Quote of the week

This is a book of desire denied, of what the pain of that impotence drives people to do, and how it makes them unwilling contortionists and even co-conspirators in their oppression. From ‘The Transformation of Harry’: “And there we all were; in an uncertain country, ourselves uncertain. A land with a sly heart; and ourselves ready to be deceived.” For if colonialism was any one thing it was denial: denial of land, denial of African culture, denial of any form of psychic nourishment—including hope—denial of black existence itself. And neocolonialism is the denial that any of that is still happening. First published in 1978, The House of Hunger speaks, or rather shouts, forward from its own time to 2017. Perhaps the most painful parts of the book to read are those that show how little has changed in thirty-nine years. For if colonialism was any one thing it was denial: denial of land, denial of African culture, denial of any form of psychic nourishment—including hope—denial of black existence itself. And neocolonialism is the denial that any of that is still happening.

Efemia Chela
On The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera
8 January 2010

Book announcement: “Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa”

Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa

Author: C Villa Vicencio

ISBN: 978-1-91989-530-7

Size: 225 x 152mm

Extent: 224 pages

Format: Soft cover

Pub date: September 2009

Recommended Retail Price: R220 (incl. VAT)

Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict and open warfare towards peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that makes political stability, the beginning of democracy and the rule of law a possibility. For over 40 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.

Contents Abbreviations Introduction A Theoretical Prologue: Affinities and Tensions in Debate Chapter 1: An African Journey Chapter 2: Shared Peace Chapter 3: From Encounter to Settlement Chapter 4: National Conversation Chapter 5: Ubuntu Chapter 6: African Traditional Reconciliation Practices Chapter 7: Why Reconciliation is Important Chapter 8: Seeking Consensus Recommended for Students and practitioners in law, human rights, transitional justice, politics and international relations.

About the author

Charles Villa-Vicencio is a visiting research fellow at The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and executive consultant 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 18 books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights and The Spirit of Freedom: South African Leaders on Religion and Politics.

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