"I'm so happy being the positive, upbeat forgiveness girl and I'm so indescribably proud of myself for being able to be her because for a long time in my life... I was anything but happy or forgiving."
This is how Candice Mama describes her journey in the prologue to Forgiveness Redefined which relates how she came to forgive the man responsible for her father's murder - apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock.
Mama was just seven months old when her father, Masilo Mama, was brutally killed in 1992.
She tells 702's Refiloe Mpakanyane about the difficult process which has led to her becoming a forgiveness advocate and kindness activist.
I'd love to say the decision to forgive came because I was so enlightened... but unfortunately it came through a very difficult incident in my life.— Candice Mama, Author - Forgiveness Redefined
After she'd experienced what felt like a heart attack when she was 16, a doctor told her after doing tests that in fact her physical pain was a symptom of severe stress. It was the most extreme he'd ever seen in a patient, especially one so young.
He told me pretty much that my body was killing me and I think for the first time in my life I had to come to terms with the fact that - I'd wanted to die before - I'd never actually lived and I'd actually never experienced joy.— Candice Mama, Author - Forgiveness Redefined
I'd actually given away all my power to this person. I didn't form a relationship with my father but I'd formed a strong, strange bond with Eugene (de Kock) and every time I'd think of him I'd just go into a rage and my body would react.— Candice Mama, Author - Forgiveness Redefined
She describes how this realization was the starting point of the long road to forgiveness and vanquishing her demons.
Mama is now an acclaimed speaker who travels all over the world and has been named one of Vogue Paris’ most inspiring women alongside influential figures like former US first lady Michelle Obama.
Listen to her inspiring story in the audio below:
Image: @CandiceMama on Twitter