A Champion People

 

flying SA flag
For one brief moment of eighty minutes or so South Africa could take its eyes off of itself and gaze at the spectacular event of the final 2019 Rugby World Cup played in Japan this year.

What a transportation into victory !   From the constant media reporting of the murky pit of poverty and its seedy ripple effects in weary worn communities,  unsavory, corrupt politicians, and the Government of the day which has failed to deliver good services to its citizens,  the Springboks, the South African rugby team, has succeeded in delivering  the sweet taste of victory, by winning, decidedly so, the sort-after World Rugby Cup in 2019. Winning this World event surely must imprint the message on all South Africans, we are “stronger together”  and, with hard work and dedication we can, and will achieve anything we set our minds to do.
A message that will thrust us forward in re-building the nation with honest scales and firm foundations.

It was a brilliant game of rugby, executed by a brilliant team in brilliant green and gold gear.   Many South Africans were glued to their TV sets or noisily cheered on in fan clubs.    In the build up to the game the day before, the newspapers and local TV stations did their bit by showing ordinary local people expressing the support for the Boks – people from all walks of our varied South African ethnic groups.  I realised once again the big heart of South Africans.

Cape Town flag

Yes we have come from a hard history where we have had to learn to live in harmony with each other – not an easy task, as we are all a people of passion, where sparks often fly and expressions lead to misunderstandings.    But in essence, apart from some who are resilient in their self-absorption and greed, we have done this, the ordinary people of South Africa with big hearts at their core.

 

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And sport, especially Rugby, has helped us cross those bridges to national pride and unity, that is so essential in becoming a champion people.

It  is for that reason I am all for nationalism and not globalisation, which could rob us of our origins, our identities and most sadly –  our passions, leaving us eventually only with being a number – e.g. Citizen 666 !

Springbok logo

Thank you Bokke for winning, doing us proud, and leading the way for a champion people to emerge.

Butterfly SA

Place of Intensities

 

Living in South Africa will provide the extremes of intense behaviours and passions.
And though most things run smoothly for most of the time, there are moments when we get an extra dollop of intensity into our same old everyday.   It is a place of intensities.

Cape Town flag

I have had a lovely week of intensities.
Firstly there is the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture – the scenario on State corruption.  The Commission, under the Chairperson of Deputy Chief Judge Raymond Zondo, has been going on for some months, and reached another highlight this past week –  when   Former President Jacob Zuma was called to give his account, response or version to some allegations implicating him on this matter.

This had many South Africans, including me,  glued to their television sets to hear what he had to say.   We have come to know that Zuma is a whiz kid at camouflage and delay tactics when trying to avoid the truth.
We are also beginning to understand the excellence and efficiency of Judge Raymond Zondo, with his very laborious way of weighing up the finest of details and facts in every witness’s statements.
This past week I was reminded of a saying I had heard a long time ago that says ‘ the mills of God grind exceedingly slow, but they grind exceedingly small.’ 
Truth will prevail, justice will be served, its only a matter of time.   

scale with 3d man

What really impressed me was the attitude and manner of Commissioner Zondo.
He, with full insight at what was unfolding, dealt with the cat and mouse game at play resulting in an impasse reached by the two legal teams – Zuma’s lawyers and the Commission’s  legal team.
Not only did he intervene, with velvet gloves, in absolute fairness, to both parties, but he commandeered the situation to an agreeable consensus to continue at a later stage.    So Zuma,  pleading the victim, was shown grace,  and the latitude he never knew he needed, to save his face, and afford him an equitable chance to state his side of the matter.
What, I saw unfolding before me, and that I took much strength from,  was what James
2:13 speaks of –   “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
So very well done Commissioner Raymond Zondo, South Africa shows mercy to its scoundrels.   We are proud of you.

Then changing pace, but with passion, was the play off of the South African Netball team against our constant sports rivals Australia, at the  2019 Netball World Championships in Liverpool.
Netball, an almost orphan sport in SA, has now been thrust into the world arena.   And the South African team was right up there in the semi finals to bring us some glory.    Our national Soccer boys don’t make it (ever), our receding financial deficits seem to squeeze the life out of us, and politically and globally we look clumsy incapable and incompetent.     How we need  to have a few victories under our belt to help us feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

 

2023 Netball Champs


So it was with great fervour that we were all rooting for our Protea girls has they did battle against the Diamond girls from Oz.     An absolute gallant effort, a wonderful game of Netball, but sadly we were narrowly beaten by two points by the eleven-times world netball contenders.   We look forward to the next Netball World Championships in 2023.   So well done our Netball Proteas.  You give us hope, and we are proud of you.

 

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Then finally, at last we got to taste a little victory, when The Rugby Championships kicked off, and South Africa beat Australia, by a large margin.   We saw new up and coming talent in our side that will bring fresh winds of energy to the old game.
Most South Africans are besotted with rugby.  It is an ingrained lived out passion in our culture of many diversities.   And it brings with it a pride and purpose of a nation in the making.   It is a wonderful nation builder, and puts us on a global sports platform so that we can showcase our young talent.    Sport is such a passionate vehicle for social development, nationally and internationally.   And to win makes it that much sweeter.

Its been a good week.  Its always good when intensity and passion beats down the humdrum, and you just know there’s living to be done.
We all need to have expectations and gratifications along life’s way …. so as to put a little  bloom on the ordinary.
And for a few hours I did bloom in intense expectations  –  even if it was only from my favourite and comfy TV chair.

pink protea

 

 

 

Transformation

 

I have been sparring with words like transformation, attainment, and ascension, ever since the Easter message of death and resurrection.  It was probably sparked by my favourite preacher Dr Mark Chironna’s often spoken phrase   ‘rising out of dead things’
The concept is shadowing me, and I constantly want to grope at it, but just can’t get a grip on it.   So I thought to let it mull and mature through the observations that come my way.

First, it was hearing the bigger picture of the Gospel pattern, which may well reflect our own spiritual progress of death burial and resurrection  (rising out of dead things)
Then the pattern increased in scope with the Ascension and Pentecost.   But still, there was no clear understanding on my part.   Still groping !

Butterfly 1      

Butterfly 2

Second, it was the completion of a two-part watercolour pencil painting of butterflies, that I did as a gift for my friend Jenny’s newly moved-in home.
Butterflies, now there is a story of true transformation.    First the egg, then the caterpillar  then morphs the beautiful butterfly – not without a struggle though !   Isn’t Nature a wonderful teacher ?
But the butterfly had to go through the process of transformation.

worm to butterfly
Perhaps these serious thoughts of seeking clarity are because I have been in a safe and secure cocoon state for some years now.   I have been a little frustrated with my ‘futility’ and my ‘redundancy’, yet the solitary has brought with it contentment and a little creativity – big pluses !   Now looming is the unknown and a suspect of oncoming change.

I turn my attention to attainment.   But I cannot get to attainment.    Besides attainment smacks of self effort, at which I am not an ace!   So I wrestle on with words and thoughts, and procrastination.
I do believe though that we must endeavour to – attain.   We must be looking to always learn, grow, expand and develop our personalities, character and lives.  Else we stagnate, become dull and boring, or even worse – stay as we are.
But I am smartly reminded, and comforted from Scripture :
You have hedged me behind and before, And laid your hand upon me.   Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.  It is high I cannot attain it.  – Psalm 139:5,6

Thirdly, I know that growing and developing is a process.  It does not happen in a day or even a year, – perhaps in a moment in time,  perhaps with just one word that brings another perspective, – but usually the processes have to sink in to bring about slow change.
Here before my eyes,  I see on the current TV news, a glimpse into our country’s political arena,  a very good example of slow change.
South Africa is in the grip of election fever, with 770,000 registered voters ready to make their mark on 8 May 2019.    The clamour of the political parties are vibrant, and their constituents all clad in colourful battle attire of T-shirts and caps.  The African National  Congress in yellow,  the Economic Freedom Fighters in red
Butterfly SAand a wave of blue from the  Democratic Alliance – all a
spectacular colour parade in stadiums for their last 
final push for political victory in democracy and
transformation – from ‘dead things’ – (if we can
only get passed the demons of greed and corruption !)

This colourful parade of politics brought to mind the writings of Dr Don Beck’s book The Crucible.   I think he was hugely instrumental in the ‘behind-the- scenes’ of the forming of a new South Africa, in 1994.    His research brought great understanding, for me,  of the developmental stages of people, organisations and even of nations, with his colour chart of psychological development, which is as follows  – and I over-simplify my interpretation thereof :
Beige  – survival minded
Purple – mystic, spiritual minded
Red  – expression  (militant anger and/or creativity)
Blue – conformity,  order  (disciplined and responsible)
Orange – competitive (sport, business, achievement)
Green –  community minded.
Yellow  –  networking, coalition minded.
Turquoise – Global minded.
Colour ?  –  suspected future development to come, is left blank.

And so with these colour dynamics one may identify, the state of mind of a person or organisation or group of people.   This is helpful to bring about or at least understand transformation, and bring solutions to problem people or groups of people.
It is not a chart of the hierarchy of successful development, merely an indication of where we are on the chart –  or in the rainbow, so to speak !
All these can be at the extreme ends or in-between on the colour spectrum.

Again, I ask, but what brings the actual transformation and development.   Well, the short answer is God’s grace, and His goodness, of course.   But I think its the seeing where we are at, and if we are willing to make a change that will in fact bring change.   Because change is inevitable.

So  presently, what is your favourite colour  ?
In my time, I have been a purple person, a blue and a green,  currently I think I am red – trying to express myself with to many words and drawings !!

Finally, Ascension, it is a high concept, that is still to high for me to attain.
I know in the Christian faith one is growing from the carnal to the spiritual.   The Spirit-filled life is higher than the physical life.
But how do you attain it, I ask ?   Again the short answer is only by God’s grace and His goodness.
But His ways are not our ways, and so the pattern of the Gospel may be helpful, as we see Jesus willingly going to the Cross, before He could come to the place of Ascension.

Like the metamorphosis of the butterfly, it does not come about without struggle, a struggle for survival, whether it be physical or spiritual.
In any one life there is always something higher to attain to.    Transformation is needed to grow into what we are meant to become.  We can reach for it, but it is God who will bring us through, by His Spirit, His resurrection power of new life, …. and in His time.

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Day of the Covenant

 

flying SA flag

A Prayer for South Africa.

Father God on this day, 16 December,  we look back on the history of this land,  and we remember the Covenant made with You for victory in battles past fought.
We stand amazed at Your goodness to all the peoples of this country, and how the struggles of the present and the struggles of the past have made us a people of strange resilience.
Inbred in us is a sense of justice, of peace and of reconciliation.   With quiet resolve to seek from You, fairness for all, progress for all – and  work for all.
For it is in working together, to and for this land that we will stand strong.
It is on building one vision that we will continue to live with purpose, as fellow workers, in a prosperous place, with bountifulness to share with others.
You have woven us together in diversity and destiny, a beautiful social fabric of many colours, creeds and cultures.  We are a product of Your handiwork,
And today,  as we thank You, we invite You and declare Your Presence, Your wisdom and Your hand of goodness and greatness, as in times past, to be our vision for the future.
Bless South Africa with Your love, here at the southern tip of Africa, so that we may bless the nations of the world.

Cape Town flag

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision the people perish.