Updated: Jun 30, 2022
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
"A few things shifted inside me when I sat face to face with my father's killer, and the most profound was that when I forgave Eugene, I suddenly realised it had been me who was in prison the entire time"
Eugene de Kock (a former assassin active under apartheid Nicknamed “ Prime Evil” and sentenced to 212 years in prison). As many would imagine, it wasn’t a decision we came to without some trepidation. 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.
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. 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.
A few things shifted inside me when I sat face to face with my father’s killer, and the most profound was that when I forgave Eugene, I suddenly realised it had been me who was in prison the entire time.
Forgiveness taught me that it is rarely ever about the perpetrator it is about freeing ourselves from the hold the perpetrator has over us, it is not about forgetting it is about removing the emotional attachment we have to the event.
I survived my past and I continue to thrive in my present because what was meant to destroy me I chose to let build me and so can every single person. #isurvived