Inspiration for Changing the World via a Virtual Visit to South Africa
Divine Live and Online kicked off on June 30th with a fascinating journey to South Africa to speak with Zelda la Grange, a white Afrikaner who went through a life-changing transformation when she started working in President Nelson Mandela’s office in her 20’s.
Born in apartheid South Africa to a privileged, upper class white family, Zelda was raised to believe that black people were dangerous and could not be trusted. “She started working in the President’s Office because she needed a job, and she ended up totally falling in love with the man,” says Nancy, one of the 42 people who participated on the virtual experience.
“To grow up with such a drilled-in belief system, and then to break that, and not only change the way she thought, but to change the people around her, was so heartening.”
Nancy was also amazed at how Nelson Mandela was able to use his 27 years in prison to strengthen his spirituality. Despite all the racism and hardship he faced because he was black, he never became prejudiced himself. “He totally accepted everyone,” says Nancy.
A Special Significance in Our Current Times
“I was completely captivated by her story,” says Sheila, another participant on the video chat. “Her journey from growing up racist in apartheid South Africa to becoming Nelson Mandela’s right-hand person, and letting go of her biases, was incredible. It also helped me to better understand the racism we are experiencing today and allowed me to see things through a different and more positive lens.
“After diving into the Black Lives Matter movement, I realized that I was living in a bubble when it came to racism. When I looked closely at my social media feeds, I realized that they were predominately white, which bothered me. At the same time I was feeling overwhelmed and infuriated at all the injustice, while also wondering how we, as individuals, could possibly make a difference.
“Zelda explained that the path to changing minds and behaviours is with affection. Nelson Mandela’s approach to injustice and violence was to lead with love, kindness, and positivity, which really resonated with me and I came away from the presentation feeling inspired and more hopeful for the future.”
Thea agrees that the chance to talk with Zelda couldn’t have come at a better time. “It was an opportunity to revisit the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his example of compassion, humility, perseverance, and bravery at a moment when the world is still struggling with racism.
“[Zelda] was very clear about the way she grew up. She was raw in how she spoke about her parents, but tender when she spoke about her transformation. It was very poignant and moving.”
The Power of Speaking the Same Language
What really stood out for Thea was the fact that Nelson Mandela spoke to Zelda in her native language of Afrikaans. “It was about the humility and respect of speaking to a person in their own native tongue. He knew the way to create a movement was to speak to different cultures.”
It turns out that Thea’s sister, who joined in on the call along with their brother, had often used a quote from Nelson Mandela in her work as a Spanish teacher: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Thea and her siblings, who haven’t seen each other because of the pandemic, spoke for an hour and a half after the call. “There were so many morsels of wisdom that caused you to think. We didn’t want the journey to end.” The next morning her sister called to continue the conversation and “unpack” from their “virtual” trip together.
Sheila also continues to think about Zelda’s journey. “It was so timely for me. It showed that people’s ideologies can be changed.” She even ordered Nelson Mandela’s book, Conversations with Myself, the next day.
“The Divine Destination Collection has that special knack of tapping into the extraordinary,” says Nancy. “They put so much care into what we are experiencing.”
And since The Divine Destination Collection has always been committed to leaving a place better for having been there – a donation was made to a charity of Zelda’s choice – Relief Life Disaster Management. It will use the funds to put together 60 parcels of food that will each feed two people for a week who have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown in the Hermanus area of South Africa.
The Next Adventure Awaits
Nancy is now looking forward to the July 29th Divine Live and Online experience, Pilgrimages & Vintages, with Sue Kenney. “I met Sue when I was on The Divine Destination Collection trip to El Camino de Santiago last year. That trip was focused on us, so I’m interested to now learn about Sue’s experiences walking the Camino for 16 years.”
In fact Nancy, Sheila, and Thea have signed up for all six Divine Live and Online calls.
Since the calls are also recorded and reside on The Divine Destination Collection website for subscribers to view at their leisure, Sheila is thinking of inviting some of her clients to watch the South Africa call, as well as the October 25th Gorilla trek high in the hills near the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. “It would be a great way to keep up the momentum for a trip we have planned to South Africa in 2021.”
Continuing on with the family affair, Thea bought subscriptions to four calls for her brother and sister. They will both be joining Thea on Pilgrimages & Vintages since they all lived in Spain when they were young and grew up learning about El Camino. “My brother is also excited about Finding Nimmo, as he had planned to visit Nimmo Bay in British Columbia one day.
“I travel for business, so I have been on a lot of planes. It’s a luxury to be in the moment and have it linger on,” says Thea. “My passport is no longer the only key to emerge into a new world. From my home I have a new way to seek inspiration, learn, and wonder.”
Other upcoming Divine Live and Online experiences include meeting up with wildlife and literacy activist Boyd Varty, who will share how the mystic and the natural world are intertwined in Into the Mystic…40 Days & 40 Nights in the South African Bush with Boyd Varty and a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, for a front row seat with Lazy Bear Expeditions to visit polar bears, Arctic fox, and beluga whales, called Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My!
To find out more about how you can continue to explore the world until we can travel again – visit The Divine Destination Collection website.
Remember – you can still subscribe to all six experiences as each call is recorded and subscribers have access to the calls if they can’t make the live call, or wish to watch it again!
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