The world is enthralled with Madibe’s story. Why? Because he was a man of integrity who did what was right, no matter what the cost.
There are far too few of these in the world today.
It cost him is wife, his children, his home, his health — and 27 years of imprisonment.
Several years ago I visited Robben Island, and saw the cell — the tiny cubicle which must have been fiercely cold in winter with cement floor, stone walls and the cold wind blowing off the ocean and beastly hot under the summer’s burning sun. What was he fighting for? Why did he give up everything?
You would have to be an African living under apartheid to know the abuse, the degradation, the insults, the job limitations, minimal education, — the feeling of being a nobody.
My husband and I worked for 22 years in South Africa with young people in Soweto. We saw them open up into confident young people as they realized they were created in the image of God — black, white, male female– all in the image of God with the great potential to use the gifts God had given them.
You can’t imagine how thrilled I was to meet with some of those young people last year. To see them holding responsible positions in society, living in comfortable homes, having their children quality schools with libraries and science labs. Many were serving as pastors or obeying Christ’s command to care for the poor.
I’m sure their tears today are filled with pride and gratitude. I pray that Mandela’s model will touch many hearts to follow his example– to bring integrity back into every part of South African life. My prayers are with them.
My novel The Soweto Legacy portrayed how apartheid denigrated life for both whites and black. It tells of a forbidden love between a white university student and a black young woman. It’s available on Kindle, and sometimes you can purchase a softcover for a few cents on Amazon.com