Remembering When South Africa Touched the World…in Burnaby

It wasn’t really that long ago that news projected images of the new South African President Nelson Mandela, winner of an election which would see him as the first black head of state in South African history. A little reading will uncover a fascinating chronology for those who were born in that year of 1994.

Mandela recently passed away, a formidable figure who had championed human rights and democracy for his whole life. Only when he was 75 years old, as President, did he see his dream come closer to reality – a time when whites and non-whites in South Africa would be considered legally equally with equal opportunity and treatment. He had the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council behind him as well as citizen supporters around the world. Mandela had been an activist, lawyer, political prisoner and a political party leader prior to his presidency.

Chris_Lubbe_with_Mandela_photoChris Lubbe was a bodyguard for Mandela during his Presidency. His towering height and introspective nature caught the respect of Mandela and he was hired on, first as bodyguard, then a combination employee/friend. Lubbe came to understand Mandela from the inside out; what he learned he has put to good use.

Lubbe grew up under apartheid, a legal structure designed by the Dutch-origin white South African government to physically separate the races, enforced by police brutality. He watched his mother suffer as he was humiliated himself. He knew from an early age that what he was experiencing was wrong. He began from early adulthood to speak out, and he is continuing to do so presently.

Students and staff at Byrne Creek Secondary will hear and appreciate through videoconference the opportunity to hear Chris Lubbe speak about his experiences in one of the most studied African countries in the West. The event will take place on April 22nd during Block B in the Centre For Dialogue.