LISTEN: Forgiveness in the face of a killer

LISTEN: Forgiveness in the face of a killer

Instead of hatred, she only felt love and shared the experience in an open letter to South Africa, encouraging forgiveness.

Candice Mama
Candice Mama / Good Things Guy.

Candice Mama joined Brent Lindeque on his JacPod podcast to speak about that moment she faced Eugene de Kock and how forgiveness has opened up so many doors for her.

Candice Mama met the Apartheid Assassin who brutally took her father's life, but instead of hatred, she only felt love and shared the experience in an open letter to SA, encouraging forgiveness.

Since then she’s become a Forgiveness Advocate and named Vogue Magazine’s one of 33 Most Inspiring Women, alongside Michelle Obama, Nicole Kidman, and Malala, to name a few.


Read her full open letter below:

My name is Candice Mama; I was born in 1991 in South Africa; a country that was gripped by the grossly violent and oppressive system of Apartheid and this is my story.

In September 2014, The National Prosecuting Authority reached out to my family to enquire about whether or not we would like to meet Eugene de Kock (a former South African Police colonel, torturer, and assassin active under the apartheid government. Nicknamed “ Prime Evil” and sentenced to 212 years in prison under 89 charges).

As many would imagine, it wasn’t a decision we came to without many dinner-table discussions and some trepidation from members of the family. We agreed to schedule our meeting for the following Tuesday.

In the days to come, a sense of self-reflection enveloped me.

My dad, Glenack Masilo Mama, was brutally killed in a vicious and unjust time in our country’s history. My memories of him were nothing but compilations of different people’s stories and pictures we collected over time. However, the one thing I knew for sure about my father was that he had been tortured and then burnt to death by a man named Eugene de Kock.

I went on to read numerous articles and books about the man dubbed Prime Evil and his legacy, which was that of being the face and embodiment of an unjustifiable system of hate and oppression.

Growing up in a house where reading and introspection were encouraged allowed me to be able to contextualise my dad’s killing. Which, in my mind, made his death mean something.

He died fighting a system and wanting a different country for my brother and myself, which we are extremely fortunate to now be living in.

This made me realise I couldn’t hate De Kock because love and hate cannot operate in the same space.

If I wanted to resent him, I would never be able to fully enjoy the life my dad and so many others willingly or unwillingly died for.

He had robbed me of a father, and I had subconsciously given him sixteen years of my anger, anguish, sleepless nights and bouts of severe depression. One day I just refused for him to take away my joy and enthusiasm for life any more than he already had.

So I did what I had to do, and I forgave him.

Image courtesy of Good Things Guy.

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