We Can Heal the Wounds

The Fiji Times Online (Suva, Fiji), December 3, 2006


Father Lapsley’s decade-and-a-half-long activism against South African apartheid, both from within and outside that State, could have ended in him living the rest of his life bitter and a victim. In 1990, a letter bomb delivered to him in Harare, Zimbabwe, from the then South African Government destroyed his hands, an eye, and left his eardrums shattered, among other injuries.

Yet today, this physically-impaired, soft spoken Anglican priest believes that individuals in countries that have experienced conflict must be allowed to deal with how they have been affected by their nation’s past, so that both, they and their nation, can break free from the past and move forward.

And, they must do so moving away from a purely intellectual understanding and interpretation of the past, and bare their hearts to reveal often deeply buried emotions and scars so healing can begin to take place.

Such a framework is provided for in workshops conducted by the South Africa-based Institute for the Healing of Memories, which Father Lapsley helped to launch in Cape Town in 1998, after repatriating to South Africa in 1992.

The workshops at the institute feature a key element in Father Lapsley’s own journey to recovery that “every story needs a listener”.


Subjects Covered: education, healing, personal storytelling

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