Skip to main content Accessibility help

Revenge and forgiveness in the New South Africa

  • Dan Joseph Stein (a1), Jack van Honk (a1) and George Ellis (a2)


Insofar as South Africa underwent a rapid transformation from apartheid to democracy, it may provide a unique laboratory for investigating aspects of revenge and forgiveness. Here we suggest that observations and data from South Africa are partially consistent with the hypotheses generated by MCullough and colleagues. At the same time, the rich range of revenge and forgiveness phenomena in real-life settings is likely to require explanatory concepts other than specialized modules and their computational outputs.



Hide All
Allan, A., Allan M, M., Kaminer, D. & Stein, D. J. (2006) Exploration of the association between apology and forgiveness amongst victims of human rights violations. Behavioral Science and the Law 24(1):87102.
Asmal, K., Asmal, L. & Roberts S, R. (1996) Reconciliation through truth: A reckoning of apartheid's criminal governance. David Phillip.
Boulding, K. E. (1969) Economics as a moral science. The American Economic Review 59(1):112.
de Quervain, D. J.-F., Fischbacher, U., Treyer, V., Schellhammer, M., Schnyder, U., Buck, A. & Fehr, E. (2004) The neural basis of altruistic punishment. Science 305(5688):1254–58.
de Waal, F. B. M. (2000) Primates – A natural heritage of conflict resolution. Science 289(5479):586–90.
Johnson, M. (1993) Moral imagination: Implications of cognitive science for ethics. University of Chicago Press.
Kaminer, D, Stein, D. J., Mbanga, I. & Zungu-Dirwayi, N. (2001) The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa: Relation to psychiatric status and forgiveness among survivors of human rights abuses. The British Journal of Psychiatry; The Journal of Mental Science 178:373–77.
Stein, D. J. (1998) Psychiatric aspects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The British Journal of Psychiatry; The Journal of Mental Science 173:455–57.
Stein, D. J. & Kaminer, D. (2006) Forgiveness and psychopathology: Psychobiological and evolutionary underpinnings. CNS Spectrums 11(2):8789.
Stein, D. J., Seedat, S., Kaminer, D., Moomal, H., Herman, A., Sonnega, J. & Williams, D. R. (2008) The impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on psychological distress and forgiveness in South Africa. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 43(6):462–68.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed