Father Michael Lapsley is an Anglican missionary priest who was active in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In 1990, after being ejected from South Africa, he suffered the loss of his hands and the sight in one eye from a letter-bomb that was sent to him in Zimbabwe by a supporter of the pro-apartheid government in South Africa. After a long recovery from the bombing, Father Lapsley decided to dedicate his life to helping victims of emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds inflicted by war, human rights abuses and other traumatic circumstances. He founded the Institute for Healing of Memories in South Africa in 1998, http://www.healing-memories.org, whose mission is to facilitate the healing process of individuals, communities and nations.
His story of how, accompanied by prayers, love and support from around the world, he was able to navigate a journey from victim to survivor to victor is as riveting as it is moving and hopeful. Nelson Mandela has said, “Michael’s life represents a compelling metaphor – a foreigner who came to our country and was transformed … his life is part of the tapestry of the many long journeys and struggles of our people.”
Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer has been given the Andrew Murray Desmond Tutu Award.