Reparations in South Africa: A Cautionary Tale

39 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2010

See all articles by Erin Daly

Erin Daly

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: 2003


The South African experience with reparations is an important object lesson for any major effort to seek reparations to the descendents of slaves in the United States. However, the aspect of the TRC's reparations plan that has proved most problematic is the recommendation for monetary payments to "victims" of gross human rights abuses. Although emphasizing the importance of reparations to the victims, the TRC failed to ensure that reparations would be paid. Like the victims’ movements in South Africa, the American movement for reparations for victims and descendants of slavery should consider a range of monetary as well as non-monetary forms of reparation and should seek to develop a meaningful social discourse on race and injustice. The analysis is informed by the experience of members of the South African victims’ movement.

Keywords: Reparations, South Africa, Restorative Justice, Human Rights, Truth And Reconciliation Commissions, United States

JEL Classification: K00, D63

Suggested Citation

Daly, Erin, Reparations in South Africa: A Cautionary Tale (2003). University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 33, pp. 367-407, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Erin Daly (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States
302-477-2143 (Phone)
304-477-2257 (Fax)

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