Sunday, December 30, 2007

Keeping track

Being on holiday, in a sweltering hot Cape makes it difficult to keep track. The Boland and Cape Town remains one part of SA that pride themselves of the some of the most breathtaking scenery. In the midst of this, we must however also hear the shocking news of the untimely death of Benazir Bhutto, the tumulteous Kenyan elections and wonder what will 2008 hold. Visiting Pniel, a quaint community on the way between Stellenbosch and Franschoek, we found this beautiful house of worship. It reminded us that in the midst of some mean mountains there can be inspiration for tacking these heights. May we never succumb to the lies of evil and mobjustice...but overcome the evil with beauty and the good.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace on earth

May the earth community be blessed with the gift of Peace/Shalom/Salaam. May we as humanity recieve this gift as co-pilgrims on a journey, following humble signs of hope. Reggie

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jody, more than an idol

Recent winner of MNET's talent search competition, Idols, Jody Williams, could be more then a pretty face and a song. Members of the Lighthouse Christian Church, share the exitement and surprise when the nation's starlet, was, last Sunday called to the pulpit and prayed for. Apparantly the family belongs to this church and her achievements seen as an opportunity for impacting young people positively. Indeed, there's possibly more to Jodie than meets the eye. We just pray that she is not abused and exploited in the entertainment and religious industries, alike. Just keep the Spirit, Jody.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Summerholidays...too fast. too furious..

It's that time again-on the road to the coast. For us, 'Valies' its part of an annual deathdefying bullrun, to unwind and enjoy the family. This however remains a risky affair, having to share one road with speedsters (read budding F1 racers) in Audi TT's, M5's, minibus taxis and trucks. (let alone those 4th-hand busses. Its total madness. Now we hear our Roadsafety agency reveals, not surprisingly, alcohol as one of the key factors towards the carnage. May I add the power of the hero media images, where the car becomes an extension of a search for identity. At least I can drive like those on TV...maybe it will bring me the same status...except for the fact that its an illusion, produced to be sold for a fat the meantime we face (evade) the reckless dreamchasers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Indigestion.... humble pie time

So the ANC did vote for JZ, AKA 'Umshini wam', AKA 100% Zuluboy, etc. I'm still abit taken a back...and proven wrong by the vote, but then, that's the risk you take. To the African National Congress: I suppose you deserve the kind of leaders you vote for. The question is: Is this what SA and Africa deserve ? Is this all that we can offer to the world ? Resisting the temptation to add to the showers of new jokes about African leadership/governance and the lamentations on our very own descend into mob rule (read 'democracy') I will remain hopefull. I remind myself of where we come from, of the fact that we should not allways take the ebb and flow of party politcs too serious. Given the history of South Africa-where it seemed as of the National party would reign until the Lord's second coming, and now, with the fundamental transitions we're still experiencing, we should remind the JZ-mob, not to be too comfortable in their coupe d'etat. I am reading in the commentary of some 'thoughtleaders' a call for resignation. This is a call to get used to Zuma-rule, to 'our' brand of democracy, as ugly and sleazy as it might seem, to accept majority rule, etc. The issue is not to live with penultimate compromises and flawed individuals and processes. That we can do and indeed, we all live (survive) within such compromises. The issue is that the ruling party, in the growing resentment against the Mbeki rule, missed an opportunity to creatively put alternative policies in front of the conference. The election of JZ is a change of faces and vibe, but certainly not progress in dealing intelligently and coherently with HIV/AIDS scourge, corruption and economic transformation- it will not deal with the growing inequalities between social classes in SA. Publically, Jacob Zuma does not have the symbolic or moral credibility to deal with these critical matters, except, of course in the judgement of the majority at the Polokwane conference. But then, not all of us are ( or will be ) naively intoxicated simply by dance and song.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And the world is waiting....

Voting is (finally ) underway between Mbeki and Zuma, and the world is
waiting. Dont hold your breath, though. I suppose the run-up to the
voiting, since Sunday, Day of Reconciliation. allready gives indication
of what is coming. Though some observers and analysts (read
thoughtleaders) like Ryland Fisher and Steven Friedman are exited about
this, our own South African brand of democracy, I however beg to
differ. I found it a bit embarresing and allthough I agree with them
that the unruly behaviour we witnessed on Sunday, Day of Reconciliation,
is not unique to South Africa or Africa ( just look at South-Korea!),
this however does not repressent the legacy of the movement that
spearheaded the struggle against apartheid. Secondly, we should stop
being so politically correct, in the face of blatant mob rule. Apart
from the evident class conflict that rage within the movement, there is
also a conflict between an older generation of 'elders' and a younger
generation smelling the green bucks, who will, by all means possible,
grab hold of power in order to rake in the tenders and opportunities.
This is what is at the heart of this intense battle. This is not an
ideological battle between the surging agency of the poor and tbe elite
in power- if it was- I think, then there would have been clear
alternative policies and lobbying around policy shifts on the
fundamental policy positions of the ANC- not around who sings and dance
the best. As a nation growing in stature and in responsibility in African and the rest of the world, we
cannot allow mere singing and dancing to shape our future and the future
of our continent. This conference then becomes to typical of the African
stereotype of the masses swayed by a charismatic leader and then, after
ascending the throne, revealing his true nature towards women and the
plight of the poor, becoming the lackey of the sweaty rich business class. We can only measure the mettle of a leader by the stand they take on key issues, the intellectual engagement on complex social and moral matters.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Swaziland here we come..... !!

On my way to the Royal Kingdom of Swaziland. Looking forward to some new experiences, reading and well..... holiday with wife and kids.. I will try to get connected though, Polokwane is happening, apparantly we will only know by Monday. Hope and pray for sense and responsibility....
Swaziland, here we come....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Zuma again...

I hoped that the conversations (read 'heated debates')on Jacob Zuma would be dated and boring by now... Ironically, it seems if we take serious various commentators, that JZ will be the talk of the town at least for the next decade or so in South Africa and where the rest of the word speaks of Africa. It seems, these days, as if he is the one to speak to and to be seen with and hence we will have to start to position ourselves accordingly. Maybe this is the time for me to eat humble pie, like others. I read Pierre de Vos, where he is saying: "In June this year I wrote on this Blog that Jacob Zuma was “fading fast” and that his Presidential bid was “done for”. Now less than a week before the Polokwane conference it is perhaps appropriate to eat humble pie and admit that I was spectacularly wrong".
His argument can be found here

I also offered an 'opinion', which, I admitted then, remains a risky move, and maybe I should also get ready for some indigestion. I would however go along with Henry Jeffries, in his contribution to Die Beeld, "Zuma-kamp trek kurk te vroeg uit". Maybe, it is prudent for us to wait for Sunday, Day of Reconciliation, in South Africa. It still seems to me that the ANC, as a modern political movement, will remain loyal to a powerful elite, who fuels the vehicle and butter the hands. This might be in stark contrast to the legacy of the likes of Chief Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo and even Nelson Mandela. But then, the this Limpopo conference is about an evidently, buttered party (cf The road to Polokwane is paved with millions of rand-Pretoria News 11/12/07) in government, not 'comrades' outside in the streets, or in jail, striding for the cause of the poor and oppressed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Afrikaans en die heil van Bruinmense

'n Baie insigewende debat word gevoer in die Afrikaanse dagblaaie oor die vraag of daar 'n verband bestaan tussen bruin Afrikaansprekendes se armoede en die huidige stryd om Afrikaans se publieke plek. Richard van der Ross, eertydse rektor van UWK laat ook homself uit in sy bydrae in die Beeldforum (4 Des 2007). Uiteraard kom die debat al 'n lang pad en veral in Litnet en Die Vrye Afrikaan woed hierdie gesprek al 'n geruime tyd en spesifiek oor die vraag waarom dit lyk asof bruin Afrikaansprekendes nie so vurig stry vir die (onse)taal nie. Bekroonde bruin skrywer, Abraham Phillips, neem egter die strydbyl op vir Afrikaans in sy artikel, Die tragedie van Afrikaans en arm mense (Die Burger 20 Nov 2007). In 'n neutedop kla hy bruin intellektuele aan dat hulle nie in woord en daad opstaan teen wat hy noem die 'dooddruk en uitfasering van Afrikaans nie'. Met spesifieke verwysing na US (Stellenbosch Universiteit) en die SABC( die nasionale uitsaaier) is dit sy mening dat die uitfasering 'behoort dieselfde reaksie ontlok as die vergrype van Robert Mugabe'(!). Dit lyk asof Phillips van mening is dat, indien SA se bruin en wit intellektuele' daarteen veg en die stryd moontlik wen (en sodoende Afrikaans red), bruin en swart Afrikaanssprekendes , veral op die platteland en die Kaapse Vlakte, opgang sal maak. Andersom, indien daar nie gehoor gegee word nie, sal 'n katrastrofe volg.

Van der Ross stem saam dat die bruin intellektuele stil is... hulle monde is nog vol van eet... aan die vrug van hul struggle, ook aan kultuur het hulle in elk geval geen erg nie. Die geskiedenis het ons in elk geval geleer, so voer hy aan, dat die opinies van die armes nie tel nie en mag aan die kant van die owerhede en rykes lê. Hy argumenteer verder: "Al word en bly die US Afrikaans, en al word die SAUK (...) meer Afrikaans, sal dit bitter min doen aan die armoede onder die bruin mense. Die heil van die bruin mense sal, indien wel, geleidelik kom namate ons kinders opgeneem word in die ekonomiese vooruitgang van die land as geheel". T.o.v. Afrikaans voeg hy egter by: "Dit sal aangaan, hetsy op die Kaapse Vlakte, hetsy aan die US."

Miskien is Leopold Scholtz (Die Burger 29 Nov 2007) ten minste in hierdie opsig reg as hy in antwoord om van der Ross aanvoer, vanuit sy boekkennis, "In die algemeen is dit dikwels so dat 'n sosiaal-ekonomiese stryd agter 'n taalstryd tuisgaan". In sy aanhaling van grepe uit die geskiedenis van die Afrikaners se taalstryd, die Vlaamse stryd, de Tjegge asook,in sy woorde, die van die inheemse "Indiane", in Latyns Amerika, bied hy gronde aan vir sy punt dat die koloniste taal gebruik het om inheemse groepe uit te buit; dat daar dus wel 'n verband bestaan tussen armoede en taaldiskriminasie. Wat hy egter gerieflik weglaat, is die stuk geskiedenis van hoe Afrikaans self ontwikkel het as 'n taal van die verdrukker. Inderdaad, daar is 'n verband. Wat ons egter verder moet byvoeg is dat die heil nie noodwendig lê in die verabsolutering van die taal, Afrikaans soos ons dit vandag ken, as sodanig nie. Die ontwikkeling van Afrikaans ( en alle tale) geskied binne 'n bepaalde sosiale konteks, en een stroom het begin waar bruin slawe in die smeltkroes van Oosterse, Afrika en Europese kulture 'n nuwe verdrukte-kultuur ontwikkel het (teenoor die koloniale kultuur)- 'n kultuuurskat wat egter die laaste paar eeue voordurend gevorm is deur die konteks, in verskeie skakeringe. Die proses sal voortgaan hier in Afrika; net soos die voorgaande fermentering van Afrikaanse kultuur sal voortgaan in Engeland, Kanada en Perth, in Australië (en daar selfs ander name kry). Die elites en maghebbers sal ook voortgaan om hierdie lewendige gisting te wil beheer (naam te gee) en te wil inspan om hul ideologieë te verkoop, of om politieke mag vir hulself te mobiliseer en te behou. Die sleutel lê egter in die erkenning van hierdie selfbewuste hibriede identiteit (-e) waar Afrikaans onmiskenbaar 'n integrale deel is van die 'mix', verder waar ons heil opgesluit lê in die diepere waardes en hartsstories.. die breër kultuurskat wat voortleef en ons betrokkenheid en geleidelike opgang in die ekonomie, wetenskap en tegnologie dryf.

Monday, December 03, 2007

HIV/AIDS and 16 days of activism against violence towards women and children

Dr Sipho Senabe, key thinker in the current process of drafting national policy on HIV/AIDS in our government gave a succinct, but deep analysis of the HIV/AIDS pandemic yesterday. He noted that despite the stories of hope, there remains a lot of hard work and thinking ahead. This is a challenge that will remain with us for some time. What was of interest was the way he linked the prevalence and upward curve in the spread of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa to, what he called key drivers. He focussed on one of these namely the unequal power relations amongst genders in the homes, in churches, in our communities, but also in the bedrooms. Linking this to the mission of Jesus, as captured in Luke 4:18 we are challenged to cultivate communities that address the oppressive violence against women and children, communities that stand with the vulnerable, that support them in resisting unprotected sexual intercourse and toxic relationships that keeps the spreading of this disease. The churches from various (faith)traditions remain marred in their silence and outright patriarchal interpretations of Scripture, but also practices that side with the powerful. Unless this is addressed, we are impotent to stem the tide. Indeed, there remains hard work, but also hope. This is where the Spinathon of MES becomes relevant. On Saturday, World AIDS DAY, the MES, in partnership with eTV and JakarandaFM raised funds for a hospice in the inner city of Hillbrow, but also challenged people to know their HIV status. a Booth was set up to encourage people to get tested. Few people however grabbed hold of this opportunity. Why? It seems to me that we need to do more hard work in eradicating the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Hubert Mogaecho, one of the organizers of the event, reminds us 'HIV does not discriminate on the basis of colour, creed or class, we are all affected'