We recently celebrated Heritage Day in our beloved South Africa. This led me to reflect on the heritage we have as a country with its diverse people and eleven official languages, which are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, siSwati, Xitsonga, Setswana), Tshivenda, isiXhosa and isiZulu. Language is part of our heritage and is linked to our identity. Sadly, for the Khoi and San people, South Africa’s first inhabitants do not have their languages recognised as official.
As a person of mixed race I struggled with my identity through childhood and my first few years at high school. This is a common challenge for many mixed race people in our country. During my high school years, I began to read the Bible more intensely and discovered my true identity in its pages – right from Genesis through to Revelation. In Genesis we discover Adam and Eve as the mother and father of all humankind. We also discover that we were made in God’s image. We learn in Ephesians 1:5 that “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” This discovery was life changing and brought about a freedom and acceptance of myself even though I do not know the full story of my biological heritage.
“…and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands” Revelation 7:9. So, turn to the Bible with renewed curiosity to discover your true identity and family heritage for yourself.
Heritage Day also made me ask the question, “Is the dream of a true rainbow nation still possible?” Following the recent unrest and violence which took place in our country, particularly the murders in Phoenix, and with the narrative in the media of racism, and many conversations taking place referencing the 1949 riots, you begin to wonder if there is hope for our rainbow nation.
Last week I was privileged to be a part of a two-day Bridge Leadership Engagement with church leaders from the PINKU Region (Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma, Kwa Mashu, Umhlanga/Durban North. I watched this group of ministers representing all the racial diversity in our country, connecting at a deeper level through the sharing of their stories. Watching them working together, identifying the problems in their communities and a commitment to finding solutions to build their communities and our beloved country. Part of our godly heritage is love and reconciliation which was exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. Let us be practitioners of love and reconciliation because of Christ.
God put the first rainbow in the sky as a beacon of hope for Noah. This gives me a reason to hope that the dream of a rainbow nation is still alive!
Craig is a Heartlines' regional representative who has worked in in different ministry roles for many years. Read more about Craig and his journey from playing soccer for AmaZulu FC, to climbing the corporate ladder and taking up his calling into ministry.
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