Reconciliation | #MyFridayStory №10

The date, chosen for its historical significance to both black and white South Africans, became a national holiday in 1995, a year after our first democratic elections. The leaders of the day, including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wanted a day for the people of South Africa to celebrate how far we have come as a nation in reconciling our past differences.

Having a day to celebrate less division and less hatred seems like a great idea to me. Past differences, yet ingrained and seemingly part of our DNA, can be reconciled. The truth is, reconciliation of deep-rooted ideologies and prejudices, takes guts, grit, character, determination and compassion. Reconciliation requires of you to be open to changing your point of view.

It starts with the decision to seek reconciliation.

When I was growing up and into my early thirties, I supported the rugby team from my home town Johannesburg, The Lions. Like my father before me and all my friends, or anyone born in the area, we were all Lions fans. That’s how it is.

Then I got a transfer to Pretoria, only 45 minutes away from JoBurg. We had a company suite at the local stadium Loftus Versveld, home of The Bulls and fierce rivals of The Lions. One of my responsibilities was as custodian of the company suite at the stadium. This meant I had to attend every game of the season played at the grounds. After a few months of watching The Bulls, I realised I was going to be seeing a lot of them. I nervously made the decision to start supporting the Bulls instead.

Treason of this caliber was not taken lightly, and I was soon ostracised and relegated to the fringes of JoBurg society!

Capitulating to over 20 years of undue pressure, I recently held a mini-ceremony where I got rid of my Bulls rugby jerseys, and donned my latest Lions jersey. I have reconciled with my Lions friends who’ve welcomed me back in the fold.

Switching rugby teams, twice, was not easy. As ingrained as supporting your home team is in our society, so too prejudices run deep.

Reconciliation doesn’t ask that we do what is easy, but rather what our heart tells us is right.

Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.

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Frans Nel

Frans Nel

Curiousor and curiousor

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