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.
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.
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 !
Thank you Bokke for winning, doing us proud, and leading the way for a champion people to emerge.
Let me tell you of a saint I met in a township.
A good few years ago I was part of a project that went into the township of Tembisa, in the distant proximity of the international airport in Johannesburg. I had tagged along so that I could promote my food garden project. The meaning of the name Tembisa is promise and hope.
We met at the Moya Catholic Church, where we prayed and planned to help the poor people of that community. Everybody was poor and struggling to make ends meet, and Joseph Kudema was one of the volunteers, a layman of the Church, who carried the Poor on his heart. He would meet and greet us and welcome us into the community.
We were a group of volunteers under the leadership of the Christian Welfare Council – an agency of the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa, that does marvelous work of restitution among the Poor to this very day.
At that time in our history, it was a time for reconciliation among Black and White communities, and the time had come for not only welfare, but for development too. We met occasionally with the intention to encourage the people to help pull the wheel of ‘development’ through the poverty gorge that was huge, deep and unending.
Joseph knew poverty well. He was wise, for he was a man of the Church, and knew the potential that Christians could bring to beat the problem – if only they were willing.
Joseph was a gentle man, a soft spoken man, and a wise man. He treated us with love, and was more of an encouragement to us than we were to him. We were always enriched at the end of each visit. And so, I found, it was, with the ‘poor’ Black communities – they were rich in love, and shared it generously with those who would care enough to come and visit them. The townships were hot beds of tensions in those days, not considered a safe place for well intending Whites to meander in.
One day Joseph shared his African wisdom with me, which I have kept as a treasure.
“Real leadership is when you can get a mouse, a cat and a dog to drink from the same saucer.” That is real reconciliation. And
“When the bus begins to move, the dogs begin to bark. When progress comes, there will always be opposition, restraint, even persecution of a kind.
Joseph was one of those people who were silently great. He blended into the background of community, and quietly went about his daily convictions, of helping the poor in whatever way he could. To my mind he was a saint, not of the Catholic Papal kind, but of humankind.
He would refer us to Matthew 25, which I believe is ever relevant, and needs to be
shared in the obese and ‘gluttoness’ world of our Today.
Poverty, and world hunger is real.
Sometimes it is impossible to consider the poor from our cozy suburban comfort zones, for we are indeed worlds apart, but that does not alter the fact that hunger and poverty is prevalent, and that we can all do something to alleviate it in some small way.
Let’s look around our communities and share where we can, when we can, to make that small difference in someone’s life.
In every generation it is good to revisit Matthew 25. It brings with it the reason and importance of caring for the Poor, and urges the Church to create capacity for its voluntary members to be ‘doing their faith’ in practical expression. Apart from it being a little scary to me, – as it also hinges on the Judgment day !!
As then, and now, I still believe that the wisdom in Matthew 25 could form the Biblical basis of a welfare and development model for the poverty question. Any Church, through its members can bring a major contribution to poverty and welfare development in an holistic manner – and through today’s networking power it could be of exponential value. – if only they were willing !
Matthew 25 : 34,35,36
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35. For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36. I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Joseph Kudema, would be remembered well, if we only heard his heart more astutely at that time, and earnestly followed his example of considering and helping the Poor within his reach, and thereby letting his light shine, and honouring God.
I would like to believe that by reading this post, his light still shines on the darkness of poverty and will stir the hearts of caring people. Rest in peace Joseph Kudema, ‘Saint of Tembisa’ – Saint of Promise and Hope.
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.
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 ‘ themills of God grind exceedingly slow, but they grind exceedingly small.’
Truth will prevail, justice will be served, its only a matter of time.
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.
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.
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.
At one time the feather-duster-and-broom man was a slight phenomena in South Africa. One would see him on almost every street corner.
Recently I was happy to spot another feather-duster-and-broom-man, and my thoughts turned to the economy. Now here was a man who was trying to make a buck, despite the fact that he really had no hope of scratching a living out of selling feather dusters. But that was not the point, or the reality of the situation. He most likely lived on the few pence he made for the day, even if it was just paying for his transport to town to collect the dusters. He had decided to grab at a chance to do an honest days ‘work’ – walking the streets and selling feather dusters, but in fact he was an entrepreneur, he was creating a career – and one day that may well become the way of the future.
I find the Street People around us so interesting.
There are the Car-guards at the shopping centre. With a bit of organising, they work for a man, or company, who create opportunities for those who are unemployed. Depending on the goodwill of the customers, whose cars they ‘guard’, help unload the shopping trolley, courteously stop the traffic to let you out of your parking spot, and return the trolley to the shop, they can and do make a small survival living. Most do it with a smile on their face, a polite greeting and a wave good-bye. If you don’t have small change to give, some say, ‘never mind next time’!
There are people who stand at the traffic lights, burnt by the sun, to beg for a penny or two. There is a particular robot in the suburbs I ride through where a decent looking white lady, in a shoe-string top and trousers, stands unashamedly hoping for a bit of support from the passing traffic.
When I see her I often wonder what story she would tell, and why she does what she does to bring in a little finance.
Further into the inner city there are many scruffy looking young men, who, one can tell, have addiction problems. My heart goes out to these young people. What chance have they to make a decent life for themselves. Life on the streets is hard, its a hell of its own.
Giving it some thought, I understand that there is a strata in the art of making a living.
From the beggars at the street corners, to the feather duster man, the Car-guard, the Fruit and Veg Vendors, the Zimbabwe wire and bead weavers or the African mamas that capture the tourist trade with their handcrafted talent – these are those who have nanoscopic to miniscual to trickling to irregular incomes – all trying to make a living and meet the high demands the economy makes to extract a pound of flesh from a half-loaf of bread needed to still hunger pains.
And although they may be on the bottom rung of the food chain, they form the bulk of the informal income, which if well conducted should be included in the greater scheme of the economy, with extra benefits and favour.
That is just the bottom end of the economic level of any one country. For Poverty is everywhere. But all is not doom and gloom. There are the middle and upper and higher echelons in our societies, (that are far removed from the street level) – and that make a good living, and a ridiculously rich living, (those who can buy a Claude Monet painting for over a million dollars !!) Albeit a very beautiful painting, how can such a price be justified, I ask.
When I saw this on the global news, I said to my son, just hang on to my ‘ pencil artwork’ in enough years it may well be worth a foolish man’s fortune!
I disdain negativity. But now and again, I despair of the future. With every societal revolution beginning with the Industrial Revolution – the discovery of steam power, electricity and the then world-widening trade routes, to the Automotive Revolution, the Sexual Revolution of the sixties, that loosened and cracked up our moral foundations, marking the place for the perversity and confusion to come, to the current Information Technology that banishes all geographic and financial boundaries to the nether-sphere. And now the foreseeable future of the A I – Artificial Intelligence, and, even more scary the possible self-annihilating age of the oncoming Quantum-Computer !
And its all called ‘Progress’. There is no doubt that much benefit and convenience (the up-side) have been derived from these discoveries in our history. But when I look back over these man-made wonders, intelligentsia and innovations – and their out-workings, I see more people unemployed. Is unemployment with its desegregation the malady of our times : no work, no money, no future no hope – more poverty and despair, riding on its wake of drunkenness addictions and depression within our societies ?
Will the future hold more Street People, like the feather duster and broom man ?
But he has with him the tenacity to do an honest day’s work, with a dream of a better life. He has hope, and that will carry him through to a better tomorrow. So the next time you see him, consider buying a feather duster or broom, even if you don’t need one, you will be fuelling the future with hope ! Like poverty, dust is everywhere, and settles to grime if you don’t dust and sweep regularly. Clean homes gather dust too !
So support the entrepreneurs, those ‘career creators’, for one day, in the fast approaching robotic future, (remember robots they don’t ask for wage increased, don’t need medical aid, don’t protest, or strike for rights, – they are the perfect employee !) … who knows we may all have to become entrepreneurs with tenacity and hope in our hearts.
But don’t despair with me, keep in mind that the future is ultimately in God’s hands, and He knows the end from the beginning, we just need to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, and to consider the poor and the needy among us.
Psalm 41: 1 Blessed is he who considers the poor, The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
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 !
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.
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 and 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.
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.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish.
Sometimes it takes words of affirmation to create an atmosphere for going from good to great. You may be the Cinderella of all the cities in South Africa, but you have the power of attraction for those who need time off from the merry-go-round of life.
But you are more than that. You are a kaleidoscope of hope, of contrasts and diversity, set in a paradise of green.
Durban you are a port on the East Coast of Africa.
Ships from afar, carriers of merchandise, wait their turn to enter your port, to foster the economy of the South. And hope does not go unnoticed as the number of these ships have increased dramatically over the years – reminding us that indeed you are ‘a market place for nations’.
A city of lay-back laziness that can trap the diligent and industrious person with a lethargy brought on by the gentle tropical climes of a warm ocean current. “Tomorrow is another day” well may be the creed you live by – and yet ! The steady onward everyday flow of the inevitable, continues to urge you to perform your duties with diligence. Your history is rich, your position is well place for the growth of a new emerging world on the African continent.
Your Oil Refineries are strategic, as are your marketable industries on the south side of your city. The southbound road takes your travellers back on a memory road, to old favourite holiday resorts, that have filled up many family photo albums with sweet memories of lazy sun-filled bucket and spade holidays.
Quite uniquely, in the heart of your city, are the Durban Botanical Gardens. Noticed, apart from its magnificence, is the peace that lingers there. Now if ever the Good Lord would want a cathedral to live in, it would surely be in this majestic cathedral of green – a garden with its huge trees that were planted some 300 years ago. It is one of Africa’s oldest botanical gardens, and I suspect by far the best on the continent.
Your inner city now scarcely reflects the former heyday of your holidaymakers’ favourite destination. It has become crowded and derelict, as most inner cities are, with the influx of those desperate for employment and cheap accommodation. Yet, two or three blocks up, on your sea-side, are found well-kept paved promenades. Walkways with tall hotels, all with sea-views, that tell a different story of who you were, and now want to become.
A city caught with one foot in a developed world, the other foot still entangled in poverty. And indeed is this not the state of any modern city in the world of today ? A world on a runaway train toward globalisation no matter the cost – for there is always a cost, there is always a price to pay for progress and development !
Now going northward – the touch of your colonial history is still markedly seen in your suburban landscape of the yesterday-wealth. Grand homes in beautiful tree-lined streets with lush green gardens, steeped in your recent history of refined living. Planted and painted into a part of the master portrait of South Africa’s history of diversity. Durban you are a world showcase for diversity.
But time moves on.
And a new era, for some, has arrived. A time of unprecedented sophisticated living, as seen in the great shopping mall of Gateway Theatre of Shopping, some say the largest in the southern hemisphere, and the brand new developments of the Pearl towers for renowned accommodation.
Umhlanga Rocks reveals your ability to transform yourself, yet again, into an international tourist destination with its new modern high-rise Pearl towers and hotels, – contrasted by the ever loved ‘little village’ where the locals still meet and converse over a pint of brew.
A promenade of note with its iconic Whalebones Pier that enables one to walk on water! The recognised landmark of Umhlanga Rocks, the red and white light-house, a beacon of light, near the world-famous Oyster Box Hotel. No expense is spared, nothing but the best is offered to presidents and kings, and the visitors of Europe and the Elsewheres of the world.
Still northward bound on route to the new King Shaka International Airport., the outskirts of the city give a show of brilliant green that is seen in the waving sugar cane fields, and the rolling hills that call out ‘ go the distance !’
Beautiful are the green hills of Kwa Zulu Natal – the green Province with its emerald-green beauty and flowing hills, a setting fit for prosperity – equally so for the penny and for the soul.
Going further north through the sugar cane fields, the main road will bring us to the mushrooming town of Ballito Bay, one of South Africa’s fastest growing modern real estate developments.
But if we are astute we will notice the road signs that take us off the main highway to settlements and townships that do not enjoy an acclaim to wealth.
And if we travel far enough we may encounter the rural folk of another world. A folk that have not yet made the leap from poverty to ‘progress’ – but have so much to offer with their rich cultural heritage.
The very wide gap from the arrogant and unsaturated rich in their affluent towers and malls to the simplistic living of the rural inhabitants is a screaming silent reality.
Inequality is a stamp on all our record sheets.
And it is in this ever-widening gap that a paradigm shift needs to occur, a miracle needs to happen, so that you can go from good to great. Pay attention also to the needs of the poorest of the poor, so that they can rise up and experience a kind of progress too.
Herein lies your miracle, bridging the gap between two worlds, if not three, – the haves, the have-nots, and the have-yachts !
Nevertheless all worlds can offer their own version and contribution toward ‘being rich’ – whatever that may mean, each in their own way. For sometimes the rich are not rich, and the poor are not poor. Sometimes the ‘developed world’ has much to learn about being “civilised”, the knowing of ‘Ubuntu’ – respect – simple courtesy, simple humanity ! Someone once said, ‘ courtesy is the first rung on the ladder toward civilisation ‘ – something the 4×4 riders, taxi drivers and road-ragers need to know and understand !
As a City you have kept up with your own transformation – indeed you have to do so, for your saving grace is in the lucrative revenue that lies in the holiday and tourist trade, robust business and employment, and of course the fine revenues from the Ports and Customs.
But most noteworthy of all are your peoples – a vast array of cultures within your social perimeters, which is the very fabric of your rich design, all gems in the crown of your disposition.
The Zulu people, with their ancestral and stout warrior history with colourful beads that tell their stories;
The rowdy yet gentle influence of the British, intertwined into your history.
The colourful vibrancy of the Indian culture, with their special cuisine of aromatic spices, curries and of course the famous Durban Bunny Chow.
The African People with their new-found vehement political clamour, coming to terms with power, and what that truly means, moulding the nation for tomorrow.
Indeed a beautiful mosaic of cultures, living side by side by the sea, in peace and harmony. Amazing microscopic worlds within a world, called Durban.
Your people and your children are easy, fun-loving, and sunshine kids – and daring too. Totally Sports obsessed, with any reason to walk, run, ride, swim, surf or canoe an epic event – a case in point the Comrades Marathon. A marathon of well over 90 kilometres between Durban and the hilly countryside of Pietermaritzburg. Who thinks out such things !!?
Great are your vistas for sports, but more so are your spectacular views of land and seascapes that lend wings to those who need to be lifted higher.
Durban, you are like a brilliant green emerald gem, an often overlooked gem, among the chief cities of South Africa. Slowly going about your daily business of business, culture and sport, with the determined purpose of welcoming your visitors from afar with warmth and hospitality. Hospitality that inborn trait you carry off so well.
No better place to see, no better place to be other than in “Durbs by the Sea” as our upcountry folk would say, when they pack for their annual holiday to crowd out your beaches with abandoned glee.
Durban, as the sunshine state of South Africa, you should surely be on the ‘must see list’ of the global community. You may take your place with pride, among the ranks of other destinations who strive for the recognition of ‘most beautiful place in the world ‘ – nonetheless contrasted by ‘new worlds’ waiting to be born into prosperity.
When your visitors step into this green paradise, they will surely hear the wind and the waves softly whisper : “You are welcome here”.
South Africa, amazing, vibrant, diverse and surprising, as usual, has not failed to provide for speculative and spectacular politics over these past few days. And especially so the last few months of the years of Jacob Zuma’s term in office, from which he was ousted by his own party members just months before his term ended. Just as with the previous South African president Thabo Mbeki. The wheel has indeed turned !
South Africa has a way of going all the way to the edge of demise, before pulling back in resilience and fortitude. The birth of the new South Africa in 1994 was a tumultuous time when the shadow of a civil war loomed but was narrowly prevented by prayer and skilful peace-keeping interventions that drew us back from the brink.
The Nelson Mandela years were hopeful with the new vision for a country where Oppression was lifted and all people were to be equal. The working out of that dream was not an easy one as many mind-shifts had to be made. Slowly the privileged ones had to expand their minds to inclusivity, and perhaps even more slowly, the underprivileged ones has to let go their grip on being a victim of their history. Both difficult, almost impossible tasks for a very passionate, vibrant and an outspoken society – yet necessary to grow in unity and wholeness to build one nation. But it would take time.
Thabo Mbeki, a man for an African vision saw a larger picture, and spoke of an African Renaissance. This might have planted seeds, but for the time being it may well have been a vision for a time to come. The Government of the day were finding their new power-based feet, as ordinary South Africans were grappling, with their new-found identities, pressing social issues, the Aids epidemic, and wanted swift and decisive plans and actions.
Thabo Mbeki was unceremoniously recalled by his party, and in his place Jacob Zuma took over the reigns of this fledgling nation. When a nation and its leaders are in unchartered waters it would be good to have a compass or a plan. There was no clear announced vision to take the country forward, probably due to the identity crisis in the new governing party. For years they had been fostering a revolution movement to take over the country, and had perhaps, in hindsight now, not made the mind-shift from political revolution to good political governance. So political football was played out, to only the delight of the political parties involved, as the rest of society was waiting for a clear directive to move forward – none came. But the dissatisfaction of the poorer citizens who saw no economic change whatsoever began to demonstrate their dissatisfaction and very real frustrations with protest marches and the burning of some establishments.
Huge mine-fields for the nation were beginning to appear as greed and corruption had seduced well positioned power people in power structures to take, grab and hold onto all the resources and wealth that were there for the taking – the looting of the State coffers. And this happened, without a peep from anyone, until it was almost to late, and another demise glaringly stared us in the face, as foreign looters – (and calculating foreign nations with power and nuclear aspirations may well have played a pinnacle role, perhaps yet to be revealed, when the rotting cancer of corruption in South Africa is finally and fully exposed) – and all this went unchecked !
The global markets reacted to the situation in South Africa, and then only did the alarm bells go off. Of course the president was not equipped to deal with these problems, buried his head in the sand and strategically played delay tactics to squirm out of any responsibility.
But ordinary South Africans are resilient, and fierce stalwarts of integrity and righteousness. And so once again, the claw-back from the demise came this time through protest marches, the media, the press, and by God’s grace the Judicial system, that had been waving the constitutional flag of morality and justice to reign supreme for all South Africans.
Now, a new day has dawned in South African politics with a new president. Cyril Ramaphosa, who spoke at the State of the Nation address in Cape Town on 16 February 2018. He breathed hope into our politically fatigued nation, gave a renewed vision of hope – a revived Nelson Mandel vision for equality for all South Africans. But this time, having passed through all the tumultuous times of nation construction and deconstruction, there is an inclusive economic plan, that means business with the rest of the world to invest into our collective future, even a building stone for a fast developing African continent.
All South Africans have been invited to take part in this new era that has dawned. As President Ramaphosa indicated in his speech, it is for all South Africans who want equality through hard work, integrity, the rooting out of corruption, and to build a new South Africa.
To cap it all a former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel put it this way : ” Ship South Africa has a new captain, and its all hands on deck “
The one mind-shift that will accelerate the move from poverty to progress to prosperity is this: Ask not what can I get but rather ask what can I give ! – then go and build and plant wherever you are, and whatever you do, to benefit yourself and others in our community.
The time has indeed come for all South Africans to build and to plant one nation with integrity and with honour, for the benefit of all who live in her, and for the benefit of the country and the continent.
May God bless South Africa.
Jeremiah 18 : 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,…..
Today you are 23 years old. How you have galloped into the future, creating history at a rapid rate.
If Life is a stage let’s take a front seat together and have a look at the South African play before us.
In 1994, though through a crucible, you were born free from the oppression of your previous history. A history that for all its intents and purposes nevertheless framed you for a better future for all. A new day had come, a new government, with new policies waiting on the horizon of the unknown. But one thing was sure, it was a delightful day of release, an expectation for some, and a dread for others. Different worlds had to come together, different histories had to fuse, different cultures had to find a way to live side by side. A tall order indeed ! – an order without a script to follow.
The honourable Nelson Mandela South Africa’s first president, set the vision in place, one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa. The dream box was opened, and the dream floated out of injustice and into the potential of a new nation. Honour and respect were the order of the day. Even the World at large recognised its significance and regarded its highly prized Constitution. All was well, and Nelson Mandela graciously stepped aside for the next president to continue the legacy, and forge the future.
The honourable Thabi Mbeki South Africa’s second president was a man of vision too. Perhaps a little short in statue, but certainly long in vision. He saw the African Renaissance, not only a re-birth of a nation, but also of the African continent. His vision was the faint rumble of a new African-ism emerging. Whatever that entails and holds the future, in time, will tell.
Seemingly South Africa was just exiting racism, was another ism coming ? And who will be waiting in the wings of the World’s stage to influence, manipulate, access and conquer the people, and the resources, of this new nation on the southern tip of Africa.
Before the uncertain future cleared there was an interruption, and a new president pushed and jumped onto the stage for a part in the Play, and for a big slice of the wealth cake !
Mr Jacob Zuma the third president of South Africa, was by all accounts not a man of vision. Although jovial and charming, was for a time just the face for the ruling party. Leaders, good or bad, are important. Ordinary citizens like to look up at their leaders and feel secure, some even idolizing them, especially so in Africa. Mr Zuma swayed many with his charm, and then exhibited extreme cunning at staying in the power seat. He may well have just succumbed, to the irresistible call for greed, always knocking at the door of power.
I suspect, however, that being exposed to the global stage, and the greater forces in the power-play arena Mr Zuma was influenced by the dark agendas and concealed plans and visions of the greedy power mongers in a world of economics, politics and power.
Not only had the dream box released the potential of a new nation, but along with it came out the vile of politics, power-play and corruption. And although severely distasteful, I dare say necessary, for we all at some stage, have to have the courage to take a good long look at ourselves – face to face, to see the good and the bad that lingers in all of us, whether on a personal – or national level !
I don’t doubt that time will tell Mr Zuma’s story in more detail. Perhaps his best contribution to the South African story is that, by default, he exposed the resilience of the South Africa society, and its fervent need for true justice, and its ongoing striving for honour and integrity in its leaders, and in its people.
The South African Constitution Court bears clear evidence of this, and has proved to be a strong foundation-stone of this new democracy.
South Africa you have thrived on exciting and exhilarating politics these past 23 years, as the ghosts of the past have come out of your closet., and as new and entertaining players have taken to the stage with their own particular agendas, brands and personalities.
And then there is the unseen , unheralded band of caring prayer warriors who have kept the nation close to the heart of God, and under His wings South Africa has stood the test of fiery trials of corruption… and of state capture! Keeping vicious wolves at bay !!
So a caring, colourful and vibrant nation indeed you are becoming, South Africa.
But I would go as far as to say that South Africans have, these past eight years been over politicised, and have overdosed on politics ! Is it because there has been a leadership vacuum ? And of late just crisis management badly managed, halting economic development and resulting in the prospect of more poverty for the poorest in the nation.
Because of this you certainly have been stunted in your nation building, and the actual release of that people potential waiting to capture a future of progress and prosperity, for all.
For now, you are a nation on hold so to speak ! But time moves on, and the tide of politics will change, then a new day will break. When you revert to the original plan of one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa, then that indeed will be a time to celebrate a true freedom – and a good future together as one.
Happy Birthday. May God continue to bless you as a light to the nations, and in this present world of political, economic and social turmoil.
Life is made up of small things.
Everything you do matters.
Africa is a big continent. It is a block of land that captures you. Whether you are in the north or in the south of it it will lay claim to a corner of your heart. I have heard of South Africans who leave Africa for more appealing shores, but often, very often have the yearning to come home again. Its challenges, its diversities and its humanities, is like a magnet that draws all kinds of human emotions from the heart that has at its roots the most scary and at the same time the most amazing appeal. Or perhaps, for me, its just home.
Famous words of Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa : “I am an African”
brings with it many connotations, because Africa has many connotations – anybody can be anybody in Africa. Its diversity creates space for this, yet it also creates fragmentation, for diversity does not necessarily mean unity. The trick is to bring diversity into a patchwork for unity. I am not an African. But I am a South African. A white South African, does that make me an African ?
Nevertheless, Africa is a place for expression. Africa will find you out ! There is room for everyone, for every kind under the sun in Africa – the good, the very good, the bad and the very bad, the place where humanity is at war with itself, and mirrors that for the world to see and to watch.
Love it or hate it Africa is the place that calls for attention. And at the same time offers opportunity to express that humanity one way or another.
Many years ago now, I came across MAF and signed up for their newsletter. What is MAF ?
An extract from their 2015 Annual Report sums it up consicely .
“Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is an international Christian organisation bringing help and hope to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world…. We work with hundred of missions, churches, local groups, relief & development organisations and national government agencies. Together we deliver practical medical and spiritual care in places with the deepest human needs ” – Prof. Polla Roux.
Furthermore to this is a very brief snippet of its history, supplied by the MAF office in South Africa:
“In 1945 Murray Kendon, a New Zealander flying with the RAF Coastal Command during World War 2, wondered if the power and versatility of aircraft would only be used for conflict and carnage. After realizing this dream was indeed God-given, he accepted the challenge and Mission Aviation Fellowship was born. In 1970 David and Beryl Luke developed the MAF SA programme in the Transkei and it then moved to Johannesburg in the late ’70s. In 2011 MAF saw the need to develop a programme in South Africa and the Flying for Life project was developed. We currently work in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, taking in missionaries, churches, medical professionals and other organisations to help sustainably uplift the community. Looking ahead, we are wanting to expand our eye doctor clinic to an additional hospital, and extend into other provinces in South Africa. “
The Care Africa project is a small random project that encourages people to “grow a garden in your yard, grow a garden in your heart”, and encourages growing vegetables for food, and reading the Bible for growing the soul. Both very necessary for human growth and sustainability – social development in an wholistic sense.
Recently I met up with Maxine Holman from MAFSA, and could give her two care bags to grow the concept of Care Africa.
Big or little deeds of kindness, whether a Flying Mission or a packet of spinach seeds, can make a difference in Africa.
I reckon poverty’s first priority is to combat hunger, and the growing of vegetables whether in a car tyre, an individual yard, or a community garden, will go a long way to addressing hunger, so prevalent in Africa today.
In today’s shaky economic climate it makes sense to save cents by growing your own vegetable garden – and together with reading the Word of God everyday you will begin to create a healthy, survival, sustainable and a good life.
Life is made up of small things. What you do matters.
Grow a garden in your yard, Grow a garden in your heart, and so join the Care Africa project. Start today, and let CareSA know how your gardens grow. Grow well, eat well, share well
Happy gardening !