[notice]Nqobile’s testimony appears at the end of a 40-days prayer guide for reconciliation — May 7 to June 15 2016[notice]
My name is Nqobile, I grew up hearing stories of oppression from the apartheid years. My father told us stories of how they were belittled as young men by white people. They were cursed at and prohibited from entering certain areas. These stories would upset me. I could not understand how people could be so cruel? My father was a racist because of the way white people treated him. When I started school my parents put me in a multicultural school. I wanted to find out for myself why white people did not like black people. I studied the white children that went to school with me and did not trust them at all.
God used a white girl to change my perceptions
God used a white girl to start changing my perceptions of white people. She was one of the first people who reached out to me. I was young and shy and could barely speak English at that time. When this blue eyed stranger offered me a place to sit, started playing with me and gave me hugs I found myself questioning what I believed about white people. As time went on our friendship grew and I realized that my father was so blinded by his pain and the deep wounds that he carried from the apartheid years that he could not see beyond the colour of people’s skins.
I feel very sad that my father could never come to a place of healing, forgiveness and true freedom of racism. My father died when I was 15 years old and left me as an orphan. I have experienced racism when I went to high school and also suffered a lot when my father died and I had to live on my own. During this terrible time in my life I turned to God for help and He made a way for me. In many circumstances He used white people to help me. When I was in matric an interdenominational multi-cultural Christian ladies group did a outreach at our school. The way that they loved one another and the love of Christ that they reflected made a great impression on me. I shared my circumstances with them and they prayed for me.
After the outreach one of the white ladies who leads the Prayer and Reconciliation movement in our town contacted me. This lady and my school principal, who is also white, organised a bursary for me to study further. That lady became my second mother and mentor and while I studied I became an assistant teacher at my old school, because of the help of my principal. This is when my journey of true reconciliation started. A journey of healing, mending of hearts and relationships. I could forgive white people and all who wronged me and my family. I came to see that my father’s wounds run deep but the love of God always runs deeper, deeper than all pain. I joined the Prayer Group. In this Prayer Group I have learnt that true forgiveness sets people free.
Heavens open up through repentance and brokenness
I accompanied the Prayer Group to numerous services of reconciliation and saw how they repent of the sins of apartheid. I have seen how the heart of God is being reflected and how the heavens open up through their repentance and brokenness. I witnessed many people being set free and healed from the pain of apartheid. I have learnt to always look at the cross, where God decreased Himself and stood in the gap for us. Racism is not just white on black but also black on white. I see my Dads face and all the pain that used to be there and how I wish he could have seen the love of Christ reflected through these wonderful white people that God brought across my path to help and guide me. I know it would also have brought healing in his own heart. Today I have a degree and I am a teacher and studying to get my honours in education. My father would be so proud!
Jesus died for us and in doing so, He reconciled us to Him. I have conquered racism, suffering, heartache, loss and many obstacles by the love and strength of Christ through His beautiful children on this earth – both black and white! May God strengthen, unite and protect us as a nation as He prayed in John 17:11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.