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, [amazon_link id=”B007I0KIIO” target=”_blank” ]LONG WALK TO FREEDOM[/amazon_link], 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.
Mandela forgave his oppressors, even including them in his inner circle as the newly elected President. Forgiveness triumphed over judgment and set this nation on a path towards success.
Mandela became a world-wide figure for his grace and forgiveness. He led a nation off the path of hatred and towards freedom.
There are still many issues needing resolution in South Africa. Freedom has only been around for 20 years, and t often takes a generation to chance.
This change though has taken on a personal note.
What Mandela fought for did effect a nation, but it has also changed our family.
Early in our stay in South Africa, we adopted our son. Now our family is a picture of the new South Africa. We speak to our boys often about how men like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu made our family possible.
I hope in families like ours, Mandela has seen a picture of what he fought to accomplish. Here are two brothers. One black and one white. This was not possible under apartheid.
Brothers, of different colors of skin, is the legacy this man has gifted South Africa with. Without people like him, our family would be incomplete.
Nelson Mandela changed the world, he is a legend in South Africa and around the world.
But, I owe my family to his service, sacrifice, and wisdom to use the power of grace and forgiveness to bring change.
Nelson Mandela, from the bottom of my heart; Thank you!
Grace has the power to change a nation. Grace has the power to change a family
Mandela, may you enter your rest in peace!
“Never, never, and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.” Nelson Mandela