God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Thanksgiving Day – some maybe unusual thoughts

A day of joy and celebration with family and close friends – Thanksgiving Day is a big day in the USA and the Macy’s driven parade in New York a classical destination for locals and tourists alike. Not sure though that this year Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with an open heart by all invited to do so. Trumps’ America does not give a lot of reasons to celebrate – the swan song of an old white and racist macho era embodied in this president hurts many – “ars moriendi”, the art of dying is celebrated by him in the most cruel way possible.
But maybe exactly this is to celebrate – that the ugly face of a time where racism was silently tolerated or even promoted; a time where sexism and indecent behaviour or rightfully named sexual misconduct was overseen and ignored at will has been unmasked and from the abuse scandal in the Roman-Catholic Church to those in Hollywood are laid bare open for all to see. And all the denial takes a last stand represented by this white womaniser in the Oval Office – but even for him – at the end – thanks to social media – no place to hide anymore.

There is power in the digital revolution – giving the man on the street new weapons with recordings via cellphones and other devices.  Power to the people and power by the people – the slogan has taken on a new meaning in our age and time. But the discussion in the USA about Russian meddling into the last election, the fake news all over the world show the danger which always goes with advances in the hand of human mankind.

Here in Africa we celebrate the advent of a new era for Zimbabwe – Uncle Bob has finally resigned and also here: at the end there is no hiding anymore. And listening to all the enquiries taking place currently in the South African parliament  – screen shots of whats-app messages play a role and the time where politicians could act at will without being caught is getting less and less. Well, I am not blind to the fact that there is still lots under the radar, but it is getting more difficult to avoid public scrutiny and keep dirty little secrets behind a cloud of power. In South Africa the Guptas and Zumas are learning it in the moment the hard way…

This is indeed – even counting all the dangers coming with it – a reason to celebrate and enjoy thanksgiving day this year with our US American brothers and sisters. To celebrate the end of a chapter in history and the advent of a new era which will change the way we live, we think, we organise us and we do politics. I am sure that there is lots still to come which we haven’t even anticipated when we started the digital revolution. Living in such times of upheaval is a blessing as it opens up new opportunities to grow as a person, as a faith community and as a society. True, there are also sacrifices to make – but you can’t have light without shadow.

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

Know your history

Travel time is not only time to connect with people, but the seemingly endless time in a plane is also an excellent time to read – to be able to undisturbed venture into interesting fields of curiosity as well as beefing up knowledge on the working environment. As I live in South Africa, it is indeed interesting to dig into the history of this magnificent country but also the so-called heroes of the struggle, so often quoted at political or social events, at demonstrations and public outbursts of frustrations and lack of service delivery.
Especially students love to quote their heroes like Steve Biko or Chris Hani; often they even see themselves as the qualified successors of those being killed during the struggle or directly thereafter in the chaos before the first democratic elections.
Reading about the two just mentioned I realize how much our youth in South Africa would be able to learn from them, if and when they would take the time out to study them – to really understand their struggle credentials and their thoughts about a South Africa, free of racism, corruption and nepotism – and free of the entitlement seemingly earned as a result of often a false historical narrative of the ruling party – leaving out the essence of real struggle – the internal struggle, the dreams and aspirations hard-worked for in times of hardship and discrimination.

How much easier would be to deal with questions of land reform, of free education, of racism and obviously with it on all other pressing issues –  if before using the buzzword decolonization and so-called radical economic transformation a part of shown energy would focus on learning from the struggle heroes how to seriously deal with the injustices of the past. But this would mean also to open up to the part of the struggle history which isn’t pretty but ugly and which does not fit into the narrative of some veterans.

The example of Zimbabwe and its struggle to rid itself from uncle Bob shows how difficult it is to maneuver through complicated matters if one does not honestly face the truth and reality of the presence and the past. The nepotism and corruption within the South African political elite shows what all can go wrong if one bends and distorts history and sell it to the next generation as the truth. It seems no society is willing to learn on the long run – it’s a pity because at the end it betrays the revolution and liberation people fought hard for and a lot ultimately died for. And it betrays those hoping for a better life now, promised again and again and often failing to appear in their lifetimes.

And one does not need to sit in an plane to have time to read – the libraries established all over the country give enough material and any quiet summer night will do to read and learn – for the better good of our society. And a knowledgeable society becomes automatically also a more healthy society – and that is what we all should strive for – healthy physically and mentally which is inter-connected as we all know.

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


South Africa:

969 murdered children in the financial year 2014/15. The shocking figure has been revealed in a written Parliamentary reply from the Police Ministry.  2013/14 financial year, there were 846 murder cases reported against children. That statistic rose by 14.5% the following year.  Over 600 children were killed with a knife, while firearms were used in almost 400 cases. Other causes of death involved poison, a booted foot, an axe and boiling oil.

Almost 900 children were murdered in South Africa from 2015 to 2016, the Institute of Race Relations has revealed. The new 2017 IRR report revealed that almost 500 000 South Africans have been murdered since 1994, with children being the most affected. Over the past decade almost 10 000 children have been murdered.
These are some of the findings from the 2017 South Africa Survey released by the IRR last month.

67 murdered children alone in the Western Province this year.

Speechless …


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

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
more info www.hopegala.de and admin@hopecapetown.com

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

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