After Apartheid
After Apartheid

After Apartheid

There’s no other way to say it – for me, it’s uncomfortable to be white, Dutch, and reformed when in South Africa.  Especially in a city like Cape Town, where excessive and obvious wealth is still held by many whites, and so much congestion and poverty is lived out by people of color.  As in many places where racism exists, these two drastically different situations are often divided by just a highway or a train track.  On one side are incredibly beautiful mansions – on the other side are clutters of iron-sheet houses, practically on top of each other, each with a TV dish on the top.  One way to escape the despair of poverty, I would guess.

I taught at a black church in an area where many people of color were forced to live during apartheid.  It is a place marked by drug addiction and alcoholism.  I was the only white person at this church and, while that is the case for most places I go in Africa, I was particularly self-conscious of it in this church.

Yet, I was met with grace and warmth. It was quite surprising. During my few days there, relationships grew and stories were shared.  I was humbled by their acceptance.  I was not taken on tours of the beautiful nature surrounding this city, but rather the tragic history of the ugliness of apartheid. I grew increasingly angry during this time but found that my hosts were not. Given that it has only been thirty years since apartheid ended, I wondered how this could be.  

There is no simple answer for this, but one point of significance seems to be that South Africa is a country where the majority are people of color.  When apartheid ended, people of color took control of the government and quickly worked toward economic empowerment for black-owned businesses, restoration of land claims, and more.  

The young woman in the picture with me has a degree in conservation and had never heard creation care taught within a church building before!  She was super excited and can’t wait to help churches create plans to promote stewardship of the environment, to the glory of God!

A rainbow could be seen over a vineyard as I left Cape Town.  Thankful to God for His presence in all places!