Podcast Episode - Ask Suze Anything Special: Freedom



June 04, 2020

Listen to Podcast Episode:

In this special episode, Suze talks about freedom and shares the moving story of when she went to South Africa to speak with women at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto.


Podcast Transcript:

June 4, 2020. Well, welcome to the Women and Money podcast, as well as the men smart enough to listen. Today's podcast normally is Ask Suze Anything, but I have to tell you, given the events of the past week and everything that is going on in the United States, I'm personally, I have to say this, I'm having a really hard time just talking about money. I just am. It's almost as if, not that it's irrelevant, but that it's not the most important topic at hand. I talk about financial freedom all the time, I talk about financial independence all the time. But more than financial freedom, more than financial independence, one's personal rights, their own personal independence, their own personal freedom to be whoever they are, wherever they want to be, to do whatever they want within the law is their birthright. It is their birthright, and it just seems to me, talking about money, should you invest, the market is up, the market is down. The market's been great, by the way. Um, I don't know, just doesn't hold the value that all of us should be holding right now. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be dealing with our money and doing things and still paying attention to it. But we have to look at our lives and we really have to ask and answer the question, what is the most important part of your life? And really, the answer is not money. The answer is your freedom, and I understand very well that when you don't have money, you feel like you are in debtor's prison. You feel like you are in a financial jailhouse. But if you've ever been in jail, if you’ve ever been in prison, having absolutely no money but having your freedom is far more precious than having money even and being behind bars. Because there's something about those bars, those bars that are keeping you in, that really is devastating. And that's just if you're in jail. What if you lost your life, your life? What is more precious than your life? So, I was going through all of the questions, and they all were like, all right, we'll get to those, will get to those. But then I came across one question, and obviously, it was just sent in, most recently given the events from the past week and all that has been going on. And you have to all be really happy, aren't you? I'm personally incredibly happy that all four policemen were charged. Now the key is going to be, will they be convicted? And I can only hope that they absolutely will be. But I was reading through the emails that you sent in on the app. By the way, they're not emails anymore, you do it via the app. I was reading one, and they asked a very interesting question to me. And they asked Suze, during this time that we are going through, does it bring up any memories for you? Does it bring up anything that you would want to talk about that maybe happened to you and that maybe it's uplifting, but that we can identify with what it's like when freedom is taken away? And I sat there and I thought about it, I was actually asking KT, how do you think I should answer this question? And all of a sudden, I went, oh, my God! In October of 2001, it was right after September 11th, and I had been booked to go to South Africa and travel throughout South Africa giving talks about financial freedom. And the theme of these talks was "Financial Freedom is Your Birthright." And there were billboards everywhere all over South Africa, saying, Suze Orman is coming. Tickets were selling out and we had events where there were 4k seats and they sold out. And then we did another 4k before you knew it 12k had been sold. And I said, that's enough for that one location, and it was just all over the place. And there was one event that I was so looking forward to, it's not even funny. And it was an event in the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto, which is a township in South Africa. And somehow, it just feels so fitting today to be talking about the Regina Mundi Church. So, before I tell you about what happened there that day, I just want to make sure that a lot of you even know about this church. Number one, in South Africa, there was apartheid and apartheid started in 1948 and lasted until the early 1990s. Not that many years before I went to speak in South Africa. And to say that the brutality of the whites against the blacks during that entire period, there aren't even words for it. And people wanted to gather, the blacks wanted to gather and talk about things. What could they do and all these things, kind of like what's happening right now? And there were not many places that they could gather safely. It just didn't happen. And there was the Regina Mundi Church, which happened to be the largest, and I think it still is, by the way, the largest Roman Catholic church in all of South Africa. Five thousand to 7k people could gather there. They did so before apartheid, and they also do it after apartheid. They're still doing it to this day. And this church became so relevant because June 16, which is actually coming up here, in 1976, there were some uprisings in Soweto. They were actually called the Soweto Uprisings. And this is where people were starting to revolt. The blacks were starting to revolt, rightfully so, and the police came in with their guns while these people were protesting, some peacefully, some not. And they killed a few people, especially a boy by the name of Hector Peterson. And there's a symbol of people carrying him that's really a symbol of this entire period. And people fled and they fled where? They fled to the only safe place that they knew, which was the Regina Mundi Church. But guess who followed them into the church? The police and the police started to shoot into the church. Now, they didn't kill anybody, but they absolutely wounded quite a few, and they chipped the altar with their bullets, and there are bullet holes in the walls. And I tell you all this because it's still there like that to this day. And I'll never forget walking into this church and seeing bullet holes, seeing everything that kind of happened there because there's evidence of it everywhere. They did not change it, thank God. And I'll never forget walking up to this picture, and the picture is called the Madonna and Child of Soweto. It's a painting, and it's a painting of a black Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus, who was also black, and there was something just so symbolic about that. And the priest came up to me and said, pray Suze, pray to this Virgin. And I said, what should I pray for? And he said, oh, Suze, that's up to you. It was such a moment, I can't even say it. And I didn't even know what to pray for because there was so much, it felt like there was just so much to pray for at that moment in time. To pray for the freedom of people, to pray for may never the events that happened to the Regina Mundi church happen again, anywhere. But that prayer, was it answered or not? I'll let you decide that on your own. I was looking all around, and I was looking at the time because many incredible people would come and speak at that church, to speak about apartheid and the rights of people. Archbishop Desmond Tutu came there, Bill Clinton came there, Michelle Obama actually went there not so long ago, where she addressed women. She addressed women there, and it's such a holy place. And here I was and I was to give a talk there, and in Soweto, all we did to advertise this talk was we put little posters that were nine by 12 in yellow with black writing on it: Suze Orman in Soweto, the date and everything. And they got nailed up on all these polls and everything and that was it. And I'll never forget that the fee was five ran. And at the time when I was speaking everywhere else, the fee was 200 ran to come and hear me speak. But I wanted to make sure that this community, they were able to hear what I had to say. And before you knew it, 5k tickets were sold. All the money was going to be donated back to Soweto. And I invited a group of women called the Mothers of the Nation, and these were the women of Soweto who made sure that everybody was OK in Soweto. And the day arrived and there were cameras, there was everything and the place was packed. Then, everybody wore their best clothes. It was so beautiful, I can't even tell you. And they were colorful and they were happy, and everything was just so like I wanted it to be. And I could remember taking that stage, and I can remember looking out at all the faces of all the women that were there who had gone through apartheid and who had every right stripped from them possible. But yet they still had faith, they still had hope, they still wanted to know about their money. And I proceeded to talk for four hours, four hours that went by like five minutes. And when I was done, all the women at once, can you imagine this? Five thousand women at once stood up, and they all started to sing this song, and I didn't understand the words. They started to do this motion where they were all in sync. It's like they all knew this song and they were starting to like roll their hands around each other and then fling open their right arm. And I said to somebody, what are they saying? What are they singing? And somebody said to me, they're singing about let us out of jail, opened the door, give us our freedom, our freedom. And they all knew this song. And then they came up to me and a few of them presented me with these bracelets that they had made that were representative of their suffering and now their freedom that they felt that they had in their own hands. So, I answer the question that I saw that if the people of South Africa could go through what they went through, and now here they are. And just a few years before I even came there, you know, Nelson Mandela Madiba was elected president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He spent 27 years in prison and I went to see his jail cell on Robben Island. And Madiba was a tall man, and when you stood next to him, you were like, I didn't get you were that tall. Because it was confusing to me because when I went and I visited his jail cell on Robben Island, there was no way, and he spent like, 17 or 18 years in this one little jail cell. There was no way that he was able to lie down on this cot that had nothing on it, with an open window. And it was freezing there. How he made it through, how anybody made it through there is beyond me. He never ever could have possibly straightened his legs. And so, he got through that, he got through so many things. And then he ends up President of South Africa. Probably one of the greatest moments, the greatest moments of my entire life was getting to meet him. And I had been invited to come to see him in his home in Johannesburg. We walked in and he looked at me and he took my hands. And I have to tell you all, he worked in the lime fields there. The conditions were so brutal. I was freezing just being there, and I had a coat on and he had nothing. And his hands were like a touch that I've never felt before in my entire life. And I've actually never felt it since. And I looked at him and I said, Madiba, what can I do for you? And he said, Suze, I wanted to see you because I just want you to teach my people how to read. If you could just teach them how to read Suze, if you could help them that way, they can stay free. Teach my people what you know. And I just looked at him like, what do I know? What do I know? And he just looked at me and held my hands and he said, you know, you know. And then he had to leave because these Burundi rebels were waiting to meet him, and they were like, who is this girl walking in when we want to meet with Madiba? But that was one of the highlights of my life. I got to leave with the book, his book that he wrote and he signed it to me, and I have to tell you, I treasure that book probably more than I treasure anything else. But this whole story of South Africa, and apartheid, and what everybody went through, and how many people did I get to speak to and have dinners with that were in prison all those years? And what they suffered, and the people that they saw murdered, and, oh, the stories, the stories, but somehow, they made it through. That period of my life in 2001 grounded me in the faith that everything, really, everything, when you stand in your truth and you work towards freedom, eventually it will come no matter what that freedom is that you are wanting. So that is the story that I wanted to talk about today. Because I know that so many of you are listening because I have a tremendous black following. Tremendous. And I know you're hurt, but we can get through this. And if we just stand in our truth and we have the courage to make the changes that need to be made, if we get involved on every single level that we possibly can, then freedom, true freedom, freedom to be who you are, freedom to be who you want to be, that can become a reality. We just can never, ever give up. Ever. In providing answers neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman is acting as a Certified Financial Planner, advisor, a Certified Financial Analyst, an economist, CPA, accountant, or lawyer. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman makes any recommendations as to any specific securities or investments. All content is for informational and general purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting or legal advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and financial advisors regarding your particular situation. Neither Suze Orman Media nor Suze Orman accepts any responsibility for any loss, which may arise from accessing or reliance on the information in this podcast and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for loss or damages, direct or indirect, arising from use of the information.

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