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Should forgiveness be granted without an apology from the perpetrator?

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One of the ongoing discussions surrounding the popularised “cancel culture” is centred on the issue of forgiveness, questioning if the perpetrator should be accepted by society without an explicit apology.

The popularised term, cancel culture, went from being a buzz word on social media, to a political term that has become formalised and integrated into the politics of the Me Too movement. While this article aims not to discuss the concept of cancel culture, but rather, to question if forgiveness should be granted once a person has been “cancelled.”

This was brought up by a tweet from South Africa’s Rocking the Daisies organiser, George Avakian, who questioned if he should extend an invitation to Nigerian musician, Burna Boy. In his post, he stated, “Are you guys over the whole Burna Boy thing?” This after Burna Boy was involved in a feud with South African rapper, AKA, over the violent unrest in the country in 2019.

It is speculated that the feud between the two artists was personal, following the demise of their friendship. That, however, does not change the fact that Burna Boy addressed an entire nation in his inflammatory tweets, which is why South Africa “cancelled” him. Moreover, instead of admitting to not understanding the political motive behind the alleged xenophobic attacks, he continued to add fuel to the fire with his commentary.

With that said, if one does not acknowledge one’s faults, should society still forgive them in the hopes that they will eventually understand and acknowledge their mistakes?

Sabelo Makhubo

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