For many of people history is incredibly boring. Filled with hard to remember dates and seemingly unprouncable names, history can easily be viewed as a drag. I am not here to argue that this thought process is wrong or that these claims are invalid, however, for me it is absolutely fascinating to see the ripple effects and connecting points that major events and people have on the rest of history. Our guide this last weekend referred to these linking stories as “threads” that are delicately interwoven to create the tapestry known as history.
South Africa is a land full of these so-called “threads” and my favorite is a story that comes from the Anglo Boer War of 1899-1902. The war was a battle between the English, the Boer-Trekkers of Dutch decent (Later referred to as the Afrikaans), and the Zulus who were a tribe of natives. In 1899 the English had planned to march and take over a town known as Ladysmith. As a result of this, a young journalist by the name of Winston Churchill was writing as a foreign war correspondent for the London Morning Post, packed his bags and took a train heading for Ladysmith. Before he goes there however, his train was apprehended by the Boer-Trekkers and he was taken prisoner and sent to serve time in Pretoria. Soon after he arrived though, he made a daring escape and eventually found his way back to safety with the British Army.
Two things specifically grab my attention about this story. First and foremost, Winston Churchill was a journalist. That’s pretty inspiring to me to see that one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century started out doing the same profession that I am pursuing. Secondly, our guide continually asked us to imagine how different history would have been had Churchill been held captive. How much different would history be had the Trekkers decided it was a good idea to kill this journalist. Churchill went on to become one of the most motivational and influential leaders of World War II. To think what history would be like without him is nearly impossible.
As I was thinking more and more about how this single event could have changed everything about modern times as we know them, I just began to think about how brilliant it is that God can see these ‘threads’ connecting together in ways we will never even be able to imagine. It also made me think about how evident it is that every person and event has a purpose. I hesitate to say that because I often become extremely frustrated with sayings like that. However, I am slowly coming to realize that this frustration is a result of me not being able to see connections with clarity instead not believing in the truth that lies behind such sayings.
On a different note, time is flying by without any restraint or hesitation. We have only two weeks left here in Pietermaritzburg and then off to Capetown we go! It has gone by so quickly by I honestly have loved every minute of it. Well that is all I have for now! Sala Kahle!