Latent Forgiveness


At The New Republic, Eve Fairbanks offers an illuminating profile of Adriaan Vlok, a former apartheid leader turned evangelist:

As we stopped at a series of dusty little nursery schools, I was struck by Vlok’s overall passivity. It contrasted sharply with the attitude of other white volunteers I’ve ridden with into poor black neighborhoods, who brim with vigor and sharp instructiveness. When he opened the back door of the truck, he simply waited for the kids and teachers to take whatever they wanted. A young boy in a red t-shirt we’d been told was intellectually disabled clambered into the driver’s seat and fiddled with the ignition, which still had the key in it. “Oh, hello!” Vlok said when he noticed the boy. “That’s nice! Why not try turning it on?” At one point, two young men sauntered by the open truck, grinned, and wiggled acquisitive fingers toward the custard pies. “Have them!” Vlok offered, smiling agreeably. Even after the thefts, he told me, he still never locks his truck.

Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →