Archives For apartheid

Sunday is a day of prayer and remembrance in South Africa.

We are remembering the incredible life of Nelson Mandela and praying that his values and ideals will be carried through by current South Africans.

The television channels have preempted all programs since his death and have been showing tributes around the clock.

In the next week we will see a service in every major city, including many of the World Cup Stadiums, followed by his final burial in his hometown village.

The memories of Mandela are plenty:

Dawning one of the most prolific symbols of the old regime, the Springbock rugby jersey, in the Rugby World Cup which South Africa won. This was portrayed in the movie Invictus.

Including members of the apartheid government in his cabinet.

Inviting his jailer to be an honored guest at the inauguration.

As the world, mourns the passing of one of its greatest leaders, this day takes a special tone for me. Nelson Mandela changed my family.

I’ve lived and worked in South Africa for 8 years now, my wife over ten.

When we were considering South Africa as a potential location, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, influenced my decision.

It was not Mandela’s upbringing, his brutal treatment, or his unjust imprisonment.

What moved me was his commitment to grace and forgiveness.

It was never more evident than April 27, 1994.

This is the date of South Africa’s first democratic national elections following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

The world waited with bated breath for the country to descend into chaos, or worse; war.

It did not happen. Grace prevailed.

Apartheid fell and with it the racist, oppressive rule which sought to completely separate the different races.

An ordinary trip to the doctor’s with my family turned special.

As we were walking towards the elevator in an underground parking structure, I saw a small, older gentleman walking towards the elevator. My first thought was, “That looks like Desmond Tutu!” I motioned to my wife and whispered to her, wondering if she would confirm my suspicions

As we entered the elevator together, a nurse saw him, greeting the bishop. It was then he laughed his trademark laugh. I knew.

My wife asked if our boys could shake his hand telling them he was a very special man. The bishop quickly downplayed our compliments, shaking hands with our kids.

“Would you like a picture?” he offered.

Tutu

 

As we turned to leave for our floor, I was able to thank Desmond Tutu for what he had done for South Africa and bless God for Him.

We have friends who have a South African woman come once a week to help out with the children. They recently went on furlough and wanted to keep this woman employed during their trip. They arranged for her to help with another couple’s children.

Recently we learned this woman refused to come and help. The family who would have received her services (during our friends furlough) were from Zimbabwe. This woman, a black South African, refused to help someone from another African nation.

Racism is not only about the color of one’s skin. It goes much deeper.

Racism can be about nationality.
Racism can be about tribe or people group.
Racism can be based on economic status, real or perceived.

While South Africa is making great progress as a free nation, we still see the stigma of racism raise its ugly head.