We had a few hours on our Preparation Day to explore some historical sights in Johannesburg. We thought it would be most appropriate to start with the Apartheid Museum. The tag line for the museum reads
“Apartheid is exactly where it belongs-in a museum.”
The basic principle behind apartheid was simple-segregate everything. Cut a clean line through a nation to divide white from black and keep them divided. This museum showed us that any form of racial inequality leads to destruction.
We particularly loved the new Constitution Mandela was able to pass just two years after he was elected President of South Africa in 1996.
Mandela’s new constitution has guarantees of equality more explicit than any other nation in the world. At it’s heart are seven fundamental values. The pillars in this new constitution are democracy, equality, reconciliation, responsibility, respect and freedom.
Coming late to democracy, South Africa was able to draw on the collective wisdom of the democratic countries of the world in creating its Constitution. Having come along a route of struggle and pain, the country took the process deeply to heart - and takes great pride in the result.
Here is a link to a great interview with Nelson Mandela by Richard Stengel, the author of his biography. Well worth the read!
It is meaningful in this month of July that celebrates our American history. We have had many of the same struggles in America, but not this recent and intense. We applaud the forgiveness that has been a strong value modeled in South Africa.
thanks to Kathryn Knudsen for sending me this link.
It is fitting with the work we have come to engage in with 200 missionaries, to be mindful of this great land and it's past. It is why this country, in it's healing, is so primed for the message our missionaries have for them. They are a faithful, God fearing people with a heart full of forgiveness for past mistakes and injustices.