Original Articles

Forgiveness and the Well-Being of Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF): A Process for Discussion

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 4, 2008 , pages: 669–674
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820250
Author(s): Gideon A.J. van DykStellenbosch University,


Africa is a continent of conflict, violence and war. South Africa, with a recent history of apartheid and current high percentage of crime is no exception. Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) take part in peacekeeping operations in Africa and managing traumatic situations. A number of these members struggle with unfinished business stemming from these traumatic experiences. Forgiveness could assist SANDF members to get closure on feelings of resentment, rejection, aggression and hate from war related trauma. This article considers the implications of forgiveness on the well-being of SANDF members, the process and different levels of forgiveness, how social workers, psychologists and chaplains can facilitate the development of a culture and willingness to forgive within the SANDF.

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