1 In ‘‘Racism’s Last Word’’ (1986), Jacques Derrida explicates apartheid in terms
of essential and quasi-ontological ‘‘being apart,’’ and as making that apartness
‘‘the very law of the origin’’: ‘‘apartheid: by itself the word occupies the
terrain like a concentration camp. System of partition, barbed wire, crowds of
mapped out solitudes. Within the limits of this untranslatable idiom, a violent
arrest of the mark, the glaring harshness of abstract essence [heid] seems to
speculate in another regime of abstraction, that of confined separation. The
word concentrates separation, raises it to another power, and sets separation
itself apart: ‘apartitionality,’ something like that. By isolating being apart in
some sort of essence of hypostasis, the word corrupts it into a quasi-ontological
segregation. At every point, like all racisms, it tends to pass segregation o√ as
natural—and as the very law of the origin’’ (331).
2 Hereafter, references to the Truth and Reconciliation Report will be cited in the
text by volume and page number.
3 At the second of two conferences held in 1994 to discuss the idea of a truth
commission, Albie Sachs observed: ‘‘In a sense our whole nation was complicit
in what happened in the past and we must find appropriate ways of recognising
that fact without diminishing the importance of focusing on the extreme viola-
tions which took place’’ (‘‘Task’’ 107).
4 For an account of how the bad example operates, see Keenan 45–47.
5 An excellent overview of this history is provided by Von Vegesack, De in-