God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Amnesty?!

There are a lot of foreigners in this country – South Africa is for most people fleeing violence and persecution in Africa a safe heaven of some sort – and obviously the borders are so porous that it is much easier to flee to South Africa than to Europe. This has not always been welcomed in the last years – the periodically xenophobic attacks, most recently in Pretoria and Johannesburg, show how sensitive the topic is and how fast the mood can change. Obviously there is a lot of politics involved – be it quite insensitive comments of the Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, be it economic considerations because immigrants often work harder to achieve their dreams opposite the entitlement and despair of South Africans in the perspective neighborhoods; or be it simply jealousy and opportunism stretching to pure criminality.

There is definitely no question that a country has the right to control influx of foreigners and to secure the borders – but looking at the current situation where there is a mix of illegal immigrants, unwilling Home Affairs officials, corrupt border officials and so many small or bigger injustices in dealing with those knocking on South Africa’s door my solution would be besides looking in a fair manner at all sides of the story to give a period of grace, an amnesty to legalize all those who are now in the country.

It would not only remedy  the situation but also would give those politically in charge and the administration a fair overview to know who is in the country. It would stop the hiding and the stress of those trying to make a living and it would undermine the often corrupt relationship between foreigner, refugee and those officially in charge of keeping them in or out for a good reason.

Flanked by a strengthening of the policing of the border and an effective system to avoid a further undocumented influx from the rest of Africa this would be the first step to calm down the situation and to be fair to all concerned.  It would show grace and mercy, but also a clear cut line for the future. It would make the lives of hundred-thousands of human beings acknowledged and valued – and it would show the rest of the world that there is a way to show a mix of mercy and justice mitigating a difficult past in the last years.

 

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

#ImStaying

Recently the news from South Africa and out of South Africa becoming more and more scary – the brutal murders of several girls and women, the new crime statistics with an increase of murders adding with the high unemployment rate and all the other social and economical uncertainties to the impression that is is wise to pack your bag and leave the country.

Having one of the most beautiful landscapes of the world, hosting mainly friendly and helpful people, having a floral and animal world which is so special seems not to count anymore much in this scenario. Add the racist rants of Julius Malema and other so called or want to be called politicians, the playing with the constitution regarding land reform and the sheer endless stories of corruption and missing shame for the wrongdoings on the part of those who are in charge of this country.

But nevertheless: I just signed up to the Facebook group #Imstaying – even with my privilege of double citizenship I have decided for now to put all my energy into the future of this country – one South Africa for all should become more than a slogan but a reality in our lifetime – at least the beginning of it – like Moses, before dying, seeing the promised land from far.

Giving up on this idea would kill the dreams of all the young people, born free and born even more free from the next generation – it would betray the millions of people who put their hope in a better future, it would curtail the dreams of a non-racist possibility to live not only for South Africa, but for the rest of the world.  Let us not underestimate that indeed the mix of challenges here on the tip of Africa are a mirror for the world as such – even at times more complicated and intertwined than at other places. So there is the challenge of being not only the result of a peaceful Mandela moment in time but remaining the beacon of hope for the time to come.

For this to happen we have to acknowledge the dark of the past on all sides of society – history is never purely black and white and we have to find a new language to avoid the fiction of race for  future generations.  We have to square the circle – an almost Sisyphean  task against the odds of hurt and pain, and feelings of revenge and all sorts of compensation in an infinite loop. Being hurt and being able to heal, being disappointed but able to produce hope, being human and at the same time outgrowing what we thought is possible in our lifetime and with our abilities.

Dreaming big – not letting go – focusing on what is really worth it – not giving into despair – that are the points of reference when it is said: #ImStaying

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

The insanity of becoming a president

insanitySouth Africa produced in the moment many headlines showing how much this country needs healing and a stable political and social framework to come back from a state captured on so many levels.
And people and NGO’s do their very best to assist in all possible ways to achieve this stability and bridge the gaps left by government. People in the field can vouch how hard it has become to raise funds inside and outside South Africa doing this work on a daily base. One is met with skepticism and clear judgement that South Africa have had its chance and gambled it away through corruption, incompetence and entitlement.

On this background it is almost incomprehensible that a party, claiming to be the liberators of the people spend millions or more to pay, bribe, convince by financial means members to vote for a certain party leader. While millions are unemployed, millions live on state grants, infrastructure is missing or crumbling, healing is not happening and society is split more and more again by racism and wealth those called to remedy the situation are invested in spending money on internal fights.

It is simply perversion at its best but it also shows that some politicians count on the fact that the majority of un- or less educated voters simply will either not even read those revelations or ignore them as long as they get their t-shirt and food parcel at the times of elections.
It is simply insane that NGO’s have to beg for some Rands in South Africa while often BBBEE enriched politicians and so-called business people play with big money just for gain of power and might.

Add this to state capture and the seemingly continued free reign of corrupt and compromised leaders within parties one can understand the frustration of sponsors and donors not willing to further support South Africa. Working in the field it needs a lot of hope continuing to work in a country which tries very hard to proof, that it can’t make it.

Against all the mentioned odds – I still believe that South Africa has enough potential to change tune – born either out of hope or desperation – sometimes not sure myself…

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

Elections reflection…

It is done: The South African election has been concluded and the observers are left with quite bias feelings. On one hand the election was generally free and fair and without major glitches. Also violence was not prominently to be seen during the day. The participation was very low: only 65.98% of possible voters took the chance to cast their vote – it seems that especially young people who were very vocal on social media forgot to register for the election day.
Looking purely from the outside the result is astonishing: The ruling party, having majored in the last years in corruption, state capture, dishonesty and simply stealing from the poor were again rewarded with leading the government. More than 10 million South African, mainly in rural areas where service delivery has collapsed or is in the progress of collapsing have voted for those responsible. Millions of grant receiver have still not understood that the grants are not given by the ANC but government. The myth of the liberation movement being the only capable party to lead South African and some major strategic mistakes of the official opposition party have surely also contributed to the result as has the lack of education in most regions of South Africa.  And politicians clearly guilty and contributors to state capture are still in the driving seats of the organization which is split to the core between those who have realized that things have to change and those who want to continue plunder without any sign of guilt or conscience.

If history will repeat itself then this election result confirms that a liberation movement turned political party will continue to govern till the majority of liberated are left with nothing while those in power reap what they can to enrich themselves. South Africa was told it is special, having Madiba magic in the beginning of the new democracy – it is working hard in the moment to dispel this myth.
Listening to SC of the ANC Ace Magashule who insists that only the party counts and not individuals and that MP’s are bound to the party but not their conscience it shows that there is no learning curve or new insight yet which could rescue the ANC on the long run – and with it South Africa.

Additional concern is that almost 2 million people voted for a man with fascist tendencies and a party which exploits the hopes of those unemployed and uneducated. The “Idi Amin in the making” Julius Malema showed stronger support in the most poor parts of South Africa – where people did not have anything to lose anymore.

The DA remained in power in the Western Province and this is indeed a blessing as the Western Province is doing much better as other provinces as shown by the congratulatory letter of the national parliament to Helen Zille, the outgoing premier, now to be replaced by Alan Winde. But their supporter base has lost votes to other parties – Musi Maimane is a very young leader and surely he would need more matured advisers not bound to party politics. Building a race-blind party is in the current environment a challenge and it will remain one for the foreseeable future.

Education, health and land reform as well as economical stimulus are the buzz words of the future deciding on the future of South Africa – together with the question who will lead the healing process of society and turning the tide of racism, which showed its ugly head again and again during election time. I hope and wish that churches will be much more prominent in this field – wouldn’t it be wonderful if churches, mosques and synagogues would become places of story telling, real listening and healing.

And obviously decisive will also be whether state capture can be ended and those responsible having their day in court. Having politicians involved campaigning for the party in the last weeks was indeed a pain in the neck and seeing some of them being in charge of the ruling party remains a disgrace and a big question mark on the way forward. Coming clean is never easy – but the only way to move on and develop in the right direction.

May we see the wonder that those elected to the new national and provincial parliaments are not listening to people like Ace Magashule and others but using their conscience and their love to the country and their dedication towards the well being of society. We need honest brokers guided by the constitution and nothing else to have a chance. We need people who can and will jump over party lines to do what is right for the people of South Africa. We need another Madiba moment like in 2004 where all are pulling in the same direction and where hope and trust overcome obstacles  – South Africa still has a future if those in power act in their majority with responsibility and love for the country.

 

 

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

The gloves are off

Election year in South Africa – and already since the beginning of the year it shows that the gloves are off and the usual South African chaos becomes the norm of daily life. the reaction of the State of the Nation Address of the President Cyril Ramaphosa was instant: a day later the country plunged into darkness with Eskom announcing load shedding stage four – signaling that the country is short before being brought to its knees. A surprised president who seemingly has not noticed in the long years of being the vice-president and now leading the country how bad the situation is with the State owned enterprises including Eskom as he also had not noticed the state capture happening under his co-watch. Billions of Rand’s siphoned from the State coffers to individuals and, now revealed through the Zondo commission, millions in bribes have gone unnoticed by the politicians who seemingly never read newspapers which disclosed this information ages ago.

The miracle of blind spots continues until today – and it was also present at the debate about the address of the President yesterday, where the opposition parties tried to hammer home this fact in a diversity of ways. But there was something else creeping into the debate – the question who sold out whom during apartheid times: a clear sign that the gloves are off and the nerves are blank and a sort of desperation sets in before the 8th of May, the election date.

And so it seems South Africa falls in line with the rest of the world where decency and real considerations are the exemption but pure reaction to crisis and activism and populism is the norm of today’s politics – paired with the given impression, that ethics or honesty have no say anymore in today’s political, social and environmental challenges.

The dream, that the human race is able to find to each other and jointly overcomes the challenges of today’s world has faded away – ideology and the lust for fights and bullying one another has won for now – but hopefully it is not the final verdict.

The gloves are off in so many ways and in so many spots of this world that one could despair – but there is always hope, there are always pockets of common sense, there are always people who don’t give up to work for the greater good of society and there is always the chance that those pockets are network and together form the safety net for societies, so that the madness of politics don’t destroy the very fabric of those societies. Most non-profit organizations, most volunteers, most good people can attest to it. May they succeed.

 

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
more info www.hopegala.de and admin@hopecapetown.com

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
6 months to go.
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