Monday, July 30, 2007

Youth people and intellectual engagement

The youth organization I belonged to in the 80s and 90s were the place which shaped me immensely. I'm not sure whether it has been for the good. What I do know however is that I found many people in key positions who, at some point served as youth leaders of mine. The least that I can offer then, is to say she or he were at one point my youth leader. This begs the question: did the youth work shape them to be who they are today, or were they in any case, destined for greatness because of some other reason and were only surfacing in our youth organization. Whatever your answer to this: the point is that we need to take serious those young people who are surfacing at our humble and sometimes clumsy youth organizations. We need to track them and possibly learn from them, they can most likely be the next generation of key thinkers, decision makers, i.e world makers.
Yes, some fall through the cracks and never surface again, or surface later. It doesn't mean that the input in their lives were in vain. I however would surmise that, even the space of world making, is not necessarily the hallowed halls of fame, but many a time incognito in the streets, the protest movements, those forms of collective behavior we have labeled 'rebellious', 'irresponsible' or 'in vain'. Who determines these definitions and who have the power to put people in these categories? Aren't these categories only our fearful labels for notions like 'creativity', 'imagination' and 'hope'?
Maybe we fail in youth work when our young people grow up to be the silent and subdued mass, domesticated and mere mirrors of an adult culture that is devoid of creativity, imagination and hope.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Flogging Vlok..

Adriaan Vlok, notorious ex minister of 'Wet en Orde' close to 20 years ago, came out of the blue and offered to wash the feet of Pastor Frank Chikane. Pastor Chikane is of course these days, the right hand man of the prez. Now, as you might know feetwashing is big these days in churches. Although its usually the owner of the washed feet who feel most embarrassed (well at least me, seeing that my feet, toes, toenails, etc are part of the category of my 'skaamdele'), yet, the washer wants to express something of a humility and a 'I want to serve you...' Legally, of course, Mr Vlok (as did PW. FW, PIK and others) forfeited the time of grace when he did not come clean, during the TRC amnesty period.My question is: what makes Mr Vlok and his cohorts different to be singled out(only now) for prosecution. Surely he had done more to express remorse and to commit to serve and pay back( wash feet of the mothers whose children were slaughtered back in the dark old days). I've noticed the SACC are now saying that prosecuting him and his cohorts will move us closer to reconciliation, because it will bring out the truth. The truth that we need now is dealing with the loss of income and therefor poverty, inequalities and violence and the answers to the question: why is it not being dealt with... Flogging Vlok won't bring us closer to socio- economic transformation and service delivery- in fact by releasing Vlok, pastor Chikane, maybe we could have opened up floodgates of good will, social captial so needed right now... but then.. I am not next to the throne..

Monday, July 16, 2007

Identity in Postcolonial world

I recently read some stuff from Walter Breuggemann on how words and language in fact construct the worlds we live in. It sort of ties in with postcolonial theory- which in my view provides a coherant arguement for understanding our racial identities
(the worlds we live in)as socially constructed and therefor fluid. This understanding stands against the essentialist view, so endemic in the discourses on what it means to be African and the deeper discourse on race and racism. If identity is then constructed, then it follows that Africanist views, which sometimse smacks a racial fundamantalism need to be reviewed in favour of an understanding that Africa belongs to thos who live in her, irrespective of colour, genealogical background, etc. If a different African is possible then a different Africa can be imagined.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amazing how a strike can strike you down... I know-its a bad excuse. A lot of things have happened... holiday in Kruger National Park, 1 day in Mozambique ... Maputo to be exact and some time in the Cape... Western Cape to be exact. I was at the congress of the Christian Youth Movement.... what an experience ! Young people from all over Southern Africa gathering, discussing, reflecting... Mixiting, texting... and so forth. I was wondering again... are we in touch with the various hybrid generations that are emerging. I think this is exiting and hopefull ! I came back energised to stay in touch ( if I can )
I had to leave the youth happening to attend to a family thing in my hometown, Piketberg. We unveiled a tombstone for my ancestors, Christian Nel and Wilhelmina Nel. Another, I think, inspiring moment... to be re-affirmed to the soil again, African soil, earthy soil.... it reminded us of the richness of our culture, multivaried, shifting and dynamic.