CCN Thought for the Week – Maropeng Moholoa, Programmes Coordinator at HOPE Africa, a Social Development Programme of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the post-apartheid South Africa as a rainbow nation immediately after our first democratic election in 1994. However, the recent events that took place in South Africa are really worrying, especially when one begins to think of how far we have come as a country. We have seen some isolated incidences that goes against the ethos of the rainbow nation.
The #FeesMustFall student protests which began in 2015 continue to haunt many of our universities. It is very unfortunate that many of these protests are violent in nature – from both the police and private security companies and the university students. Several university buildings such as libraries, and most recently part of the historic St Mark Anglican Church in District Six (Cape Town), were destroyed by arson attacks. Service delivery protests in many of the previously disadvantaged communities as well as labour related protests are no different either in terms of violence.
It is now public knowledge that the coffin assault duo was found guilty of assault, attempted murder, kidnapping and intimidation charges for forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to pour petrol on him. Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson’s actions brought racism as a topic in many households across the country. Regardless of what Mlotshwa did or did not do, it was inhuman of Oosthuizen and Jackson to force him into a coffin.
Two university students were recently suspended for using the K-words (ethnic term of abuse) in a video which was erroneously shared on a social media group. The fact that these young students appeared to be comfortable to use the K-word is worrying. It clearly shows that while some of us are moving forward, some people are moving backward. The same could be said about people who paraded the apartheid flag during the recent #BlackMonday Campaign.
With all these events and many others not included here such as xenophobia, true reconciliation seems to be a pipe dream. But our Christian faith challenges us to be a people of hope. It is for this reason that the Community of Cross of Nails (CCN) centres in South Africa have a duty to promote the principles of ubuntu which teaches community solidarity, caring and sharing amongst community members. CCN centres together with the International Cross of Nails Schools should continue to focus on healing the wounds of history, learning to live with difference and celebrate diversity, and building the culture of peace. CCN ministry is surely relevant and could be enhanced by community dialogues.
Peace and Blessings.