Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Revolutionary Government: South Africa

AdventureMan and I have a soft spot for South Africa, not the least of which for the dramatic and radical way they transformed from apartheid government to democratic government. It is not to say South Africa has been without problems – there are still problems. But the manner in which they confronted and dealt with their past and then moved on allows change to happen, change in the heart.


Today’s meditation from Forward Day by Day:

FRIDAY, May 30

Psalm 85:3. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. (NRSV)

But for the grace of God and the work of extraordinary leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, the fall of apartheid in South Africa could have been marked by one of the worst bloodbaths ever seen.


The incendiary ingredients were all present: a repressive minority regime that ruled by violence, fear, and fiat over a majority population denied fundamental human rights and forced to live a subservient existence.


There was upheaval, but the nation never fell into anarchy as it radically changed its government, thanks largely to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Chaired by Tutu, then the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the commission held hearings throughout the country. Victims told their stories of torture, killing, and degradation, sometimes confronting the accused.


The goal was not vengeance or justice but truth-telling to clear a path for healing. Powerful emotions were released. There were tearful confessions and apologies. There was forgiveness. The people of South Africa managed to turn from their hot anger and begin building a new nation.


Can we do the same? Where can we forsake our anger for the liberating power of forgiveness?


May 30, 2014 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Faith, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Relationships, South Africa

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