Nearly three years ago on the 7th of June 2020 I wrote to the then Queen of England.

It was 2am at night. I couldn’t sleep. I actually felt nauseous from the pressure I felt inside myself to write to her. In some ways it felt futile because I argued to myself that it wouldn’t really help. She probably won’t even read it herself, and most likely, won’t do anything about it. As we all know, the Queen doesn’t intervene in ‘political matters’.

At the time, the whole world was in turmoil, but especially in the United States, because of the death of George Floyd. People were advocating for ‘Black Lives Matter’. The Queen’s own grandson and his family left the UK and were living in North America. So, why write to the Queen of England?

Like everyone else who was born in a commonwealth country, the power of the British Empire has played a major part in my life. From the moment I was born, even though I might not have realised it at the time, the British influence on myself and my country of birth, South Africa, has been immense.

The psyche of the whole nation, and in fact, on the entire commonwealth, has been so influenced by England’s global dominance, and the laws that were put in place during colonial rule. These pass laws set the scene and made it easy for Apartheid rolled out and enforced. The Anglo-Boer Wars forever changed a people from being farming folk to ones who vowed never to be governed and shamed, which was another contributing factor to the scar of Apartheid.

I was born in the seventies, an era that was marked by the Angolan Bush war- a war that now holds no value, but cost thousands of lives. A war that was supposedly fought to keep the communists out of Africa, but that was more about resources and Western rule in the world.

The trail of blood from the Empire and other colonial powers leads all through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and with Floyd’s death, was clearly still playing out in the United States. The legacy of slavery has not disappeared. The racist thought patterns can be seen throughout the ‘colonies’, even here in my new homeland, Australia. When I arrived here in 2007, I came face to face with the ‘invisible’ Aboriginal people. The legacy of the White Australia Policy was still evident. The same pass laws that the British established in South Africa were used here too in the past. Yet, despite this, many are still washing their hands of the past, and think that it was not their doing.

The problem is that even if you think that none of this matters today, or that you yourself are innocent of these things, for people who have lived experiences of the consequences of colonial systems, it is not. The UK and other previous colonial powers are still reaping the benefits of the Empire whilst the world is battling with the effects of racist laws. Without the resources taken from Third World Countries, Europe would not be generations ahead of especially African nations.

Through my letter, I was hoping that the late Queen’s biggest achievement could have been helping the world acknowledge that these patterns we are still operating in are wrong. After seeing an article in the Guardian, “King Charles signals first explicit support for research into monarchy’s slavery ties”, I am hoping that perhaps King Charles could be the change maker.

Not only will an apology and acknowledging the past bring healing to many people, perhaps even his own family and nation, but it will make others aware that subconsciously and subtly de-humanising colonial systems have infiltrated our thinking and we have accepted these systems and beliefs as the norm.

Every day of my life, I acknowledge that I come from white privilege. I was educated in an elite Apartheid education system that enabled me to come to Australia. My ancestors still had a colonial mindset and often only did things to further their own cause. I do everything in my power to give back to Africa and to build bridges. I am grateful for where I am from, because even though in the eyes of the world, we will always be the villains, I know that God knows that I am living a life-giving life as a bridge builder and peacemaker. I have the power to bring change to a system where people defend themselves and their ancestors and refuse to acknowledge the sins of the past. One thing is certain, there can be no liberty without repentance. The truth always sets people free.

As the head of the Church of England, King Charles is the spiritual head of the nation. This is a position of great responsibility.

Jesus Christ himself was revolutionary in his advocacy for the marginalised, women, the poor and underprivileged. With Easter just gone by, we are reminded that Jesus Christ paid the price for all of this mess and that people can be free and experience His love. That from the beginning, we see that God values life, and all human life as equal.

You may ask, why bring God into this? Ironically, although Christianity is in decline amongst white western males, it is still the fastest growing religion in the world, is the largest religious community in the world, and the majority religion in 43 of the 53 Commonwealth countries. If King Charles took up this advocacy role as demonstrated by Christ, it would go a long way.

The promise remains that “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

The only question is: will King Charles be that instrument of change? Will he be able to take Wilberforce’s message even further and inspire world leaders to dismantle colonial patterns?