169: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY #18 Mandela and his jailer

“Welcome to my Zingcreed blog in which you can read my personal polemics on religious themes, old and new. I write from a unique Christian /Atheist perspective, so you may come across things you never imagined! Enjoy!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

I am proud to have been a member of the British ‘Anti-Apartheid Movement’ since the early 1960’s. Like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign which I signed up to later on, joining it was a no-brainer. Apartheid was a clear cut  ethical issue. For once we had politics with no shades of grey: it was solidarity with the oppressed painted in broad black and white strokes.

When freedom came I watched with great emotion as Nelson Mandela strode out through the prison gates of Robbin Island. Months later I was surprised and delighted to receive a letter signed by him thanking me personally for all the work I had put in to UK side of the struggle. A unique gesture – it is so nice to have one’s meagre efforts recognised, it’s such a rare event. The only other time it has happened to me is when the Jewish pupils at a North London school I was teaching in gave me a present in recognition of the fact that I had helped them run a weekly Jewish assembly at the school for several years. (And, no, I’m not Jewish.)

So, it was with some surprise that I came across a fact I didn’t know this week. A fact that shows Mandela up for the quality gent he is.

“At his inauguration celebration as the new president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela invited his jailer to sit at his table of honour, no longer an enemy but a friend.” (i)

Now that’s what I call practical Christianity!

Source:

(i) Strickland, D. and Roberts C. “Just imagine. The Social Justice awakening” Authentic (2009)

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