Having heard Chris speak at The Anti-Bullying conference in October, I felt so moved and inspired by his presentation that I immediately asked him to visit The Hayling College so that all of our pupils and staff could hear about his amazing experiences. He visited us on Wednesday 11th February, exactly 25 years after Nelson Mandela was released from prison, giving six 1hr long talks to years 6 - 11, parents and staff. There were tears and laughter as we listened and I think it's fair to say every person felt inspired. Below are some of the observations of the day from staff and pupils.
Chris Lubbe truly is an inspirational speaker as he recounts his life story to an audience that really doesn’t know what to expect, as anything we know and feel is so far removed from apartheid in South Africa. His message is clear and simple: FORGIVE - that is what makes a difference. He doesn’t advocate violence although it was part of his life; he doesn’t advocate revenge to right the torture he suffered, and neither does he advocate apathy in the face of oppression. What he does proclaim in a soft, mirthful voice is forgiveness in the face of difficulties, prejudice and an intransigent enemy. He was inspired working with Nelson Mandela, and along with his own personal experiences of seeing his Mum manhandled off a whites-only bench and seeing a man thrown off a moving train because he was in the wrong carriage, Chris has forged a path through the morass of inhumanity that still exists in some places today.
He has an easy-going manner that makes the message of ‘make a difference’ all the more powerful when he has seen it work, through the emergence of democracy in South Africa. He admits that his homeland still has a way to go but it is heading in the right direction and he has been part of that. He knows how powerful forgiveness can be as he has had to forgive those that would have held him down, permanently. Some people are destined to lead extra-ordinary lives and Chris Lubbe is one of those quiet, self-possessed people who it is a privilege to meet and who you only meet once in a lifetime.
I was deeply affected by Chris’s account of his life experiences living with apartheid; it meant so much more than reading a two dimensional account of how it was. How inspiring that he is using his upbringing in such a hugely negative environment to move on with his life in such an amazing way, touching so many lives across the world in the process. I am convinced this is something I will never forget and I am grateful that he touched my life.
On Wednesday 11th February 2015, year six to eleven had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela’s personal body guard, Chris Lubbe. Having been the bodyguard for Nelson Mandela himself, Chris now works for UNICEF and is a motivational speaker for schools in South-Africa and the UK. Chris came to our school to tell us, the story of his childhood and his work for Nelson Mandela. Having Chris perform his motivational speech to our pupils gives the pupils the chance to have an open mind in the past of South-Africa, showing us the un-imaginable challenges he faced fighting for deserved rights. He taught us to appreciate what we have and that anyone can make a change to the world.
Year 9 pupils
Thank you Chris, we look forward to you visiting us again.
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