Nelson Mandela’s release after 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa for fighting against apartheid, was perhaps the most memorable image of the end of apartheid. Apartheid, much like Jim Crow in the United States, enforced “separate but equal” laws. Apartheid deprived Blacks of citizenship and forced Blacks to live in impoverished neighborhoods, despite the fact that South African wealth depended on Black labor. While imprisoned Mandela’s working conditions damaged his eyesight and possibly contributed to his tuberculosis.
Upon his release, Mandela was taken to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s home for a short period of rest, as the work for ending the effects of apartheid was just beginning.
Many have not endured what Mandela endured. But we’ve had to endure hardship, where times of rest have been brief, because the work most go on. But there is an end, because one day we will find rest. The prophet Zephaniah reminds us that not only will fear be a thing of the past, but we’ll find rest in the eternal kingdom of God.