We choose to love and forgive – Korkie family

2014-12-08 07:08

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The family of South African teacher Pierre Korkie, who was killed in a botched rescue mission in Yemen, said they choose to forgive and rejoice in his memories.

His wife Yolande Korkie said after hearing the news she asked herself many questions and realised people had a choice.

“So today we choose to forgive. We choose to love. We choose to rejoice in the memories of Pierre and keep him alive in our hearts. We honour Pierre’s legacy and give glory to God for his life and death,” she said yesterday.

“We resolve to live in the embrace of God – until our time comes to be reunited. Even though this pain is overwhelming us right now, we choose to believe that this too will pass.”

Korkie and American photographer Luke Somers were killed in the early hours of Saturday during a rescue operation carried out by United States Special Forces in Yemen.

Korkie and Yolande were kidnapped in Taiz, Yemen, in May last year.

She said her heart was breaking for herself, her children, their family and the people who travelled the road with them.

Pierre Korkie was a hostage for 558 days, she said.

Yolande Korkie was released on January 10 and returned to South Africa on January 13. The Gift of the Givers had helped negotiate her release.

At the time of the kidnapping, Korkie was a teacher in Yemen and she did relief work in hospitals.

The kidnappers demanded $3 million (about R32.5 million) in exchange for Korkie’s safe return.

Yesterday, Yolande said she had done more in one year than she did in 10 years and said the family valued the “special people God” brought to the table and gave “Him glory for strengthening the hands and minds and hearts of all these people”.

“Our children, Peter and Lize. I praise God for you. You are the bravest.”

Yolande thanked Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and Anas al-Hamati for their “passionate commitment and perseverance. No obstacle was too big. You gave me a second chance to be with our children”.

She thanked the South African government, people from across the world who prayed for the family, the Yemen Embassy, the media and the American embassy, which is repatriating Pierre Korkie’s body.

“Today Pierre will be returned to us as he saw in a vision; we will spend time with him saying goodbye and reaching for some sort of closure.”

She said there would be a combined press conference and more details would follow.

A memorial service would be held in Bloemfontein later the week followed by a private burial service.

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