SA is ‘a broken, traumatised nation’, says Michael Lapsley

2014-08-15 13:50

South Africa is a broken nation due to the violent history that preceded democracy, Anglican priest Michael Lapsley has said.

“Every day we see incidents of our moral and spiritual injustices,” he told hundreds of people gathered at Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto today.

“Can you finish reading a paper without seriously saying we are a traumatised nation?”

He was speaking at a national interfaith thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate 20 years of freedom in South Africa.

Lapsley, who lost both hands and the sight in one eye during a letter bomb attack by a covert apartheid agency in 1990, asked why South Africa was an angry nation whereas poorer countries were not.

“Behind our anger lies brokenness, unfulfilled dreams and disillusion. Poverty traumatised people and oppression dehumanises people,” he said.

Reflecting on the country’s history and the freedom struggle, he asked, 24 years after he had received the letter bomb, why he survived.

He said the journey of healing South Africa entailed many generations, but “we can undertake the journey of becoming a nation of wounded healers”.

“Gentler, kinder and more just.”

Lapsley said those who had fought apartheid were not left untainted. The notion of healing was one which was not truly tested during the dawn of democracy.

“Maybe it was our Western ways that fooled us into believing we could heal centuries of pain.”

He said the lives of many were shaped and misshaped by what had happened in the country during apartheid.

Professor Farid Esack spoke about the role that churches played during the fight against apartheid.

He said the situation facing the country brought forward some of the best religious leaders the world had ever seen.

“Those leaders like Desmond Tutu, Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, spoke out when it was not sexy to do so,” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.