Confronting deep wounds with radical reconciliation

Treat wounds to heal nation’s past

20 years into democracy, it is becoming more urgent that we understand and come to terms with the shared wounds of our past. In a recent article entitled ‘Demons must be confronted: Treat wounds to heal nation’s past’ Stan Henkeman from the IJR offers profound insights into the nature and experience of the wounds of exclusion. Locating these insights within a broader framework of ‘woundedness’ Henkeman asserts that it is the imperative to treat our wounded legacy.

There are crucial lessons in this article for radical reconciliation in South Africa. The word ‘radical’ means root and implies depth. In order to move to a stage of radical reconciliation we need to understand the way in which our actions and re-actions to one another are ‘rooted’ in deep, shared wounds. To come together in shared humanity implies we come to terms with the nature of our shared wounds and as Henkeman argues we heal these wounds rather than leaving them to fester. Radical reconciliation must include the honest engagement with what continues to infect our collective psyche.

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