“A Person is a Person Through Other Persons”: Reaccentuating Ubuntu in Greensboro

  • James Edward BeitlerIII
Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ)


This chapter analyzes the discourse surrounding the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (GTRC) Swearing In and Seating Ceremony—focusing on a speech delivered by Reverend Bongani Finca, a former commissioner on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission—to show how advocates of the GTRC reaccentuated the South African notion of ubuntu in order to build solidarity between Greensboro and South African stakeholders and thereby establish the GTRC’s authority. Through his speech, Finca endorsed the GTRC commissioners, entrusted the people of Greensboro with the truth commission model, and established the GTRC’s status in the community. As he did so, he also called community members to embrace ubuntu, both explicitly and implicitly. The chapter concludes by analyzing the front and back covers of the GTRC’s Final Report, noting how the commissioners drew upon the notion of ubuntu to position themselves and the covers’ viewers.


Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ubuntu Authority Reaccentuation Rhetorical tradition Subject position Bongani Finca Desmond Tutu 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Edward BeitlerIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Feinstein College of Arts and SciencesRoger Williams UniversityBristolUSA

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