Father Michael Lapsley. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency.
Cape Town - The Institute for Healing of Memories is celebrating 20 years of acknowledging wounds of a troubled nation and facilitating workshops that promote individual and community healing.

The institute was founded by Father Michael Lapsley who lost his hands and an eye in a letter bomb attack by the apartheid security forces in 1990. Inspired by Father Lapsley’s perseverance, the institute encourages people to use their past and circumstances to better themselves, their relationships, and their communities.

Today, the institute hosts workshops that address prevalent issues in South Africa, from racism, gangsterism and crime to school bullying and teenage pregnancy. Workshops are hosted by facilitators trained to monitor discussions on sensitive topics and manage groups that include perpetrators and victims.

Kurt Holmes, one of the institute’s facilitators, said: “We all have something to be healed from. It is not an overnight solution. We equip people with the tools to help them move on from issues.”

The workshops emphasise and focus on people’s emotional responses and experiences, aiming for individual reconciliation through the sharing of interconnected stories and experiences. The institute also hosts lectures in schools that speak on bullying, substance abuse, and violence, allowing students to participate in active discussions.

“I think that actually having a platform is a major step to healing. Workshops give people an opportunity to acknowledge their pain. It is a journey of self-discovery and it allows people to see both sides and understand that it is not a race or title that is attacking this country. It is bad people,” added Holmes.


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Cape Argus