Building Trust Between Factions in South Africa

Ron Fisher

Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution, School of International Service, American University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A: Everyone finds what happens in South Africa inspirational. There is a small slice of that which involved a series of quite unofficial meetings between high level ANC folks coming unofficially, and people on the other side who were very well connected to the national government, like people in the Afrikaans Brotherhood. These were initiated and facilitated by, believe it or not, a mining company and a business firm with interests who had people in its human relations department with some expertise to bring folks together and provide a forum to initiate some discussions that helped pave the way toward negotiations by building understanding and trust. Obviously many people in South Africa, especially what was previously the Center for Inter group Relations, did a lot of work, I don't know the case well, but I know a lot of people did a lot. This is just one slice but it seems to be an essential slice of how South Africa got on the road to peace when it did. That is fairly inspirational. We need more.