. He is also a senior research fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He was executive director of the Institute from 2000-2007. He was also national research director of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is the author or editor of eighteen books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights, The Spirit of Freedom: South African Leaders on Religion and Politics, and The Provocations of Amnesty: Memory, Justice and Impunity.
Foreword, by Desmond Mpilo Tutu Introduction: Where Past and Present Meet Prologue: Affinities and Tensions in Debate 1. An African Journey 2. Shared Peace 3. From Encounter to Settlement 4. National Conversation in South Africa 5. Ubuntu 6. Traditional African Reconciliation Practices 7. Why Reconciliation is Important 8. Seeking Consensus NotesBibliographyIndex