God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Cable theft…

It’s the fourth time in a row that thieves have stolen the cable providing electricity to HOPE Cape Town’s container in Blikkiesdorp. Even burying the cable under the soil did not help – Eskom’s efforts to support the community in Blikkiesdorp by providing electricity to the containers have failed again. This in itself is bad news as the uplifting of the community, the computer training, the cooking courses: they all depend on electricity and stealing the cables again and again does harm to those in need.
What is even more regrettable is that those harmed in this way know exactly who are the culpable but out of fear they will never reveal the names or give it to the police.
And with this we are at one of the devil’s circles of South African township societies – it takes long time and lots of courage to break free from all those thugs and criminals terrorizing those vulnerable  and in need of assistance. It is amazing how patient people are in suffering the consequences of crime and violence, up to a breaking point, where they take the law into their own hands and start killing those they want to get rid off. Dead people don’t do revenge!

Blikkiesdorp is not there yet – the stealing of cable and the continues sabotage of the assistance to their disadvantaged lives seems not to trigger such violent reaction yet – and it is understandable: There is no sense for community and belonging in this part of Delft where more than 38 nations are crowded together – some for a longer period of time, others since Sepp Blatter didn’t want to see certain individuals roaming the streets of Cape Town during the Soccer World Cup.

Blikkiesdorp is or should be semi-permanent – all containers and structures should be disappearing – and with it crime and violence in this area – but it seems that the City of Cape Town has other plans – a small park with a braai area for barbecue is now built next to it – a meeting point where people – who hardly can make a living –  should come together and grill their meat in the open. Maybe it works, but maybe there are also chances that this “public park” will be an ideal place for gangs to meet up and do their business at night. The park signals permanence in many ways – and maybe some more hope is again dying that life will become better within life’s time.

Blikkiesdorp is a sore in the eye of everybody who thinks that decent human living should be applied to everybody. It’s a sore in the eye of those who acknowledge what it means to be able to live as a decent human being. But Blikkiesdorp remains a reality and there are so many other “Blikkies” in South Africa that one could lose hope. But HOPE Cape Town remains steadfast in their approach to better the lives of those living there. And even those pulling the cables out at night will not stop this fine organization to deliver as much service as possible to those in dire need for it.

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13.07.2010 Confusing day…

It is indeed a confusing day… 9 out of 10 we got for the world cup organisation from Mr  S Blatter.  Our president promises that the lessons learned during the preparation will be brought now into action when it comes to health, education and other burning issues. At the same time thousands of non South Africans fleeing the country, threats, some death foreigners, some shops looted – but officially no xenophobia.

This is the time  most South Africans were afraid of – even during the jubilation and celebration of the Soccer World Cup 2010; they were afraid of the “days after”.  The start of these days is definitive bad news for the country – problems can only be solved when they are admitted.

Fleeing people back to Zimbabwe means also for many to stop treatment, to lose their medical support – it has more consequences than to be seen on TV. Let’s hope for a some good news in the next days…

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , ,

05.07.2010 New website

Creating a new website is always a bigger story.. chosing the right features, the right functionality. We are re-designing in the moment our HOPE Cape Town website and lots of work will go into every detail. Checking all the information, adding new ones, chosing the right pictures.. it is amazing what one has to consider to get it right at the end. And whether we get it right or not, that our supporters will decide – they have to like it and to find the information easily they want to know about.

So today another meeting on the new website – and an interview with the “Domradio” in Cologne – not about HIV and AIDS but about the soccer world cup and the perception of Germans in South Africa. One can feel that the world cup draws to an end, more requests came in on interviews for the coming week and the topic is always the same: What has this soccer world cup brought to the ordinary people of South Africa? We know that FIFA got their share on proceeds, that SJB could promote himself in many ways (and advertising himself as a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Price) – but what is the ordinary person thinking? What will be the legacy – and the debt for the future of South Africa? What does it mean for the fight against HIV and AIDS?

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , ,

22.03.2010 Human Rights Day

Yesterday we celebrated Human Rights Day – and today, thanks to South African law, we can enjoy a day off as this important day felt on a Sunday and consequently the Monday is a day-off. I like this law very much so.. 🙂

Human Rights Day is important, specially for a nation which must leave up to a constitution which is one of the most progressive in the world. But obviously the realities are in fact always different from the ideal of a constitution. Whether it is crime or HIV, whether we look onto our streets with all these horrible accidents killing hundreds of people every year – be it drunk-drive, driving without driver license or with a not roadworthy vehicle, the taxi industry like the Italian Mafia trying to enforce their might and power with strikes and AK 47’s – land reform or better the not even started land reform, the relationship between Xhosa’s and Zulu’s and others – our commitment to Human Rights are tested every day in South Africa and we fail too often.

I have the feeling that the Soccer World Cup 2010 has put at least a stop on it in the sense, that we haven’t fallen deeper in failing the Human Rights test. Alone for this fact, all efforts to support the World Cup have been a great success. But we have also now to look what will come after the 11.07.2010 when the political gloves are gone again and we specially in the Western Cape will experience the sort of political wrangle which influences the lives of the ordinary people and does not bring any good for the inhabitants.

Let’s hope that the positive push, we will experience from now on till the end of the tournament will produce a positive energy.

When I read the new national plan regarding HIV and AIDS; there is a turnaround which is magnificent. It shows that an energy was created to face the realities and to find ways to overcome it. It would be another South African miracle if we could follow through in the years to come and so transform South Africa from the champion of new infections to the champion in defeating the pandemic. A great dream, lets live it and work for it. HOPE Cape Town will definitely assist where ever we can.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , ,

15.02.2010 And another murder…

I know it does not fit into all the hype about the soccer world cup, but with Joseph Dominic Giddy the third student has been murdered in Cape Town within 6 months.  Stabbed during a robbery while on his way home with friends, he is once again someone who was at the wrong place the wrong time. It is sometimes difficult to paint a fair picture of the situation in South Africa while one is thorn between the plight to encourage people to come to South Africa for the world cup and the knowledge, that things are also not in order here at the bottom of the continent.
But what is a fair picture? Telling only the official statistics which would be a disaster… Or just saying that most of the times only locals are killed? Are they less worth than tourists? I find it increasing difficult because now before the big event, there seems to be two camps: one painting a rosy picture and one painting a dark black one. Both are obviously wrong, but on the other hand: How can one do a balanced picture when press is only reporting in broadbrushed terms because that’s what the speed of news requires: quick and just touching it, no in dept information any more. It is a pity. The way modern press and news agency have developed makes it almost impossible to have the time for a journalist, to feel the pulse of the country for a while before giving a diagnose, the first heart peep, so to speak, is already the whole story.

I am living now for almost 13 years in the country and I think it is one of the greatest countries one can live in, no question about it, but at the same time I acknowledge that life is cheap here and that there is a long way to go for society to get a grip on this fact and change it.  And coming today from an extensive outing again into the lives of those less fortune I am convinced that it needs so much more efforts from politics and civil society to bring back this respect for life.

I still hope that the soccer world cup 2010, which was the nail for this country not to take a deeper dip in many regards, will also serve as a push to drive in that direction. And for that we need great games, a feeling, that we are good here in South Africa, that we are on the right track as the people of a wounded nation. A great future is ahead of us, when we don’t derail but move forward with reconciliation and respect and dignity.

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

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
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15th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 31st, 2020
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