SA a broken nation, thanksgiving service told

Johannesburg - South Africa is a broken nation due to the violent history that preceded democracy, Father Michael Lapsley said on Friday.

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

"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 sight in one eye during a letter-bomb attack by a covert apartheid agency in 1990, asked why South Africa was an angry nation as 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 with God's help "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.

'Centuries of pain'

"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.


Among those present at the ceremony were North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau, and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Congregants travelled from as far as the Northern Cape and the Western Cape to be part of the ceremony.

People from different denominations were dressed in colourful church regalia for the occasion.

President Jacob Zuma was expected to deliver the main address.

Read more on: soweto johannesburg crime
Paige Turner 2014/08/15 01:12:21 PM
And SA is even more traumatised now because many of us had high expectation of change in 1994, but in many respects the nation has slid closer to the edge of the abyss of anarchy, crime and poverty.
Petrus Kruger 2014/08/15 01:13:37 PM
sadly .. now also a very corrupt one !
Sonya Nel 2014/08/15 01:14:34 PM
Goed gese Johan. Maar hulle kan ons nie meer die skuld gee vir 20 jasr se k*k wat hulle aan hulle eie mense gedoen het nie!!
SunshinyDay 2014/08/15 01:16:19 PM
Yes we have an unfair and violent history, but it certainly isn't any excuse for the violence now. Many people committing crimes are young people, teenagers and in their 20's. They have NO reason to be so violent. And it's not just a certain group that are victims of violent crimes, EVERYONE is affected. NO ONE is safe in this country and it's NOT Apartheids fault, it's the fact that the police are not effective, the courts are a joke and there is no serious punishment for criminals in this country anymore. All things that are happening NOW that were NOT like this in the past.
Susan Pretorius 2014/08/15 01:16:49 PM
Well that is very funny, seeing that more people get murdered per WEEK now than in 40 years op apartheid....
Lukas Ekisjouvaader 2014/08/15 01:20:42 PM
I see he is a British baby, they were not allowed to export arms to South Africa preceding democracy.
Anne Thrax 2014/08/15 01:21:08 PM
Global warming...continental shift...tsunamis. ..go ahead..blame apartheid. ..but never ever take responsibility. ..
Ronnie Jansen van Rensburg 2014/08/15 01:22:01 PM
Another stirrer. 20 years down the line and the country is more broken than it ever was due to the miss governing. Why cant they stop blaming apartheid. In 20 years they have not been able to show us how a democratic country we could be
Hank Thetank 2014/08/15 01:23:42 PM
The ANC have done nothing but rape the tax payer for every dime so that they and their families could all become stinking rich. Power & greed is all that's important to them Failing to run this country like a Govt should is why we in such a mess, ravaged by violent crime, hatred and racism which they continue to preach. The ANC have FAILED the people of SA and should step down.
Rocky Bell 2014/08/15 01:27:09 PM
"South Africa is a broken nation due to the violent history that preceded democracy, Father Michael Lapsley said on Friday" ===================================================================== So the claim that mandela brought peace, reconciliation and direction is nul and void. Lapsley, you want to know the reason why we are a broken nation today: Black people were promised heaven and earth by CancER 20 years ago which was unreachable and after all this time still leave them desponded. It is common knowledge that every thing going wrong under CancER's misrule is blamed on apartheid reviving hate for whites. BLAME THE ANC - they need to take sole responsibility for the state this nation is in. To remind you: On the 17 March 1992 nearly 70% of whites voted in favour of a united and prosperous South Africa sharing it with all groups - in effect handing a first world country on a plate to blacks...........what have they done with this first world infrastructure?