Mr Adrian Vlok extends gesture of penance to Rev Frank Chikane, Director-General in the Presidency
26 August 2006
On 3 August 2006, the Director-General in the Presidency, Rev Frank Chikane, acceded to a request to meet with Mr Adrian Vlok. Mr Vlok requested Rev Chikane, in his personal capacity and as a symbol of many other victims of the conflict of the past, to accept his small but profound gesture of penance and thereby forgive him and assist him to humble himself and reconcile with his God and conscience.
According to Mr Vlok, the sin of apartheid derived from a lack of love, national pride and from the belief that some in our country were superior to other racial groups.
Mr Vlok inscribed the following words from the New Testament and presented them to Rev Frank Chikane: “I have sinned against the Lord and against you. Please forgive me!”
Informed and guided by the scriptures in John 13:1-17, especially verse 15 and the humbling act which Jesus performed on the disciple Peter, Mr Vlok insisted on performing the symbolic gesture of washing Reverend Frank Chikane’s feet. Although uncomfortable with this request, Rev Frank Chikane ultimately accepted the gesture with humility and in the spirit of ubuntu, having come to understand that this act would be a liberating experience for Mr Vlok.
Although this interaction with Mr Vlok was intended to be private and personal, days later and on reflection, both agreed that the actions of Mr Vlok were so profound that it would not be possible to keep it from the people of South Africa.
Rev Chikane is therefore grateful that Mr Vlok agreed that he should issue this statement. Through it, he is hopeful that others who find themselves in similar situations will also take the initiative to do whatever their consciences tell them to. Rev Chikane further believes that this exemplary act could precipitate a process of healing for all the people of South Africa.
He added that in order to heal the nation, it is imperative for people to confront their past, tell the truth about it, and recommit them to deploy their energies to change the quality of lives of all South Africans for the better.
It is also critical that these interactions are not only with victims and survivors or their families, but it must also happen within the framework and guidelines that government has established to regulate the finalisation of matters that remain outstanding from the amnesty processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), added Rev Chikane.
Rev Chikane concluded by saying that this imperative is critical for the freedom and inner reconciliation of all parties and will undoubtedly fortify nation building and channel the energies of all South Africans to the development of the country for the good of all South Africans.
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Issued by: The Presidency
26 August 2006