Coming from Zimbabwe, I was unaware that things were that bad. The toilets near the beach had 'Whites only' signs on. Fortunately, the beaches became open to all within a few months as South Africa was seeing the need to change. As a Zimbabwean, I was obviously very concerned that South Africa under black rule would be subject to a dictator, with only two things on his mind: ultimate power over the people and hatred for the opposite colour, such that he would want to rid the nation of them at whatever cost.
When I lived in Zimbabwe in 1984, I was at work and suddenly heard a voice say to me to leave my job as a draughtsman and go into church work. I thought I was hearing things and then the voice said it again. I took a break to pray and went back in to the office and told my boss I was resigning. I had no idea what I was going to do, where I would live or anything. I had to work a month's notice and had to sell everything I had and give my flat back to the company.
Someone in the church kindly said I could stay at his house. After a a few weeks of praying I go a call from the leader of the Assemblies of God Church, saying he needed an assistant and that we both needed to pray about it for a week. When he phoned back, we both knew that was what I was to do and so off I went, 150 miles, to live in Harare.
At that time, the Assemblies of God church throughout Zimbabwe was under the leadership of the South African Assemblies of God Church and we were not allowed mixed race church services. There were whites only churches and blacks/ coloured only churches. My new boss had tried for years to change things and his only optin now was that the A.o.G break away from the South African principles of Apartheid.
Part of my job with many other church leaders was to form a new name, design a new logo and do a lot of admin work in setting up new policies. It was a very interesting and exciting year I spent, doing God's work and seeing churches begin to become multiracial. I was brought up in Rhodesia, with most people being quite racist, but when I was 19, I became a Christian and through God's word in the Bible and the love that He shows us, I became totally colour blind and realised He made us to be equal.
When I went to Durban, we joined a church which was totally mixed race, with about 1500 members and it was exciting to be part of the team in building a 5500 seater church. When I left South Africa in 2000, the 1500 seater church was still packed to capacity and the new building a few miles away was having around 2500 people worship there each Sunday morning.
So although some of South Africa had already grasped change, I have great respect and wish to say well done to Nelson Mandela, our Madiba along with FW De Klerk, who together formed the Rainbow Nation. The 1995 Rugby World CUp with Nelson Mandela and Francious Pienaar holding the trophy together will always be a great memory of how we can all build a nation and work together in unity of spirit.