As the leaders of the world publicly mourn the loss of Nelson Mandela, many South African people living in Australia have found that his death has brought up strong emotions. While grieving the loss of this ‘great man’, they may also be dealing with feelings of sadness at leaving friends and family behind in their homeland.
Pastor Leon Kruger, from Macquarie Chapel, spent the first twenty years of his life growing up under the apartheid regime and has only recently moved to Sydney. As children, they were taught that it was acceptable for blacks and whites to ‘develop separately’. While oppression was a very real part of the regime, as a child he was not aware of overtly racist attitudes among his family or friends.
Listen Now: Pastor Kruger shares his experince with Katrina Roe
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Pastor Kruger was a University student in Johannesburg when Nelson Mandela was released in 1990. He says that many of his fellow students at the time were ready to embrace change, but that prior to Mandela’s release, there was a very strong fear among the white population that there may be a ‘bloodbath’ of revenge and unrest. What followed was a surprise to many, as it became clear that Nelson Mandela was embracing an attitude of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Pastor Kruger says he believes that Mandela’s legacy was a universal belief among South Africans that although people may have differences, they can all work together.
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