‘New wine, old wineskins’: a comparative study of interfaith engagement and transitional justice in Kenya and South Africa

by Martin Munyao

25 May 2021
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
23 (pp. 103-125)

Abstract: Transitional justice (TJ) is an approach that has been used by states to bring hope and renaissance in addressing past injustices. Unfortunately, transitional justice mechanisms have been ambiguous and often yield underwhelming results. While various components that constitute human societies have been incorporated in Africa’s journey towards resolving historical injustices, religion has been casually utilised, if not altogether ignored. An interfaith approach to addressing a violent past has not been exploited, yet religion played a significant role in South Africa’s (SA) post-apartheid era and Kenya’s second liberation from KANU’s single-party rule. This article will highlight the insufficiencies and gains made by past TJ mechanisms in Kenya and SA. The article will also discuss the place of interfaith engagement in confronting structural violence. Lastly, improving on SA’s TJ model, it will suggest an interfaith agenda for TJ that mitigates the horrors of historical injustices for reconciliation, peace, and stability in Kenya.

Keywords: Transitional justice, violence, (multi)interfaith, injustices, religion.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 2 (Transitional Justice Discourse in Post-Conflict Societies in Africa).

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