God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

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, , , , , , , , , ,

Myth or reality?

The Consultation

The Consultation (Photo credit: bigbluemeanie)

We all have heard it many times: 80% of black South Africans consult a sangoma before they even consider going to a Western Clinic. I always wondered about it, having worked with sangomas and being involved with the work HOPE Cape Town has done and is still doing in parts with traditional leaders. What I have seen is little work for sangomas, lots of part-time traditional healers and a break down in related traditions in the townships of Cape Town. Well, a 2012 article in the South African Medical Journal went further, suggesting that “some 80% of South Africans use traditional medicine to meet their primary healthcare needs”. The claim has also been made in general terms about the population of Southern Africa and the African continent. So where did the claim originate and is there any truth to it?  GroundUp, a South African community journalism project, asked Africa Check to investigate. Their starting point was the World Health Organisation (WHO). A fact sheet on traditional medicine published by the body in 2008 is often cited when the claim is made. “In some Asian and African countries,” it states, “80% of the population depend on traditional medicine for primary health care.” The fact sheet does not include any evidence to substantiate the statement, but one can find a reference to a document discussing the WHO’s Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002-2005. And this was not the end of the research – to read more about Africa Check’s research and its amazing result follow this link.

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

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
11 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018
5 months to go.

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