John Rumbiak (IST)

John Rumbiak personally met with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu

John Rumbiak (IST)

John Rumbiak (IST)Mandela

Jayapura, 1/2 (Jubi)-Aloysius Renwarin, former Director of Elsham Papua, said that Papuan society and human rights activists in Papua have suffered a great loss with the departure of Nelson Mandela because the lessons drawn from the South African reconciliation experience had greatly inspired the drafters of the special autonomy law.

“Unfortunately the Reconciliation process in Papua is not going well, not to mention the fact that an institution to cater for this process does not even exist,” he told this Tuesday (10/12). In 1997, says Renwarin, some youth delegates from South Africa had provided some material on the reconciliation process in South Africa for trainees and attendees of a human rights briefing in Biak. He added that the founder of Elsham Papua, John Rumbiak himself had met with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu personally.

“The result was that on several occasions, Elsham Papua was able to send Papuan youths to learn about the Reconciliation process in Johannesburg, South Africa,” he said.

In the 1990s there were many films that inspired Papuans, including the film entitled “Cry Freedom” on Human Rights Activists in Johannesburg, South Africa. The film depicts the struggle of Steve Biko, a student at the Faculty of Medicine, who was killed; however the police under the Apartheid régime reported that Biko had committed suicide in prison. The story of the struggle of the black majority population was also told in Sarafina, the movie depicting a students’ uprising after police brutality.


The film was used by John Rumbiak in a campaign to denounce the violence in the area of PT Freeport Indonesia and to mobilize the Amungme people in the 1990s.

“Violence does not have to be answered with violence,” said Renwarin adding that this lesson was a resounding echo from the late Nelson Mandala.

It was also only natural that students representing the people of Papua presented a wreath of flowers to the Embassy of South Africa as a token of respect for the death of Nelson Mandela. In 2009, the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua (GKI) has sent a total of 20 students from Papua to study at various universities in South Africa. Jaap Rumbrar, staff at the Foreign Affairs Division of the synod of the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua said they would study at university there for four years as part of a co-operation program with the churches in South Africa.

The Human Rights Defender and the Man of Reconciliation for South Africa, Nelson Mandela, has gone to meet his Maker. A total of 100,000 mourners are expected to attend the grand memorial service at the South Africa World Cup Stadium, including US President Barack Obama and former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.

“God gave us an incredible gift in the person of Nelson Mandela. A man who became an icon very quickly, an icon of forgiveness, an icon of generosity of the spirit,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Monday (9/12/2013) at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, as quoted by from on Monday (9/12).

“He is really a magician with a magic wand, turning us into a glorious, multi-colors, rainbow people,” said Tutu.

About 100 world leaders are scheduled to attend, along with tens of thousands of South Africans of all races and backgrounds, to pay tribute together to Mandela at the stadium. The tribute will take place at the FNB stadium in Soweto, a location which has become a symbol of resistance against apartheid, an oppressive racist political system that was based on skin color. Before the burial, Mandela’s body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Nelson Mandela will then be laid to rest in his childhood village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape Province on 15 December.

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in Qunu near Umtata. He came from a family of tribal chiefs in Transkey and since childhood he had been educated into becoming a respectable person in society. He enjoyed a good status in life. His father died when Nelson was 12 years old. When he was 16 years old, he went to Fort Hare, and then to Johannesburg, where for the first time Nelson met with a number of African city dwellers in an overcrowded African city. He studied law and obtained a degree at the Witwaterstrand University. In 1962 he was sent to prison only to be released on 11 February 1990.

Furthermore, on 10 December 1993, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, former South African Prime Minister, stood side by side when they received the Nobel Peace Prize. That particular moment on 10 December 1993 symbolized the reconciliation of South Africa. It happened, even though at the time many supporters of Mandela did not want their role model to stand side by side with a person who was part of a régime which had imprisoned him for 27 years. (Jubi/Dominggus A. Mampioper/ Leonie T)

You might also like