Forty years ago this week was the death of black activist Steve Biko in South Africa, the story told by the evocative film Cry Freedom.
It was such a powerful film that my wife and I at the time joined the anti-apartheid movement.
The film portrays the awful consequences of racial segregation in South Africa and the ways in which black people were effectively being enslaved and persecuted.
Eventually that system was broken down but the country is still living with the effects and coming to terms with the overturning of an old social order and introduction of a new.
It was Jean Jacques Rousseau who said that man is born free but everywhere he is chains, and those chains take many forms.
It is said that we live in a free country, but we still have to operate within the law and abide by social expectations if communities are to function.
The whole question of migrants and how they interact in our society shows that even with freedom there isn’t a quality of life.
The inhabitants of the ‘Jungle’ outside Calais could be said to be free from the persecution and violence they were escaping from, but they do not enjoy what be said to be a good quality of life.
Society here also has its problems.
The sorry state of Southern Rail traps thousands of commuters every day to a torture that seems never ending.
The people needing to travel to get to their place of employment often do not have a choice.
But there are also the shackles that we all live with every day in our personal lives.
People can often feel trapped by circumstances that are beyond their control.
It might be family situations or financial problems.
It could be a health issue, or it could be something of habit like smoking.
Think how often you hear about people who wish they could give it up!
It’s also possible to be oblivious of some shackles.
There are those who are trapped in a lifestyle that actually is very comfortable where you are cushioned from the plight of people around you.
Wealth can also be a trap.
Being overly comfortable can harden your heart against the plight of people struggling around you.
Freedom should enable us all to live better, healthier lives but also open to the needs of our fellow humans so that we can use our freedom to help them.
If we close our hearts to people around us that is probably the worst sort of imprisonment.