Resurrection…life coming from death. I come to the end of the Gospel of Mark and essentially the end of our trip to South Africa. It was not planned exactly for this reason, but we ended our last full day in this beautiful country by visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg which included the beginning of the new Mandela exhibit that is being constructed. After walking through the museum and seeing example after example of the ways that humans can hurt and oppress one another, we came to the hope of a rainbow nation as South Africa has been called. It is not perfect by any means – we have seen many examples of that. But it has come a long way. Our guide today shared many examples of that – Yes there is still work to be done, but a lot has happened in the last 21 years since apartheid officially ended. We saw many examples of life that has grown out of death and out of despair. Just as the women who came to the tomb were not expecting life when they arrived, so many worried that further violence and chaos would erupt in the years following Mandela’s release. While there was a period of 4 years of great trials and significant violence, the country moved beyond that to the markings of a new future.
The picture today comes from the end of the Mandela exhibit where there were a series of quotes printed in five different colors – blue, white, red, green, and yellow. After reading the quotes, people were asked to take a stick of the color of the quote that was most significant for you and to put it in one of the baskets all throughout this courtyard. It was beautiful to see the hundreds of sticks that were placed around the area and the many different ways that Mandela (and the others who were a part of the movement as well) inspired others. I personally placed a green stick – the quotes in green that were listed were the following:
Reconciliation: I will pass through this world but once, and I do not want to divert from my task, which is to unite the nation.
Leadership: As a leader I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person had to say in a discussion, before venturing my own opinion.
Forgiveness: Deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity.