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ing. He won the Nobel Peace Prize when Naomi was already in graduate school and that’s when he became world famous. The challenges that Naomi faced growing up were ones that most ministers’ children experi- ence – expectations as to how you are supposed to behave as a priest’s child. You’re supposed to be “holier than thou”, well behaved, stay in church all the time, and join all the youth Chris- tian organiza- tions. There’s the expec- tation that you’re going to follow the footsteps of your father.


Naomi felt fortunate that their mother was very clear about who she was. Since she was so strong in her own identity, her own path in life, she was also very strong and clear for her children.


Naomi received from both parents


the passion for human rights, to speak out and do what she could do when she sees injustice, and also the real sense of being part of a com- munity. Her parents were always clear that they were not trying to destroy white South Africa, but they were trying to destroy the system of apartheid that oppressed them. She was very aware they were part of a


community with white South Africa even if the white people didn’t recognize that at the time.


Naomi feels this is part of the legacy of African culture that they were raised in, as well as her father’s perspective on Christianity and the bible. We inhabit this world as a community of all living beings, and there is a balance that we need to hold. When we oppress, we are putting the whole out of balance, including ourselves. Naomi believes there is a real loss to everyone in any system of oppression, as it nega- tively impacts both the oppressor and the oppressed. She admits that that perspective did not come very easily to her. As she looked at life under apartheid it was very easy to see how Africans were oppressed, and it was easy to see how white South Africans were privileged. So she came to this understanding that whites might be materially and politically privileged, but fundamen- tally they are also out of balance, as they are also losing part of the gift of community. Naomi thinks that that is probably one of the greatest gifts that her parents gave her—that recognition that when you “other” someone, you are taking some oppor- tunity away from yourself as well.


For Naomi it’s important to recognize when we have decided the “other” has less value for us, and to step back and recognize the humanity of the person. We can open ourselves to the opportunity for community, for fellowship, for learning from that person who we know as “other”. Without fail, when Naomi had an interaction with somebody and caught herself “othering” them, if


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