The Path Of Peace And Reconciliation.

by Patrick Liew on January 23, 2013

I was in South Africa in December 2012. When I was there, I realised that December has been designated as Reconciliation Month in that country.

The history of South Africa has been darkened by years of discrimination, dissension and destruction. 

It could have been decimated by the poison of hatred and violence.

Fortunately, the tide of disaster was turned back by the wisdom, tolerance and perseverance of many of their leaders and also supporters from many parts of the world.

For their highly commendable contributions to peace and reconciliation, the world’s most highly regarded peace prize, the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to three South African leaders.

It was awarded to Chief Albert Luthuli in 1960, Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984, and Presidents Frederick Williem de Klerk and Nelson Mandela jointly in 1993.

The leaders who fought for the freedom of South Africa left behind not only a life-changing legacy for their country but also for all communities and the world at large.

They took a long term view of their dream to achieve sustainable healing and peace and made many sacrifices to turn it into a reality. They seek nothing but the greater good for all constituents in their nation.

Instead of focusing on their personal interests and that of their communities, they seek unity amidst a diversity of culture, creed, colour and custom.

They held on to hope and were optimistic that the apartheid policy would soon end and they would gain the rightful freedom for all South Africans.

There was a deep-seated belief that the whites would eventually accept the rest of the people as being equal and would collaborate with them to build a home for one and all.

They endeavored to galvanise the support of their communities and respond proactively to seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Along the way, they made many unpopular decisions and persevered through many difficulties.

They united many of the people in their land – white, black and colored – to stand behind their cause and help shaped the future.

Despite the fact that many of them suffered humiliating injustice and even severe torture and imprisonment without imminent trials, they stood firm on their belief in non-violence and peaceful collaboration.

During post-apartheid era, they continued to initiate different programmes and activities to promote reconciliation and restoration of peace.

They endeavoured to implement restorative justice and opportunities for both perpetrators and victims.

They encourage the people of their land to forgive one another, put the past behind them, and cooperate to rebuild their country.

The story of President Nelson Mandela is well known and deserves all our respect and admiration. I like to use this space to pay tribute to another hero of our times, President F W de Klerk.

As the leader of the country, he lifted the ban on the African National Congress, the organisation that was formed in 1912 to end apartheid and to fight for freedom of all citizens to vote for and choose their own leaders.

In 1994, he made another brave decision to end the oppressive apartheid rule and called for the first ever democratic election.

The organizers of the election had limited resources and had to hold it in record time. I read somewhere that while they ‘were holding the nation’s hopes in their hands, the other sides were holding Molotov cocktails.’

The birth pangs of a new era for South Africa was liked a horror movie and it included massacres, bombings, and dangers to all parties.

South Africa was at the edge of a historic cliff, one from which it could have slipped into total destruction during those dangerous and dramatic times.

After the general election, de Klerk continued to serve the country under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela and held the position of Deputy President. He planned for and worked on a smooth transition of leadership and it culminated in the handing over of his power in the National Party in 1997.

De Klerk and many of the other leaders displayed wisdom, humility, and generosity as they led their people through great turbulence and tensions. They were courageous and selfless in the process of serving them.

Working as a team player, they liberated their country to achieve one of the greatest feats in history. It was a demonstration of dignity’s triumph over adversity and human spirit over atrocities.

They built a democratic and multiracial society that has become an inspiration to me and many others across the world.

These leaders set the example for us to continue to seek peace and to be peace makers.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on current affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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