‘The Threatened Miracle of South Africa’s Democracy’ is an inspirational documentary based on the book ‘A Witness for Ever’ written by Michael Cassidy in 1995. Michael is the founder and leader of African Enterprise, and was involved in many initiatives to support and promote the peaceful transition in South Africa in 1994. Also included in the documentary are the thoughts of younger generation leaders who bring insight into our context today.
From 1992 to 1994 there was a spontaneous movement of unbroken 24/7 prayer in South Africa. The nation was on its knees, and apartheid was breaking down the human dignity of people. By the late 1980s the national party was under enormous pressure to abolish apartheid. Michael Cassidy was one of many people deeply involved in facilitating that change.
Michael also initiated and participated in The South African Leadership Assembly, and a succession of conferences and prayer initiatives between the 1960s and 1994. But the long history of tribal violence in South Africa continued to threaten the idea of a peaceful and fair election.
After the assassination of Chris Hani in April 1993, Michael and the agency started pushing for the creation of a body that would ensure a level playing field in order to transition South Africa to a peaceful democracy. African Enterprise hosted conferences in an effort to bring peace and reconciliation. In total 92 senior political leaders attended, and a network of new friendships were formed.
A prayer gathering was put in place by Michael Cassidy and African Enterprise to call for peace. This was a faith venture. “When we put our trust in God, we also know that we are co-laborers together with Him,” said Michael. “We had to depend on that, and God really was working on our behalf because He had his own plans for this country.”
“I had a sense of the spirit of God saying to me, the stronghold has been broken and the walls have come down.”
After years of struggle, freedom was found from this moment on. The first democratic election in South Africa commenced peacefully from 26 – 29 April 1994.
Only God can create a miracle. Something extraordinary and astonishing. He makes this happen through people. He is able to turn sworn enemies into friends.
“There was a new feeling in South Africa after that election. And that’s what we had been fighting for all along.”
South Africa may still have some serious challenges, but the miracle story of their democracy teaches us that God can use ordinary people to bring about great change.
Feature photo – Michael Cassidy and FW de Klerk, after the passing of FW De Klerk earlier this year, Michael Cassidy said the following:
The passing of FW de Klerk (11 November 2021) reminds all South Africans of the historically important role he played in bringing South Africa through to becoming a non-racial, democratic country. Had de Klerk not released Nelson Mandela, unbanned the Liberation Movements, & instead tried forcefully to screw the political lid down even more, our country would surely have descended into the abyss of epic political & social tragedy & ongoing civil conflict. But de Klerk made the highly courageous decision to break not just with his own party, but his own history, which included being Transvaal National Party leader for many years when he sought to implement the dreadful policy. His cynical critics will see his change of heart & mind as totally opportunistic because he finally saw no other way could pragmatically work. And he was out of options. But I personally believe he had some sort of genuine Damascus Road experience, whether spiritual or political or both, which he in his last speech to South Africa called “a conversion”. In that last speech he also apologized to South Africa for the pain & injustice caused by that dreadful system. I felt this apology was genuinely sincere & expressed the pain & remorse of a man who had finally realized with deep regret that most of his political life he had embraced & propagated an iniquitous & unjust policy. One hopes all South Africans, particularly those most wounded by Apartheid, will, like Mandela, extend forgiveness to de Klerk & all who misguidedly inflicted that horrific system on our country. All this is part of closing past chapters of our story, learning the lessons from them, & opening a new chapter of a happy, prosperous, & just South Africa. In this I would hope de Klerk will be given his rightful place in our history alongside Nelson Mandela, Oliver Thambo, Govan Mbeki, Robert Sobukwe, Desmond Tutu & others. We in African Enterprise extend deep sympathy to his wife, Elita, & family.