‘My family resisted injustice’: Apartheid survivor runs in Croydon North at General Election


By Jack Francklin
December 6 2019, 14.40

A victim of discrimination under apartheid in South Africa is running for the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) party in the Croydon North constituency.

Candace Mitchell was barred from a classroom in Cape Town because of the colour of her skin.

Miss Mitchell, who was 15 when she left her native South Africa, founded RevolutionChange, which she called a dynamic and transformational life coaching organisation, founded two years ago.

She said: “I must have been five or six and a white kid put his hand out in front of me and stopped me from entering the classroom because of the colour of my skin.

“I remember going home that day crying because I could not understand what was wrong with me.

“Even though I was in a mixed school racism was still part of every child.

“I was called a ‘blackie’ and so my understanding as a child was that I was different because of my skin colour.

“We should never be judged by that.

“It was not as simple as just verbal education, it was also learned behaviour. People watched how their parents treated others or saw signs that said certain individuals were allowed in one place but others weren’t.

“Growing up with a family that resisted injustice, my views were formed very early on. These were to passionately fight for change, freedom and equality of people.”

The CPA is the only pro-life supporting party, and some of their key principles include social justice, reconciliation and active compassion considering Christian values.

Her father was a freedom fighter against the system which lasted from 1948 until 1994 and she attributes much of who she is today to him.

She said: “He went through a lot more injustice than I ever did. He was a victim of police brutality, he was beaten up and experienced all the hardships of the Nelson Mandela era.

“He lived through all of that. We both understand each other and he is very proud to see me affect change and transform lives.

“Together as a father and daughter we want change and I take my hat off to him because it shaped who I am.”

She remembers the sense of relief when apartheid was lifted but is aware that problems from that era are still ingrained in her native country.

She said: “I recall the state of the nation had changed, but obviously the situation didn’t transform overnight.

“The unknown is always scary because you never know what is going to happen.

“I remember that feeling in my heart that the situation was going to get better.

“We celebrated freedom openly with all different colours. South Africa, is after all, the ‘rainbow nation’.

“I have lived in England more than South Africa, but when I go back there, I feel uncomfortable as you can feel the repression and how ingrained it is.”

Miss Mitchell relates the diversity of her native country to Croydon and hopes that her life coaching skills will help bring about dynamic change within the political sphere.

“I believe I am the definition of diversity, and the heart of Croydon North is exactly this,” she added.

“People come from so many backgrounds which is powerful, as that power can affect so much change within a community.

“One of my core beliefs at RevolutionChange is to make the difference you must BE the difference.

“When you begin to change you inherently affect the people and community around you, and eventually the nation.”

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