Apartheid and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Background information when reading The Promise

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The Promise

by Damon Galgut

The Promise by Damon Galgut X
The Promise by Damon Galgut
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2021, 256 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2022, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Apartheid and South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

This article relates to The Promise

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1999 Damon Galgut's novel The Promise is set in South Africa during the dismantling of the country's apartheid system. In this period, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to deal with the after-effects of apartheid, and the body is mentioned several times throughout the book.

After the National Party took power in South Africa in 1948, they installed an all-white government and began to legislate a system that codified existing racial inequities into law and built on a history of racist policies. This system became known as apartheid (meaning "apartness" in Afrikaans), a word used as a campaign slogan/promise during the election that put the National Party in control. Over time, the restrictions and abuses leveled at the country's non-white majority became increasingly severe; Black people and other residents of color were forcibly removed from their property and prohibited from owning land in about 80% of the country, "pass laws" were instituted — ...

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