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God used Mandela in a marvelous way. He was a leader who was humble, accessible (anyhow humility and accessibility go hand in hand), bold, selfless and fought for the rights of South Africa and beyond. Beyond the silence, God speaks.

—Mudzunga Farisani

Letter from Mudzunga Farisani

Dear Pastor Steve and Friends at Peace:

Thanks for your email of support. Steve, I won’t forget the evening of Dec. 5th when I received a phone call from Zwo telling us that Tata Mandela’s condition was deteriorating and warned us about the possibility of his passing on. In less than an hour’s time he called back and informed us that Nelson Mandela has permanently left this earth. In fact he said it in Venda “ zwo bala”.  I could not deal with the grief in the manner that I had anticipated. Tears fell from my eyes and had a hard time sleeping again.

The passing on of our leader, our father, our unifier, our reconciler, our peacemaker, our mediator left us puzzled in spite of the fact that he had reached 95 years. One cannot but give credit to Nelson Mandela for having stopped the potential civil war which appeared not stoppable then. God used Mandela to stop the war which was inevitable. People were angry after the assassination of Chris Hani, another great South African anti-apartheid leader.

This is what Mandela said after the assassination of Chris: “When we, as one people, act together decisively, with discipline and determination, nothing can stop us … Let us rededicate ourselves to bringing about the democracy Chris fought for all his life: democracy that will bring real, tangible changes in the lives of the working people, the poor, the jobless, the landless.” This was African National Congress President Nelson Mandela’s ‘angry and defiant response’ to the assassination of Chris Hani.  The relations with Mandela were on a knife edge and the country was on the brink of disaster. This took place just a year before the ushering in of the “New Dispensation”.

The assassination of Chris Hani came soon after multiparty talks had resumed on April 1 to hammer out details for a non-racial constituent assembly election due early 1994. Optimism was running high that majority rule was on the horizon. Then the assassination threw all this progress into immediate doubt. Mandela’s leadership style of seeing beyond the assassination came in very handy. He appealed to the whole country to be peaceful and not fight back.

Since the breaking news of the passing of Mandela our local and international TV channels have been focusing on Mandela and the legacy he left behind; even now after the funeral the process of focusing on his life continues. I was watching film of Mandela visiting the wife of Mr. Verwoerd, the Architect of Apartheid – and Mandela had tea with her. He proceeded to the home of his Prosecutor who was also overwhelmed with joy and told Mandela that he was praying that the Almighty God should continue to bless him.

Apparently Mandela’s death shook the world more than any other death in history; at least that is what the media is saying. The legacy of Mandela continues. God used Mandela in a marvelous way. He was a leader who was humble, accessible (anyhow humility and accessibility go hand in hand), bold, selfless and fought for the rights of South Africa and beyond. Beyond the silence, God speaks.

Peace is our family and I pray that our relationship continues forever.

Greetings from Tshenu, Nzumbu, Ndamu and Zwo.

Your sister in the Lord.

Mudzunga Farisani