This weekend, we all had the honor of traveling 6 hours up to the Eastern Cape to a place called Mthatha. There was a graduation going on at Bethany Bible School that we had the honor of attending. But this wasn’t just any normal graduation; this was a graduation where the youngest person was probably about 40 years old.
Because of apartheid, these Xhosa people never got the proper education. Their level of education reached up to about the 3rd grade. So Jo and Anna, our friends who live in Mthatha, became a part of this school for the people who wanted and deserved a better education than what they received during apartheid. Not only were these people committed to attending this school and committed to learning for the past 4 years, but they were also hungry for God’s word.
The ceremony was longer than a normal graduation; 4 and a half HOURS. (Here in South Africa, slow and steady is the way to go. TIA, people. This Is Africa.) But it was so worth sitting through. Being a recent graduate myself, I had the honor and privilege of watching these people walk up to the stage and receive their certificates of graduation. It felt like only yesterday when I had those same butterflies before walking across the stage. It felt like only yesterday when I sat with the class of 2012 and wiped tears from my eyes as we moved our tassels to the right. And here I was, watching these people with huge smiles across their faces going through something more major than what I went through, if we’re being real here. You see, their education was hindered. It was cut off. They never deserved that. And those people in their caps and gowns that Saturday evening, had, in a way, fought against apartheid that night. To me, they stood up. Ranging from age 40 to 80, they finally did it; and they were so happy. Man, I wish I could’ve brought you all there that night to see what I saw. I couldn’t help from crying. Education is something I took for granted big time, but to them, they fought and clawed so hard just to receive a certificate. It doesn’t count for anything if they want to pursue their education and go to college, but I can tell you right now that it counted for something for them…and for me.
Congratulations to the Bethany Bible School class of 2012. You did it.