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, , , , , , , , , ,

Prolonged Good Friday and hopefully Easter in South Africa

Tomorrow Christians around the world are celebrating Easter – feast of the resurrection. It feels odd to me on first sight as South Africa seems to “enjoy” a prolonged Good Friday experience – crucified by corruption, downgrading, political ignorance, state capture and witnessing an agonizing dead of a liberation movement trying to turn into a political party. And not only on the level of politics and society but also on an personal level Good Friday continues: poverty, lack of food security, high crime rates, xenophobia – maybe this inner connect of a religious celebration and reality brought so many people to churches all over the country yesterday; the sense and recognition of despair and sometimes the knowledge that alone one can’t stem the wave of all this negativity. And South Africa is not alone in this prolonged Good Friday experience when we look around in the global village.

For that very reason the message of Easter, the message of resurrection, the message of hope carried by more than a billion Christians is so important in our days – Easter does not negate or take away the pain of the past or the pain of the present times but it holds the promise of a turnaround and a better future. And more: it speaks not only of a promise but for us Christians it manifests a reality that this turnaround is possible not only in a far away future, but that Easter, that resurrection can and will happen in our days if people just find the courage to act on it, simply to live it.
Easter is not so much the promise of a life after death – it is the promise that things can be turned today – the bible tells multiple stories of people encountering the risen Christ, e.g. on the way to Emmaus and always after such an encounter life is not the same anymore.

Understanding the deeper meaning of Easter frees from many anxieties – it also brings to the forefront that we are at the end all part of one,of the divine – we call it in human language we are brothers and sisters in one family. There is no race except the human race being inter-connected in the divine mystery. The day people understand that we are part of one creation – as the Apostle Paul puts it – still developing through space and times – is the day we will move forward and that will be the day Africa will be rising within the global village.

Easter, the religious message of Easter holds so much for the situation South Africa is in today – and I hope and pray that those attending the Easter celebrations in any of the churches not only are filled with hope but also filled with the energy to heal and transform our South African society for the better – ambassadors of a reality ignited in the midst of darkness.

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, 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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  • Dr HOPE had some rest after all the visitors left Cape Town. Now he has time to have a look at the newly designed... fb.me/14aWDB6Vu - 1 day ago

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