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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Apartheid sought to dehumanise Black people by reducing them to units of labour to serve white-owned industry in perpetuity. The policy was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations. After the first democratic election in the country’s history, in 1994, there was a need to reckon with the past and work towards developing a cohesive society. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began public hearings in 1996. The commission provided a platform for apartheid victims to tell their stories and for perpetrators of human rights violations to apply for amnesty. The commission also made far-reaching recommendations on reparations and redress, most of which were never implemented by the State.