What are we capable of? The motivations of perpetrators in South Africa during the Apartheid era.


Bayntun, C; (2005) What are we capable of? The motivations of perpetrators in South Africa during the Apartheid era. Medicine, conflict, and survival, 21 (1). pp. 3-18. ISSN 1362-3699 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1362369042000315023

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Abstract

This article attempts to explain the motivations of perpetrators who committed violent acts in South Africa during the apartheid era. The relevant psychosocial literature is reviewed and the implicit and explicit explanations given during the amnesty hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee by perpetrators working for the state security forces are analysed. The mental health of the South African society during this period is considered, as is the role of the former white South African government and its authorities in shaping the climate for a violent struggle involving all groups. The issues of individual versus social and state culpability, accountability, justice and reconciliation are explored and their implications for the future prevention of reoccurrences are assessed. The aim of the article is to prompt readers to ask the question: what are we capable of?

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy
PubMed ID: 15690623
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4646258

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