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Survey of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, 2000-2001 (ICPSR 4030)

Principal Investigator(s): Gibson, James L., Washington University in St. Louis. Department of Political Science


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between truth acceptance and reconciliation among South Africans during and since the political transition from Apartheid to democracy. The study investigated the extent to which South Africans participated in the truth as promulgated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the degree to which they were "reconciled." The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was based on the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995. The TRC investigated past gross human rights violations and granted amnesty to individuals in exchange for full and public disclosure of information related to these crimes. The hypothesis that truth acceptance leads to reconciliation was tested in this research. Data were collected through a rigorous and systematic survey of South Africans. Nearly all relevant segments of the South African population were included in the sample, as well as representative subsamples of at least 250 respondents of most major racial/ethnic/linguistic groups. Questions about the TRC investigated respondent awareness, knowledge, and approval of the activities of the TRC. Respondents were asked for their opinions on the effectiveness of the TRC in its efforts to provide a true and unbiased account of South Africa's history and in awarding compensation to those who suffered abuses under the Apartheid regime. Other questions about the TRC asked respondents how important it was to find out the truth about the past and achieve racial reconciliation. Demographic variables include age, marital status, education level, and employment status.

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Study Description


Gibson, James L. SURVEY OF TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTH AFRICA, 2000-2001. ICPSR04030-v1. Johannesburg, South Africa: Decision Surveys International [producer], 2004. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2004. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04030.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04030.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES 9906576)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    amnesty, Apartheid, attitudes, Black White relations, democracy, human rights, human rights violations, political change, race, racial attitudes, tolerance

Geographic Coverage:    South Africa, Global

Time Period:   

  • 2000--2001

Date of Collection:   

  • 2000-11--2001-02

Universe:    South African population, aged 18 and over.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) This study was conducted in collaboration with Amanda Gouws (Stellenbosch University, South Africa), Charles Villa-Vicencio (Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa), and Helen Macdonald (Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa).(2) Two weight variables are included in the dataset. One weight variable (NATWT) should be used when analysis is not conducted by race, and the other (RACEWT) should be used when conducting analyses comparing respondent race. (3) Users must cite the original NSF grant number in all materials produced from this project.


Sample:    The area probability sample included a primary sample of South Africans of all races and a boost sample of white South Africans. Representative subsamples of at least 250 respondents of most major racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups were also included.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Response Rates:    A total of 3,727 interviews were completed. In the primary sample, 3,139 interviews were completed. The boost sample included 588 completed interviews. The overall response rate for the survey was approximately 87 percent.


Original ICPSR Release:   2004-10-08

Version History:

  • 2005-12-15 On 2005-08-15 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-12-15 to reflect these additions.

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