Archives For long walk to freedom

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,┬áLONG 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.