First on EWN: Daughter of Eugene de Kock victim lets go of anger
Candice Mama says she will not allow her life to be defined by Eugene De Kock’s actions.
JOHANNESBURG - "I would like to see Eugene de Kock outside prison one last time. As a free man. For final closure."
These are the words of Candice Mama who was only eight months old when her father Glenack Mailo Mama was killed by former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock in 1992.
Most people in her position would not wish to confront the person whose actions meant they grew up without a father. But not Candice.
She doesn't want anything bad to happen to De Kock now that Justice Minister Michael Masutha announced he be released on parole after serving only 20 years of his two life sentences.
She is even concerned about his wellbeing now that he is due to be released. But she does say that the fact that she does not know his current whereabouts makes her 'uncomfortable'.
"It would be nice if we can finally meet outside of prison, just having a cup of tea, putting it all behind us." WATCH: Candice Mama talks forgiveness
WATCH: Candice Mama talks forgiveness
If she could ask him only one question, what would it be?
"What would be his new journey? I'd like to see if it was what he thought it would be."
Now 23, Candice did not ask about her absent father until she was nine. She happened to open a photo album and saw pictures of how he was attacked and killed.
"I asked myself whether he deserved to die. Was he a murderer?" she asked as a grade three girl, trying to understand why her father had to pay a price for something she didn't yet understand.
Eyewitness News met with her at a coffee shop in Johannesburg with a specific question that needed to be answered. "Why did you forgive Eugene de Kock? You have all the right to hate your father's convicted murderer."
She responded by reflecting on her life, pain and bitterness and trying to help others overcome their battle to forgive.
Candice is now the same age as her mother was when she lost her husband and was left with her eight-month old daughter and her son Ashley, then 4 years old.
"I don't blame my mother for the way she raised us. Her mother was absent in her life too. She is a mixed race and my father was black. He educated her on why they couldn't hold hands. My mother was raised by a white family. My father showed her this is the world we live in."
Candice was raised by her grandmother on a North West farm but later moved to Johannesburg to live with her mother.
"My grandmother was brainwashed. She believed everything white was right, and my brother and I had to find our own balance.
"We were about thirteen years old when we were like 'come on guys, we can't go on like this. We need to calm down'."
She laughs when she says the family had to realise that what the apartheid regime taught them about white supremacy was wrong.
Her real journey to forgiveness long before she met De Kock in prison last October.
"I had to forgive Eugene because I was tired of always being angry, upset. Every time I think about him and I broke out in a cold sweat."
Candice admits that with her background of having black and white grandparents it made it easier for her to forgive De Kock.
"It's about a sense of control. What is the point of me dying bitter? What am I going to pinpoint it to? I can't justify all my actions according to that event. Yes, it's a bad incident that I will always remember, but it's not something that will define me."
Five months ago she and her immediate family went to visit De Kock in prison, after which she posted a picture of them on Facebook and the reaction was overwhelming.
"People started asking me 'how do you do it?'. Mostly white people. I felt I had such a huge responsibility [to give them advice]."
Candice acknowledges the sacrifices made by her father.
"Thank goodness for his sacrifices and that of many others.... I don't have to go out and fight and charge. You can't hold on to the past and let that justify your actions for being angry. I am not in favour of people saying they are fighting for liberation, or they are fighting for that. At the end of the day, the fights just result in more fights."
"As South Africans you are entitled to an opinion, but you can't just spew venom. Sometimes it's only that one seed - and you end up raising angry children and an angry society. It has a ripple effect of negativity and poison. It feels like we are digging for problems."
Candice is now working with NGOs speaking to trauma victims while studying communications finance at Unisa.
"I don't want to capitalise on the Eugene de Kock story. I was very cautious even when people wanted to pay me for stories. I want to make a difference."
This self-motivated young woman is finding her own way of bringing about transformation. While others her age are out in the streets forcefully demanding transformation through campaigns such as Rhodes-Must-Fall and others deface the Paul Kruger statue, she believes there are other ways of addressing the underlying issues.
"It's easy to be bitter, but those who have changed their lives inspire me. I pray a lot and He leads my path."