Critical Appraisal of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission on Gukurahundi


  • Likhwa Ncube Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Postal address: PO Box 524 Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa.


National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), Gukurahundi, Victim-centred approach, Victims’ justice, Survivor’s justice


This paper explores two emerging optimistic perspectives regarding the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and its efforts to address the Gukurahundi crisis in Zimbabwe. One perspective suggests the potential for victim-centred discussions to resolve Gukurahundi, focusing on filling the epistemic gap in victims’ accounts. It terms this the ‘plugging the epistemic gap’ argument. The second perspective acknowledges imperfect progress, contrasting with past neglect, labelled the ‘half a loaf is better than nothing’ argument. While the paper supports both optimistic views, it offers additional clarifications, advocating for a cautious approach. It addresses three main aspects: (i) technical challenges in framing the NPRC’s outcomes around forgiveness, (ii) reconciling victims’ justice with NPRC’s institutional goals, and (iii) a detailed clarification and nuance of the ‘plugging the epistemic gap’ argument, stressing the urgency of addressing specific gap at stake. Additionally, the paper critically evaluates the NPRC’s victim-centred approach, revealing a discrepancy between its claim of prioritizing ‘victims’ justice’ and its actual focus on ‘survivors’ justice’, underscoring the significance of this distinction.