Ascension : The Anglican Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
Submitted by The Islander (Mario Anthony) 15.08.2013 (Article Archived on 03.10.2013)
A visitor to the tiny prison cell on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 25 years can be forgiven for being surprised that on release he did not take revenge on his captors.
A visitor to the tiny prison cell on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 25 years can be forgiven for being surprised that on release he did not take revenge on his captors. The conditions under which he was held were humiliating, the work hard, his health suffered in common with his contemporaries but he kept his dignity. He also kept focus on the end goal, a free and fair Republic of South Africa where all were equal regardless of race creed or colour. I had the privilege of working for ten years in a South African Government scientific facility responsible for the beneficiation of the mineral resources of Southern Africa under Dr Louw Alberts, an unsung hero of change in South Africa. Dr Alberts was tuning in to the nation’s new dispensation years before many believed a peaceful solution was being worked for. Louw was a down to earth devout Christian Afrikaner with great vision and foresight. From 1990 he instituted a changed Government policy; Black staff wishing to improve grades was allowed work time assisted by computer programmes. The staff canteen was thrown open as was the 400 seat auditorium at conferences and annual functions. Change was in the air with all parties’ meetings opening and closing in prayer. The following tribute by former State President FW De Klerk was made at the time of Dr Albert s’ funeral:
“During my tenure as State President I discovered another side of Louw Alberts - he was a man of peace, profundity and unshakeable Christian faith, committed to reconciliation and justice. Not only did he play a key role in relation to the Peace Accord but also often encouraged and supported me during the lengthy negotiation process that began in 1990.
I wish to honour his memory and have the highest appreciation for his immense contribution to peaceful transformation.
FW DE KLERK”
As the beloved Madiba’s life ebbs away those who lived through the drama of his release from prison to become President will remember the most unlikely hands that shook across the divide for the miracle to become reality. The country was soaked in prayer with church attendances at an all time high. The ‘war’ was won but the same input of prayer is needed to win and maintain peace in the world. It begins with me and you.