‘There is a need for healing the spirit and the body’

“The way we treat one another has deep repercussions for each one of us,” said South African rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, describing how the Apartheid regime had scarred the psyche of both the victims and perpetrators of racial violence.

In a freewheeling presidential address at the valedictory of the three-day international conference here organised by College of Medicine, United Kingdom, and Soukya Foundation, Archbishop Tutu said those who dehumanise others end up being dehumanised themselves.

He described how the South African regime had inflicted the worst forms of violence on the natives of the country, but the end of the Apartheid regime had not meant the end of violence. South Africa had celebrated freedom, but discovered over time that better housing and healthcare alone are not enough to heal people of the impact of long-term violence.

Talking about the high rate of crime in present-day South Africa, Archbishop Tutu said: “We are discovering that all of us have been horrendously damaged by injustice.” He said there was a need for healing the spirit and the body, with many “apostles of wholeness” taking on the task.

The path to this, Archbishop Tutu said, had been shown by the “extraordinary human being” Nelson Mandela, who had persuaded people “not to walk the path of revenge and retribution, but of magnanimity, forgiveness and reconciliation” when Apartheid ended. He said there was a need to return to the native African wisdom of “Ubuntu” — a strong sense of community that overrides divisions — to heal the scarred collective psyche.

The conclusion of the event also saw Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurating the Rural Holistic Health Centre of Soukya Foundation.

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