Original Research

The knowledge and perceptions of history students of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

M Oelofse, A Oosthuysen
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 10, No 1 | a23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v10i1.23 | © 2014 M Oelofse, A Oosthuysen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2016 | Published: 30 July 2014

About the author(s)

M Oelofse, Department of History, University of the Free State, South Africa
A Oosthuysen, Department of History, University of the Free State, South Africa

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Using the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (TRC) and the concept of reconciliation as a case study, the article attempts to assess the knowledge and understanding of the registered undergraduate history students at the University of the Free State’s main campus about the TRC and the concept and process of reconciliation in the country at large. The research will firstly assess whether the younger generation of students, specifically students taking history as a subject, have any knowledge of such a significant and contemporary event in South African historiography as the TRC process. Secondly, in relation to the aims and recommendations of the TRC and against the background of reconciliation efforts in the country, to perceive the views and thoughts of undergraduate history students on the progress in reconciliation endeavours in South Africa. As a result, a sample of 128 undergraduate history students was randomly selected to complete a quantitative questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of both closed and open-ended questions. Group interviews, as a qualitative research method, were added and used to conduct interviews with 16 undergraduate history students selected randomly and answers were recorded. Accordingly, an explanatory mixed- method research method approach was employed by implementing both the qualitative and quantitative method.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (TRC); reconciliation; views and perceptions; University of the Free State (UFS) main campus; undergraduate history students


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