The absurdity of reconciliation. What we (should) learn from Rustenburg and the implications for South Africa
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The quest for reconciliation in South Africa is an exercise in the absurd. To say it is an exercise for the absurd might also have some merit. Like Sisyphus, the figure in Greek mythology, those engaged in the quest for reconciliation are condemned to repeat forever the same, in some cases, meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain only to see it roll down again. This is amid the human propensity to forever search for meaning irrespective of the incongruity of the ideal and the absurdity that defines our existence. The illogicality of apartheid and the subsequent pain and alienation continues to be a defining feature of a country trying to come to terms not what it ought to be, but what it is – chaotic, irrational and sometimes meaningless. In this context, Rustenburg is a symbol of the audacity to dream of something beyond the absurd. Moreover, invoking a theology of reconciliation to achieve something extraordinary amid an uncertain future.