From the Headmaster's blog...
Posted 7 February, 2019
Forgiveness (Part 1)
Since we are forgiven, it is important that we first learn to forgive.
Nelson Mandela believed in freedom. He is credited with bringing freedom to South Africa but first he needed to be free from hate in his own heart. He learnt to forgive.
Rory Steyn was the body guard to Nelson Mandela. Rory believed in freedom too - but only for a part of the culture that he grew up in. Rory believed in Apartheid. He did not like Mandela and so it was a most unusual when Mandela selected Rory to be his personal body guard for the five years of his presidency. Rory was trained to act first and think later.
Rory separated his beliefs from his job. He did not believe anything that Mandela was saying - he just did his job. In those days, apartheid was infused into every stratum of South African Society. Rory grew up with it. The media was controlled by it. The schools’ curricula was controlled by it.
“I thought Mandella was a fake” he said. “I watched over him but I also watched him - I watched for the façade to crumble”, he said.
Rory was in charge of security as Nelson Mandela prepared to attend his own inauguration - an event where 184 Presidents and Royalty were waiting for him to arrive. Nelson pushed at the car door and struggled to get out. It was an armoured car and the door was very heavy so another policeman
assisted Mandela. Rory takes up the story -
“Madiba (Nelson Mandela) gets out and doesn’t say a word. He walked across to an old school Police Colonel who was standing there in his full blue uniform. You could see the Colonel’s eyes getting bigger as Madiba got closer to him. “Madiba stops in front of him, puts out his hand and shakes his hand. He told him: ‘Colonel. I just wanted to tell you that there is no more you and us. You are our police. I am your president.’ This guy just started crying, tears streaming down his face. Madiba just patted him on the shoulder and told him it would be all right. “There was no press there, no PR opportunity, just a handful of security guys watching. That’s the day I began to question 32 years of education (in the old South Africa) about what was correct. I didn’t believe (Madiba) when he came out of jail that we were one country. Then I saw that exchange, it changed me forever.” said Rory. “It was as if Madiba said - 184 of the world’s leaders can wait while I take the time to get out of the car and talk to one colonel. This was the time that I realised that I would be prepared to take a bullet for Mandela. For the first time in my life I was free of Apartheid”.
In that moment, Mandela also taught Rory about forgiveness.
“Everyone on Earth should say thank you to Nelson Mandela. Thank you for what you taught us. Thank you for teaching us to forgive. Thank you for teaching us that to talk to your enemy is always going to be superior to fighting with him”. - Rory Steyn
It is astounding that God not only forgives: He forgets.