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Lapsley slams ‘culture of greed’ - Pretoria News - 6 Feb 2012

07 February 2012
Lapsley slams ‘culture of greed’ - Pretoria News - 6 Feb 2012

February 6 2012
By Mogomotsi Magome - Independent Newspapers

Renowned anti-apartheid activist Father Michael Lapsley. Photo: Jeffrey Abrahams

Renowned anti-apartheid activist Father Michael Lapsley has bemoaned the culture of greed and corruption in SA, saying it is the biggest threat to the country’s prosperity.
Lapsley was deeply involved in the liberation Struggle and was expelled from SA and forced into exile for his political activities. He lost both hands and sight of one eye when he was a victim of a letter bomb sent to him by the apartheid government while he was in Zimbabwe in 1990.
Lapsley, an Anglican priest, told the Pretoria News on Sunday that the growing extent of inequality was a ticking time bomb for the country, and needed urgent attention.
“The road to the project that we dreamt of during the liberation Struggle is very rocky and still very long. The main challenge we have is the growing extent of greed and corruption.
“What we see now is that political elites have lost sight of what the liberation Struggle was for. We need to ask ourselves what it was that made us fight against apartheid.
“There are some worrying signs that seem to suggest that we have forgotten what it was that we were trying to achieve when we fought apartheid,” said Lapsley.
According to Lapsley, the wealth gap in SA made it the most skewed nation in terms of economic inequality in the world and this did not bode well for a county that overcame so many obstacles.
“If you look at the public display of individual wealth by some of our political elites when there is so much poverty in this country, it really means that we need spiritual and moral transformation.”
He said the centenary of the ANC should be used as a time to reflect on whether the liberation movement had achieved what it was meant to.
Since his recovery from the horrendous bombing that would change his life for ever, Lapsley has never stopped his work towards enriching the rest of humanity.
Through his Institute for Healing of Memories, Lapsley has travelled across the country, African continent and the world working with communities struggling to come to terms with the negative impact of the past. The organisation works with people from a diversity of backgrounds, including refugees, offenders, sufferers of HIV/Aids and victims of domestic violence.
This has seen him taking part in workshops in countries including East Timor, Rwanda and Northern Ireland.
“My work with this organisation which I founded in 1998 has been about that journey that we have travelled to get to where we are and also about the journey that I have travelled personally.
“Since the bombing, I have travelled a long journey getting good medical treatment, but I also needed healing and support which I received in abundance.
“I moved from being a victim to helping others who need healing and support to deal with the horrendous things that happened in their past. Even prisoners need healing because as much as most of them have done horrendous things in the past, they have also had horrible things done to them,” he said.
He said the work of NGOs was being undermined by the lack of funding due to global economic challenges.
“It is a global phenomenon not just here in South Africa but across the world. Here we are challenged mostly because there is not enough financial support from the government and most NGOs rely on international funding.
“Those are the countries that are currently facing serious economic challenges and it has affected how much they fund NGOs on the African continent,” said Lapsley.
Lapsley will this year publish a memoir titled From Freedom Fighter to Healer, in which he will share his journey from the liberation movement to his current work as a healer of communities.
“I believe I have lived fully and am satisfied that even if I die tomorrow I would have made my contribution and received as much as I could have from this world,” said Lapsley.

About Us

The Institute for the Healing of Memories seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communities and nations. Our work is grounded in the belief that we are all in need of healing, because of what we have done, what we have failed to do, and what has been done to us.

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  • Institute for Healing of Memories
    5 Eastry Road, Claremont,
    Cape Town, 7708, South Africa

  • +27 21 683 6231