This paper sets out to advance the concept of an ‘epistemology of compassion’ first proposed by Vandeyar (2013; 2016). Utilising a single embedded case study and the theoretical mooring of post-conflict pedagogy this paper attempts to find links between Jansen’s perceptions of a post-conflict pedagogy and Freirean pedagogy and to argue a case for a ‘pedagogy of compassion’ as a possible approach to addressing and transforming education in post-apartheid South Africa. Data capture comprised a mix of semi-structured interviews, observations and field notes. Data was analysed by means of the content analysis method. Findings were threefold. First, the implementation of a ‘pedagogy of compassion’ enabled the teacher to dismantle polarised thinking and to shatter the polite silence of post-apartheid South African society. Second, teachers not only need to be able to raise the critical consciousness of learners but they need to adopt an ‘epistemology of compassion’ in order to enable learners to become active critical citizens, imbued with a sense of common humanity and compassion. And third, becoming an agent of transformative change may challenge the very premise of teachers’ identities and practices, but by empowering the learner to exert influence on her world, the teacher is in turn also changed and empowered.