Former South African apartheid regime's police minister repents

Monday, September 4, 2006

Adriaan Vlok, the former South African apartheid regime's police minister, went to Reverend and director-general Frank Chikane's church in Soweto on Sunday, the 3rd of September to repent. This follows his recent apology on the 3rd of August, 2006, which was described by some as "a miracle" that has had global impact.


Vlok and Chikane met privately on the 3rd of August, 2006. As part of the apology, Vlok washed the feet of Reverend Frank Chikane. As an ordained minister, Chikane has preached at the small church in Naledi, Soweto, for 16 years. It allegedly took Vlok two months to convince Chikane to meet him and hear his apology.

Chikane said he accepted the apology, during which Vlok admitted to atrocities committed during the apartheid era.

"I am sorry for what you had to suffer"

Vlok, who is described by some sources as "one of the most evil men that apartheid created" called Chikane's congregation his "brothers and sisters" and telling them, "I feel your pain," and "I am sorry for what you had to suffer." "We were fighting here in Soweto. It was a war. But today we're coming here to pray."

Vlok admitted that he used to "hate your pastor [Chikane]" and that "[they] were fighting each other with guns, hand grenades and poison". Vlok also said "I thank God for letting me not succeed in killing you."

Death of his wife

Vlok described his wife's suicide in 1994 as the defining point in his life.

"It took me 12 years, after the government changed, to come to this point. I had to rid myself of my own pride, my egotism and selfishness," he said. "I don't represent anyone else because I stand before the Lord alone."

Vlok was seated in the front row next to Chikane's wife. At one point he stood and clapped along to a gospel song in the packed church. When he was introduced, he joked by saying: "You can't give a microphone to an old polititian and expect him to speak for only a minute. It's not possible."

Chikane's memories of Adriaan Vlok

Reverend Frank Chikane spoke of how he kept a small plastic bag with a toothbrush and toothpaste, expecting to be detained. He recalled how his mother had been driven around Soweto by police who were hunting for his younger brother, with instructions to "shoot on sight".

He described today's South Africa as "a new country in an old country," and, "a country of peace." Chikane is still seeking accountability from those who tried to kill him in the late 1980s by lacing his clothes with poison.

Chikane maintained that the apology was sincere and said that: "The fact that Mr. Vlok has come to make a confession to me and is here with us today is a miracle," and, "It is the talk of the town ... Some people have told me it's profoundly historical."