God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Thoughts, inside, comments of a Catholic priest

Corrective rape and murder

Lerato Moloi from Soweto / South Africa seems to be the latest victim of the so-called “corrective rape” , defined as a hate crime in which one or more people are raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The word “murder” does not need any further explanation. An explanation is indeed needed why South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world – including “corrective rape” used to “cure” lesbian women of their homosexuality.
It seems that in a country having lost the moral compass and moral leadership a longer time ago the ugly head of homophobia trends against one of the most advanced constitutions in recent history.
Added to this is surely also the message of religious institutions labeling same-sex love as not natural or intrinsic evil. Evangelical Christian Talibans from the USA adding the word “un-African” to this toxic mix and at the end people are hurt or die because they just live out their true identity.
It is time to stand up, as a society, as a church, as an individual and to get vocal against hate crimes, against violence specifically in connection with gender identity or sexual orientation.
A democratic society lives from the baseline that all its people have the rights stipulated in the constitution and that no ideology, no faith, no own opinion gives the right to violently “correct’ or “kill” the life, the lifestyle, the love, the commitment of the fellow neighbor. Where ever it happens we have collectively stand up, defend and at best prevent such incidents.
This is indeed also a call towards the police and courts in South Africa to act with decisiveness and not to delay or even shame those who fall victims to such horrendous crimes.
I am grateful to the Catholic Jesuit Institute – belonging to my church – that they are not silent on the crisis unfolding for our LGBTIQ brothers and sisters and all the vulnerable women and children falling victim to this crisis. Please read their statement here:

Press-statement: South Africas gender based violence-crisis/

Such topics need a presence in the media – here another recent article on the topic:

Corrective-rape-The-homophobic-fallout-of-post-apartheid-South-Africa

 

 

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Cape Town – a review in pictures

On Saturday the Ball of HOPE will take place – reminding us of the work HOPE Cape Town is doing and has done during the last 16 years. Here some pictures of the working and networking, HOPE Cape Town has been able to do in the last years:

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

A plastic bag with blood

Driving up the West-coast Road and listening to the news my thoughts kept swirling around one of the news reporting of the murder of 4 year-old Iyapha Yamile from Khayelitsha, found in a plastic bag close to her home early Monday morning. The reporter covering the case reported further of four suspects aged between 20 and 30 years old being arrested under the suspicion of this murder. I try to imagine what a person or a group of people could drive to murder a 4-year-old child – somehow it seems to me that the young age of the victim symbolizes how  sick society has become where murder or attempted murder is part of the daily local news.

The four-year old is only one of so many babies and children being killed and murdered on a weekly base – and for me, this mirrors the state of affair this country is in in the moment. If all the failed politics does not wake us up on the seriousness of trouble South Africa is in, the amount of murder, killings for gain or political reasons, the thousand of rapes and the destitute of people trying to make a living through crime should give us the wake up call we need to listen to.

We are living in a sick and hurt society – and what is needed are not revolutions or leaders still in combat mode and struggle mood but those who are ethical and concerned to heal the divide, to acknowledge the hurt, to see the disadvantaged, to listen to those feeling left behind and therefore to shine as an example of moral and ethical leadership.
If there is need for a radical economic transformation then it is radical in love, compassion and attention to detail, economic in a way, resources are used and the result must be the transformation of hearts and minds with an adequate education system and real chances to achieve a decent life without the tools of bribes, corruption or bullying through the ranks.

Let’s add honesty and leading by example – South Africa could then shine again as an example in the global village that there is a way to learn from the past, tackle the presence and achieve a future for all in an honest and human way.

 

Filed under: Africa, General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

The year of Oliver R Tambo

“We have a vision of South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together and where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity” – so Oliver R Tambo whose day of dying we commemorated yesterday.
I can’t help but envision how he would feel seeing the South Africa of today, thorn apart by his own party and by a multitude of problems, old ones – never resolved and new ones – partly created to create a smoke screen for corruption and looting of state resources. And even more he would pull his hair seeing the state of affair within the ANC being divided down to the core and abused by fractions for their own gain. Even if history repeats itself and liberation struggle heroes are very bad and incompetent politicians because the mindset required is simply to far apart: I am sure he would openly lament to situation and not shy away from tough decisions to rectify the situation.

In the German language you have a saying: “The fish rots from its head” and it seems this applies also for South Africa in the moment, where a President, whose retreat from office more and more people would like to see not only refuses to oblige but continues to damage the reputation of the nation in so many ways. We have turned from a miracle state to a junk state in such a short time.

And it filters through to all spheres of society and brings up again and again also the question of racism. There is no political leadership and no moral leadership in the country in need of healing and unity as envisioned by Tambo.
And it is this lack of leadership which in the end triggers all those responses not beneficial of creating the unity in diversity.
I am thinking of the reaction of some very stupid racist tweets which seems to be able to shake a whole nation – it shows how weak self-identity and self-pride of South Africans is in their still experienced hurt from the past.
It shows in the automatic thought of a white South African seeing a black South African in a big car contemplating which kind of corruption brought him this fancy mode of transportation.
It shows in the “mace” of screaming automatically “racist” if a white South African dares to criticize a black South African and the other way around.
It shows in the desperate narrative of the ANC being the sole cause for liberation and rewriting history in doing so.
It shows in the endless feeling of guilt of many white South Africans not being able and willing anymore to engage in a political discourse because “of the past”, some leaving the country.
It shows in the calls for revenge instead healing and the use of war terminology within our new democracy.
It shows in the frustration of millions of black South Africans seeing that only some have made the transition to wealth and many only by abusing “the system” to their advantage or by connections – and the result are service deliver protests on a massive scale.
The list could go on and on…

To  be “just South Africans, free and united in diversity”  it requires that the past is being recognized, but at the same time acknowledged that we cannot turn back the time for those having lived through all the suffering and injustices. We have to learn out of it and try to make up for it without creating new injustices and we have to make sure that it never happens again at our shores.

Education is the key for the next generation to prosper in a free and united South Africa in diversity – not free for all but all should be free and able to pursue their studies if their hard school work shows results warranting further education. If there is next to education another corner-stone for this vision of Tambo then it is the possibility to work – to pride oneself in sustaining the family with own efforts, be it in employment or entrepreneurial. The so-called  cadre deployment has shown how damaging it is to pass on jobs only because of skin color or party affiliation.

A lot has been achieved against all odds – and it has to be recognized and with it all the hard-working people within government who simply did their work and service should be commended for all efforts made. But the miracle of South Africa, people spoke about in 1994 needs now a new motivation, a new push, a renewed effort from all sides, a new sensibility, a new round of learning and listening to each other, a new faith and believe that we can make it together – just and righteously – and not repeating history in going down all the way as other countries have done after liberation. As politics speaks of a second phase of the transformation we need a second phase of the miracle.
Recognizing the hurt and betrayal of the past and finding the moral compass for the future – it’s a challenge of great magnitude but the only way to fill the shoes of OR Tambo’s vision in which “black and white shall live and work together and where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.”

We need a rebirth of a leader who unites, who acts as a moral compass, who has the sensitivity of a Tambo or a Mandela to lead our beautiful nation into the land where skin color simply is no criteria anymore.

Filed under: Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Chris Hani Memorandum – or history repeats itself

South Africa commemorated the life and death of Chris Hani recently.  Connected to his name is the so called Chris Hani Memorandum, which was written and signed by him and some of his comrades and addressed to the higher powers of the ANC at that time. Please take your time and read it – it gives you an inside in the ANC  at that time and how little has changed or has come back to haunt the organization today. Who is interested in learning more: the pocket biography of Hugh Macmillan: Chris Hani – published 2014 gives an interesting account of events around the life and death of Chris Hani and puts the narrative that the ANC is the sole savior of South Africa to rest.  The reading of the biography reaffirms that many different historical developments have brought South Africa to the point of 1994’s first free elections for all. But it also speaks of the many sacrifices ANC members endured to free the country. Like always in life, nothing is black and white but grey and only who humbly accepts this can harvest the lessons learned. Otherwise history repeats itself.
Coming back to the memorandum: the signatories were almost executed for criticizing the ANC – speaking up for what was right was in those times a life threatening  exercise. Otherwise the memo speaks for itself and needs no further comments.

We, as genuine revolutionaries, are moved by the rightening depths reached by the rot in the ANC and the disintegration of M.K. accompanying this rot and manifesting itself in the following way:
1. The ANC Leadership in Exile has created a machinery which has become an end in itself. It is completely divorced from the situation in South Africa. It is not in a position to give an account of the functioning branches inside the country. There has never been an attempt to send the Leadership inside since the Rivonia Arrests. There has been an over-concentration of people in offices – this has become a fully fledged activity in itself, for eg, you get a Director of Youth who maintains no liaison with the home front. There are other departments, such as the Treasury Department which is to all intents and purposes catering for activities outside, and whose functioning is only limited and known to a few people; the Department of the Secretary-General which has not furnished any reports on political activities in the various regions in the country; the Department of Publicity which is giving out propaganda geared only to external consumption. The quality of information is not revolutionary and is out of step with the existing political situation inside the country. Its material hardly gives a deep analysis of the prevalent situation inside. We strongly feel that time has come that the department should make every effort to reach the masses of our people by seeing to it that more and more of its revolutionary propaganda is written in the language of our people.
2. We are disturbed by the careerism of the ANC Leadership Abroad who have, in every sense, become professional politicians rather than professional revolutionaries. We have been forced to draw the conclusion that the payment of salaries to people working in offices is very detrimental to the revolutionary outlook is of those who receive such monies. It is without doubt that such payments corrupt cadres at any level and have the effect of making people perform their duties or fill offices because of money inducement rather than dedication to the cause – they become in effect merely salaried employees of the movement. It is high time that all members and cadres of the ANC, be they in M.K. or not, should receive equal treatment and be judged only on the basis of their dedication and sacrifice to the cause we serve. The principle of thorough selection of cadres should be on the basis of merit and such selection should never be delegated to an individual – this will prevent individuals owing allegiance to those who appoint them rather than to the Revolution.
3. The Leadership of the ANC abroad must be committed to a resolution and programme of going home to lead the struggle there, which resolution and programme must be seen to be implemented. Presently there is a Leadership vacuum as all the leaders are either locked up in Vorster’s prisons of are in exile. This has deprived the S.A. masses of leadership which is so vital at this crucial moment of our Revolution. A situation where our people, because of this vacuum will be deceived by opportunists of all shades is strongly developing. We feel that the number of leaders attending international conferences and other globetrotting activities should be cut down to a reasonable few and the remainder should work around the clock working on the home front.
4. There are certain symptoms which are very disturbing and dispiriting to genuine revolutionaries. These comprise the opening of mysterious business enterprises which to our knowledge have never been discussed by the leadership of the Organisation. For instance, in Lusaka a furniture industry is being run by the ANC. In Livingstone a bone factory whose original purpose was to provide cover for underground work in Botswana is now being used as a purely commercial undertaking. As a result of these enterprises more and more M.K. men are being diverted to them. And some of the people in charge of these enterprises are dubious characters with shady political backgrounds. We are therefore compelled to conclude that there is no serious drive to return home and carry on the struggle. This is disturbing because the very comrade, Thabo More, who is supposed to be planning, directing and leading the struggle in South Africa is fully involved in these enterprises. Now he has assumed complete responsibility for the running of these enterprises in collaboration with others and it is extremely doubtful that with his attention so divided he can do justice to the armed struggle in South Africa which should be his primary and absolute concern. The Leadership of the ANC can’t but be blamed for this state of affairs.
5. An equally disturbing situation is that M.K. is being run completely independently of the Political Organisation. The Political Leadership Abroad is not aware of the activities and plans of M.K. We therefore infer that M.K. is separate from the ANC; that there is conflict between the ANC and M.K.; that the ANC has lost control over M.K.; that there is no co-ordination between the ANC and the M.K. All this has brought about a situation where the ANC is run single-handed by the Commander-in-Chief who appoints and dismisses arbitrarily – as a result there is a tendency among members of the Headquarters to owe allegiance to the individual who appoints and dismisses them and it takes a genuine revolutionary to challenge him. We are compelled to blame the National Executive for this anomalous situation.
6. The Security Department is internally directed. It is doing nothing against the enemy. It has achieved nothing of military importance. The failure of the so-called Security Department has been shown by its inability to furnish the Organisation with the fate of our most dedicated comrades in Zimbabwe. Or how is it possible that so many comrades have been able to desert so successfully? In the prosecution of its internally directed activities the Security Department has become notorious. Those who serve in it have the central task of suppressing and persecuting dedicated cadres of M.K. who have nothing to lose by participating in the struggle except their chains. There is no Security Dept in our Organisation. For instance the arrest of Msomi and Matthews was inevitable as the fact of their presence in South Africa was common knowledge; as well as of comrades bound for home.This situation is tantamount to betrayal of comrades.In Morogoro Joseph Cotton, Shadrack Tladi and Boy Otto are openly flirting with the Peace Corps an international known C.I.A. Front, a counter-revolutionary and espionage organisation. The first two handle vital information as they are connected with the Radio transmission service relaying Organisation material. Boy Otto is moving between Zambia and Tanzania transporting M.K. personnel and war material. Most disturbing is that a comrade raised this matter with the Secretary-General and Chief of Security of the ANC, Duma Nokwe, who agreed that the matter of the above comrades flirting with the Peace Corps was true and that it should be furnished in writing, but no action was taken. This is very disturbing and discouraging to serious revolutionaries who know fully well that these three comrades are close to the leading figures of the ANC and M.K. For instance, Joseph Cotton is the son of Moses Kotane the Treasurer-General of the ANC and General Secretary of the S.A.C.P. Shadrack Tladi is relative of Thabo More who is C-in-C of M.K. and member of the National Executive of the ANC Abroad. This has made us and many other comrades conclude that there is nepotism in the ANC An equally perturbing fact is that Mrs V. Nokwe, the wife of the Secretary-General and Chief of Security of the ANC, Comrade D. Nokwe is presently working for Amiran Israel, an internationally known Israeli Intelligence Organisation operating under the cover of an Import-Export firm. This Amiran-Israel is a co-ordinating centre for Israeli Intelligence Services (Shinbet) in Southern Africa, Central Africa including Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa. Israel is a nest of imperialism which is actively sabotaging the National Liberation. Presently it has colonised parts of Arab territories and is maintaining close links with the most reactionary and fascist governments, such as South Africa and the revanchist Federal Government of Germany. We demand an explanation for this anomalous situation and we demand that we should cut links with the counter-revolutionary organisation forthwith and should there be any other links with the Israel, the ANC should sever them in the interests of our Revolution.
7. The tragedy of the Zimbabwe campaigns is the fact that we have been unable to analyse our operations so as to be able to assess and draw lessons that would make it possible for us to formulate a correct strategy and tactics vis-à-vis the enemy.
8. It is a cause for serious concern that comrades who have come back from the battle front have not been accorded a comradely reception and the fact that there has been no re-appraisal of their combat experience. We are shocked by the criminal neglect of our most dedicated comrades who have either fallen in battle, sentenced to death or serving long term imprisonment in Zimbabwe. These men are heroes who have performed their revolutionary tasks gallantly without flinching. How can we possibly keep quiet [about?] these valorous sons of South Africa? Is this not an indication of callousness and irresponsibility on the part of the leadership? The behaviour of the Secretary-General and Chief of Security of the ANC D. Nokwe and his attitude towards Comrade J.Mlenze,when we petitioned for a meeting, disturbed us greatly. For him to have said he did not know, did not recognise Mlenze is a height of indifference and cynicism and we are really very worried about it. Here is a comrade from the battle front, a Commander of a unit, and a Security Chief of a vital region, namely Transkei accorded this type of snub.
9. We are perturbed by the fact that certain members of M.K. are receiving payments from the External Mission, eg the C-in-c and the C.P.O. who as a matter of fact are getting allowances and the fact that the C-in-C has a posh and militarily irrelevant car at his disposal. The fact that these soldiers are paid has a very demoralising effect on the other revolutionaries.
10. Individual leaders keep cars and run them and this coupled with the fact that they receive salaries alias allowances is in every way building them up as a middle class in our revolutionary organisation and in M.K.
11. A strange and alarming trend is developing whereby secret trials and secret executions have been carried out. We are not against the execution and liquidation of traitors but we are against the veil of secrecy. We are having in mind the trials of Zola Zembe, Wellington Mbata, Phalanyane and Bopela. It is a shame that we should have been witnesses to the emergence of extremely reactionary methods of punishment in M.K. There have been instances when offenders in M.K. have been  dumped in dugouts filled with several drums of water without blankets or any other protective material for periods of up to about 22 days. The cases in point are those of Daphne Zwane,Tallman Ndlovu,Bob Zulu,Erends and Joseph Ndlovu. This type of punishment, among others, is, from any angle,criminal and inhuman, and must have been designed to break the physical and moral integrity of victims.
12. The ANC is the vanguard of the revolutionary struggle in South Africa and it is strange that its leaders have not been obliged to take the M.K. oath. We strongly feel that there is no difference between the leaders of the ANC and men of M.K. who are obliged to take the oath, for such an oath might have dealt with J. Radebe’s desertion and will definitely deal with any other leader harbouring right wing designs of sabotaging our revolution.
13. The development of the Revolution has necessitated a renewal and rejuvenation of those who are leading it. We must guard against the fossilization of the leadership as this is likely to hinder the progressive development of the Revolution. There has been a tendency to appoint people to the National Executive outside. We would like to know what is the yardstick for these appointments. After proper consultation with all the members of the ANC a method should be found of changing leadership and the fact that there have been no conferences involving all our members at home should not be used as an excuse for not renewing the leadership. We should not depend on mandates given at national conferences 10 or more years ago. We have been forced to conclude that a few individuals are monopolising posts in the Organisation. This has brought about a situation where members of the Planning Council are also members of the National Executive.
14. It is very alarming that double standards as regards to health of the members of the Organisation are maintained. Whenever leaders are sick arrangements are made for them to receive excellent medical attention without delay but this sort of concern is hardly shown to the rank and file of the movement. We maintain that all of us are important in so far as the Revolution is concerned and should thus be accorded the same treatment.
15. We consider the youth in M.K. as the most revolutionary. We strongly feel that we should be consulted on matters affecting the youth. For instance we must be informed about the revolutionary International Youth gatherings and we should be given priority in the sending of delegates. The farce of the Bulgaria ANC Youth delegation should never be repeated and those responsible should acknowledge the mistake they made. The Youth of South Africa is not located in London or in any European capital. We therefore take particular exception to the appointment of certain students as leaders of the ANC Youth. Thabo Mbeki who went to London on a scholarship sponsored by NUSAS is a leader of ANC bogus Youth Organisation. We are convinced that the ANC leadership in Exile is according better treatment and attention to the students. This attitude and practice has had a disastrous effect of diverting many would-be revolutionaries into the academic field. We feel that it is high time that the M.K. personnel which is in fact the core of our Revolution should be given the best treatment by virtue of having volunteered with their lives to give the supreme sacrifice for the Revolution. Another disturbing symptom is the glaring practice of nepotism where the leadership uses its position to promote their kith and kin and put them in positions where they will not be in any physical confrontation with the enemy. The sending of virtually all the sons of the leaders to universities in Europe is a sign that these people are being groomed for leadership positions after the M.K. cadres have overthrown the fascists. We have no doubt that these people will just wait in Europe and just come home when everything has been made secure and comfortable for them playing the typical role of the Bandas and others. As opposed to the treatment of the students, we find complete indifference and apathy to the heroes and martyrs of our Revolution who have fallen in South Africa and Zimbabwe. We have in mind the gallant sons of our country, who without doubt lay their lives in the struggle against imperialism. These include among many Patric (sic) Mosedi one time President of the ANCY.L. and former treason trialist, Benson Ntsele the tireless Commissar,the young cream of our country Sparks Moloi,Chris Mampuru,James Masimini and Andries Motsepe. We have not forgotten those who have defiantly and stubbornly refused to be frightened by the hangman’s noose in Rhodesia following the heroic example set by our murdered martyrs Vuyisile Mini, Zinakile Mkhaba, Diliza Khayingo, W. Bongco and others. These comrades are the dedicated Alfred Mninzi known to many of us as James Harmanus, Tamane known as Zami, the son of that great revolutionary and women’s leader Dora Tamane, the young Rhodes Msuthu Ngamlana known to us as Charles Mhambi and Tula Bophela.
16. We call for a full definition of the ANC-Z.A.P.U. alliance, its form and content. We demand that a serious and genuine effort should be made towards the intensification of ways and means of going home. This should be one actively involving the most dedicated members of M.K. and it should be on the basis of a correct strategy.
In conclusion all these problems must be resolved by a conference between the ANC Leadership and members of M.K. and not just handpicked individuals.

Signatories
M.T. Hani (Chris), W. Hempe, Z.R. Mbengwa (Jeqe), Tamana Gobozi (Mikza), Leonard Pitso,G. S. Mose (Mlenze), Ntabenkosi Fipaza (Mbali)

Filed under: Politics and Society, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 28th, 2017
5 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2017

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 13th, 2017
The Southern African - German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and HOPE Cape Town looking forward to celebrate this event with you - more info: admin@hopecapetown.com

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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