For most non-Africans, South Africa is Africa and Africa is South Africa. Make no doubt about it, that’s as ignorant as it gets. Nonetheless, the ubiquity of this thought speaks to the prominece of Africa’s most industrialized nation. Home of Nelson Mandela.

Yet, if the events of recent days are anything to go by, Mandela must be turning in his grave. The death toll from the KwaZulu-Natal chaos keeps rising by the day. The violence, it seems, keeps metasizing. A confluence of harsh economic times, unemployment, and most importantly, deeply unresolved socio-economic wounds.

As I have written about erstwhile , South Africa was victim of one of the worst forms of British colonialism. Apartheid in South Africa, made the colonial machinery across the continent, look like child’s play. The scale of its brutality, intentionality of its racial overtones and depth of injustice is unparalleled. Decades later, South Africa is yet to heal from those scars. It’s troubled past of racial injustice, economic inequality and mental torture is screaming to be attended to.

South Africa, like most African countries, is a textbook example that nation building is marathon, not a sprint. Even in moments of hopeful progress, occasional retrogression remains its corollary.

As we pray for peace and stability in South Africa, these events offer us a moment of personal introspection. What we don’t choose to heal, we choose to perpetuate. What we ignore now, eventually catches up with us.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu encapsulated this remarkably in his memoirs No Future Without Forgiveness:

Our common experience in fact is the opposite - - that the past, far from disappearing or lying down and being quiet, has an embarrassing and persistent way of returning and haunting us unless it has been dealt with adequately. Unless we look the the beast in the eye we find it has an uncanny habit of returning to hold us hostage."

Have a good one! I wish you healing!


  1. Wonderful post Billy. It’s impossible to move forward without forgiveness. Talking of Nelson Mandela and forgiveness, he once said, β€œResentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”

  2. Agreed although in my part of the world, one hardly ever thinks of RSA when thinking of “Africa”, so, I think it is all a matter of perspective. Here we might first think of Algeria, Chad or Niger, in the UK they might think of Ghana or Nigeria?

  3. Praying for peace. The divide there heart breaking..Mandelas work for humanity amazing. His work was a light akin to Dr. Kings for those state side πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ. Not so much pride in that. I have seen what colonialism had done here … to friends in India. May we heal. Thanks for your words

      1. This is my prayer. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.

        No worries. It’s a topic near to heart.

      2. Right. Doctor King himself. Sometimed people see NC as super racist. I grew up an hour from Woolworth’s counter where there was a sit kn during the US Civil rights movement… MLK Jr. and Mandela have been hugely inspiring..we shall all change the world.

        Side note. Afrikaans is a german based language in South Africa Right? Haven’t learned it but curious since I have some college german course work..

  4. Hi, AB! Thanks for your reminder that Africa is a Continent, not a country. In the US, grade schools hardly teach anything about geography now, let alone cultural histories. Ignorance is no excuse though! Here we are online; a magnificent tool for information and for change. It also can be overwhelming, and deceptive. I get so overwhelmed by the news sometimes, that I can barely function because I am a person of action. Situations like what’s going on in South Africa make me crazy. So please, AB, tell me what one thing you would do to make that situation better (other than this post, which is of course, something)? I wouldn’t even know where to start.

    1. Hey KJπŸ˜ƒ

      One of the places to start from would be acknowledging the trauma. Sky scrappers, 8-lane highways and high-end stores is merely a bandaid solution. A lot of countries in Africa have thrown development at the wounds of trauma. True healing can only begin when we genuinely acknowledge, teach and do better. A lot of the chaos happening in South Africa comes from a place of hurt, of not feeling heard and seen.

      As always, it’s great to hear from you πŸ˜ƒ

      Thank you for always making time 😊

      1. Wow, that’s a great answer! I love how you think, and it’s so true about throwing technology at a problem instead of approaching it with humility.
        Thank you giving me some great ideas, and getting me thinking more clearly. πŸ™‚

  5. Engaging with hurt is difficult, Especially if it is distant to our own self.

    The question of how to help in whatever small ways I can is one I ponder often. I am God for consistent guidance on how to act as well as how to think more healthily for this purpose.

    Thank you for sharing, my friend. πŸ€”

    1. I couldn’t agree more, my friend!

      We must always ponder on ways we can assist others.

      It’s great to hear from you, Hamish!

      Thank you for making time.

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