God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Blackouts in South Africa

Driving through the Northern Cape last week made me aware of the trouble which the renewed and extended blackouts do have to the people in the towns of rural South Africa. And driving to the vast areas of virtually meeting nobody for hundreds of km, I also realize the extent of the political neglect of possibilities like solar power and wind.

It again shows how cadre deployment, corruption and incompetence paired by ideological blindness has hurt the all spheres of society in this country. Bringing a world-class entity to the brink of collapsing can be called a negative masterpiece. Trying to solve the problem to create another state-owned enterprise, as the responsible minister proposes it, is then the cherry on top of madness.

Since 2014 now President Ramaphosa was most times as Deputy President in charge of turning ESKOM around. Promises were made – as too often in the political sphere of South Africa, it remained hot air.

Having said all that, it does not serve a purpose to lament and to leave it at that. The crisis could be a trigger for a renewable energy drive also bringing the much-needed jobs for South Africa.

End 2021 13 million people worked in the field of renewable energy worldwide – and experts expect the number to triple till 2030.

So there lies a chance in South Africa’s woes – but it needs the willingness of the respective role players to act decisively and the political will to make it happen. The latter presents itself in the form of the respective Minister rather as a problem giver than a solution seeker.

But there is always hope in the ability of South Africa to also overcome this man-made disaster and to rise again as the beacon of hope for the African continent. There is so much expertise in the private sector to assist when politics is willing to change from being part of the problem to being part of the solutions presenting themselves naturally in this county.

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

20.05.2010 At the airport again

After a day of preparation for the Ball of HOPE 2010 I am now at the airport again to fly to Johannesburg. Meeting a friend in the eve to catch up and tomorrow morning a meeting of the working group of the SA-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Then back to Cape Town for a pre-talk regarding my participation at the talk-show “Bei Beckmann” the week after.  In the eve a farewell party for close friends leaving to take a post in Bangkok.

At the airport I again and again notice how bad the SAA staff is trained, hardly able to handle any complaint or request – resulting in a mixture of unfriendliness and left in the dark. So we will not win the hearts and minds of those few coming to watch the Soccer World cup. SAA you can do better and instead of financing all the sports nonsense, give training to your staff and optimize what is called “service”! Don’t follow LH in this regard…

Before I left this morning I had an interesting interview for RTL on HIV and the impact on South Africa – an invite to join a TV session in Salzburg next Tuesday arrived, but not sure I can manage that.. Why don’t get priests a flight licence as part of their studies????

Filed under: General, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , ,

18.03.2010 Why has a day only 24 hours..?

This is a question, I often ask me, but then again, maybe I am the workaholic some people see in me. Be it as it may be, very often one wishes for more time to finalize matters, get the email box empty and all those nice things letting one feel satisfied in the evening when at home.

On the other hand one has to learn to limit oneself – life is more than just work. Only the balance between work and recreation makes life worth living. I guess sometimes my ying and yang are not in balance in this matter. 🙂

Today was filled with an interview, looking for a team secretary for our Ithemba ward and a meeting with the person responsible for the PR work of Tygerberg Academic Health Complex. It is important to keep in touch with her and also to discuss how we want to strive a balance now during the world cup year between the interest of visitors and journalists to learn first hand about the situation and the smooth running of a hospital ward. But I am confident that we are able to find the right balance. We also discussed the promotion of the  hospital itself – the fundraising efforts are – compared with other hospitals – still quite in the beginning of full blossoming and I offered my expertise to the lady if need be.

Rotary in the middle of the day – I needed some signatures to get a matching grant into motion. HOPE Cape Town needs urgently a second vehicle and we are grateful that some Rotary Clubs under the guidance of Michael Eisenmenger from the St. Wendel Club is taking it into their hands to organise the funding of such a vehicle. Rotary is a wonderful organisation, not only because of this, but after 13 years of being a Rotarian I am convinced that this big organisation is able to change a lot of the face of this earth.

Office work in the afternoon is part of almost every days life – sometimes I feel that emails are a curse rather than a blessing. But on the other hand quick communication is of essence in our days and so I try to keep up with it. Besides all the work in the fields of HIV and AIDS I am getting also more and more involved in the fields of renewable energy. Beginning of April we will constitute in Johannesburg a national working task force on renewable energy / energy efficiency under the umbrella of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and I will be part of it as vice chair of the Regional Council of the Chamber. A lot new stuff to learn for me, but an exciting field and very much necessary in our days and specially also in South Africa. To learn new things also keeps an old mind going again.. good for my brain cells… 🙂

Evening – dinner with friends on a lighter note and with lots of laughter and chatter. Good so. A nice end to another 24 hours…

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

20.02.2010 Time is flying

Saturday again – time is indeed flying and who says, that time is passing quicker when one gets older: that is correct. The time, I have felt in the earlier time for days, are now easy covering a months.
Yesterday I had my first meeting with the new Archbishop of Cape Town and we discussed some matters, amongst others the initiative of pastoral work for HIV positive priests and religious in our church. I hope to see in the next three weeks the chairperson of the Southern African Bishops Conference on this issue to move forward and to be able to report back in May, when I am in Rome.
HOPE Cape Town needed this week also some attention, sometimes there are times of multiple decision-making processes at the same time which binds all energies and needs lots of focus. At the same time I had to finalize the first planing of my next travels, which will bring me to Gauteng end of the month for two weeks, then in May to Italy and Germany and in July to Austria and Germany. In between a short break in SE Asia.

And when I thought that I don’t have to work during Holy week and on Easter – since Thursday I know that I will be busy and helping out on all those holy days. That will be the first time to celebrate all these mysteries in English; well as long as I don’t have to sing in English, I will survive. 🙂

It was a busy week and today I digged me into reading the white paper of renewal energy of the Western Cape to get a grip also on this topic. All the acronyms are a bit strange to me, but the material itself is not that difficult as I thought. Tomorrow then 2 church services which I will now prepare.

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

12.02.2010 Chamber’s celebration

A full day today, this morning first some phone calls to clarify outstanding issues, then driving to the lovely wine farm of Blaauwklippen where the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry celebrates the 10th anniversary of the opening of its Cape Town Regional Office. At first a formal meeting with the Senior Council, the Directorate and the Regional Council and you can see the difference: The people from Johannesburg are dressed nicely all in black suits – not very common in Cape Town, but it makes me feel a bit under-dressed in my Cape Town outfit.. 🙂
Nevertheless, the meeting serves also the purposes to present the proposal to form a national task force on renewable energy/energy efficiency and it is my task to present this proposal to the senior council. After a short discussion the proposal is accepted and after 80 minutes the meeting done.

The afternoon programme continues with the arrival of more guests on the wine farm, among them Helen Zille, the premier and the German Ambassador Dieter Haller as well as the German and Austrian Consul General.  The speeches are not too long and I am chuffed about the fact, that HOPE Cape Town is also mentioned from the premier as one of the outstanding German contributions towards South Africa in the Western Cape and Charles Scheltemacher from the Regional Council reminds the people that indeed I was the first customer of the newly opened office needing some donations in form of computers and routers. And I am amazed that out of this not only came the joined Ball of HOPE as the annual function of Chamber and church for HOPE Cape Town, but also a wonderful friendship with Anja, the representative here in the Cape. She is indeed the best girlfriend, a priest is allowed to have … 🙂 A wonderful afternoon, catching up with so many people, having to explain the concept of a Fidei Donum priest and my new role within the church – I really enjoyed the time and the chats and the food and the drinks and the weather – in one word: jolly good afternoon.

In the evening then home again and still some work to do, sitting in my little office and trying to get a bit of work done before chatting with friends in Germany via Skype for quiet a while. Also that so wonderful to be able to chat long without being bankrupt and seeing the persons on the other side. Technology can be a blessing.

So summa summarum a day with mostly positive energy and what I did not get finished this eve on work can also wait until tomorrow morning… 🙂

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Reflection, , , , , , ,

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