Friday, March 28, 2008
After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China's leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating repression or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.
We can affect this historic choice -- China does care about its international reputation. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get the government's attention. The Dalai Lama, has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world's people to support him. Fill out the form below to sign the petition
Ek reageer graag op Ferdie Greyling se artikel, 'Kollapen moet ook jammer sê, gerig aan Jody Kollapen, voorsitter van die Menseregtekommissie. Miskien moet Kollapen self antwoord, maar ek vermoed Ferdie se boodskap is aan alle swartmense, bruin mense en ander van Indiese agtergrond, kollektief genoem, die swartes. Eintlik poog hy om die kwessie rondom die ongeregtigheid van die verlede op te los, deur almal skuldig te verklaar en sodoende witmense van alle blaam te onthef (ten minste van die verantwoordelikheid om verskoning te vra).
Nou is ek nie seker of Ferdie moedswillig is en of hy doodeenvoudig sukkel om sy mening te lug nie. Hy is uiteraard korrek oor die kwessie van kollektiewe skuld, maar hy verswyg (moedswillig?) dat agter apartheid, wat hy 'rasgedrewe fascisme' noem, die onregmatige bevoordeling van witmense, geskuil het. Greyling verduidelik, 'Omdat adv. John Vorster wit was en hy apartheid uitgebou en in stand gehou het en ek wit is, is Vorster se skuld nou ook my skuld.' Nee, Ferdie dis nie so eenvoudig nie. Omdat jy wit is, het jy voordeel getrek uit Vorster en ander se beleid. Daarom word daar in menige gesprekke en literatuur, die onderskeid gemaak tussen die oortreder ('perpetrator') en die bevoordeelde('beneficiary'), tussen die sistemiese geweld en die persoonlike, waar swartwees, meer is as die velkleur, maar fundamenteel die sosiale posisie, binne hierdie sisteem. Die inspan van 'bantustan chiefs' en die driekamer parliament, soos hy genoem het, het nie kollektief beteken dat apartheid ook (paradoksaal) die bruin, Indiër of swart mense sistematies wou bevoordeel nie. Ferdie moes dit tog geweet het, dat hierdie voorbeelde bloot nog 'n manier was om die inherente onregverdigheid van die sisteem te verdoesel, ten einde die magsposisie van die wit deel van die bevolking te bestendig.
Ek kan nie namens Kollapen praat nie, maar ek vermoed dit nie bloot gaan om 'n soeke na nog meer verbale verskonings en trane nie, eerder 'n bepaalde gesindheid wat beleef word in die saamstoei met die uitdagings van vandag- 'n gesindheid waar die regstelling van die verlede aanvaar word, waar daar saam hard en siel aan transformasie gewerk word, waar witmense beleef word as eg. Op die huidige oomblik word eerder beleef dat in alles fout gevind word, dat aan sekere voorrange en luukshede vasgeklou word ten alle koste en dat die nasiebouproses moedwillig ondermyn word. Een voorbeeld hiervan is die aandrang dat swart mense, ook nou moet jammer sê vir apartheid.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The reports indicating that racism is (still) a high priority for us, should not only be read from the Reitz four or Skielik, but also from the mayhem in Attridgeville, the votes-for-houses-mess on the Cape Flats, and also our handling of the recent Central Methodist cleanup in the middle of Johannesburg. Our silence is deafening and illustrates our fading moral legitimacy as people who once fought for justice against racism. These days are gone. Xenophobia like the Attridgeville brand, is nothing more then black racism lifting its evil face- a racism that need to be fought and eradicated, from our soil.
Monday, March 24, 2008
For me, it means that we support and uphold the rule of law, we should support and do everything we can, to strenthen our faltering criminal-justice system. It is in this context therefore, that I also want to voice my strong objection to the plans to incorporate the Scorpions into the useless, Jack Daniels' inspired SAPS.
The Petition to stop government to incorporate Scorpions into the SAPS, need to be supported by everyone. I signed it and will look for more efforts to support in preventing this madness. ( With the current purging going on within the ruling party, it's not sure whether we are farting against an hurricane, but we need to do something to keep our sanity) Anyway, this plan is evidently an effort to protect corrupt and criminal parasites in high places, which will lead to less efficiency in dealing with organised crime-leaving people like you, me and my friend, to our own devices in fighting off these vile vultures.
If Human Rights Day was about maintaining the legacy and spirit of the people who lead the protestmarches to police stations, upholding a criminal apartheid system, on that fatefull day, 21 March 1960, then we need to conceptualise a new broad-based people's movement rising up against the injustice of these unwelcome criminal rodents and criminal networks, gnawing away our democratic freedom. I am not interested in sectional reactionary - Afriforum-type black bashing, masquerading as progressive civic action. My friend was 'black like me', the other one who's sister was murdered in Ennerdale, etc the same. Crime affects us all, it's not another sinister plan by the ANC government, aimed at Afrikaanspeaking whites, it's aimed at the heart of who we are-at our common humanity. When we start to fear each other, fight each other and loose each other, we loose ourselves. Criminal violence destroys our common humanness, hence we need to find a way to transcend political pointscoring to stand up against this, together. There is no way out, we're going to need a broad-based alliance to take back our human-ness. If there is one challenge that can catapult our nation beyond our racial sectionalism, then it could be our quest for the safety and peace within our borders, fighting off the criminal enemy. We've been able to overcome in the past, we can do it today, we simply have to.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Thanks for those that bothered to comment, for the random visits and honest feedback.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Well, from the responses and comments it might seem that he is hitting a nerve ( at least amongst some of his likeminded white Afrikaner buddies). Admittedly, I can affirm, with some of them also the positives. In fact, the recent perspective from the Arch 'The Arch still hopeful', as well as Pallo Jordan, etc has helped me in getting perspective in the aftermath of the Freestate gemors, but also down to earth personal conversations and difficult reflections with fellow white Afrikaansspeaking friends and colleagues. What irks me about Tim though, is the manner in which he speaks of reasonableness and middleground on the one hand, but on the other hand couldn't wait to pounce on Danny Titus' article, which in all fairness, wasn't even aimed directly at his powerful Rapport. That was so petty. This little incident, in his editorial last week, again pointed to the Rapport's skewed and biased editorial policy, when it come to black people. Let's not go down the Deon Maas affair. Point is: the Rapport repressents crime as consciously being targeted against white Afrikaners by black (ANC) people, that Afrikaans is (by some sinister dark plan) under siege, whites are struggling economically and that young white people are either unemployed or desperately scraping together a living, forcing them to leave the shores of our country with only the clothes on their backs.
If anyone wants to read reasonableness and find bridgebuilders today, then I would suggest a starting point to be an article by Johan Pienaar, Die persepsie van tweederangse burgerskap onder die Afrikaner, ( The perception of secondrate citizenship amongst the Afrikaner people). You can also follow the conversations on Litnet, for some more simulating and balanced debates... building bridges. A recent read of Xolela Mangcu's book, To the Brink, found it to be a scathing critique on the current ANC racial nativism and fundamentalism. Mangcu, comes from the Black consciousness stable and don't mince his words when it comes to the paranoid racial politics, under Mbeki-rule. A close read, indeed points to so many a (unexpected)commonground...bridgebuilding. The public servant strike last year, saw teachers from all shapes and sizes, or variants of the rainbow, marching side by side staring down, my favourate minister, Geraldine, to see who will blink first. So, Mr du Plessis stop pretending as if you don't know these tireless and relentless efforts in civil society to build bridges, but more so, stop pretending as if you don't have an agenda, or some vested interests in fuming the racial tension amongst us, in creating ans sustaining the gloom and doom. We know that it sells the Rapport. Afterall, that's the bottomline, right ?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I don't know what to say..
Monday, March 10, 2008
Just came home driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg, from the funeral of our respected colleague, James Buys. This was quite an experience. Our church council in Riverlea has to be acknowledged with gratitude for the foresight in making this possible. Indeed, this experience have opened up so many insights in terms of the role of pastors, ministers and churchleaders, but at the heart, it was about the essence of the church.
We arrived there at about 9 o'clock and the quaint churchbuilding in a little Wynberg town, was already packed to capacity. Mourners and family members were lining up, respectfully, to show their last respects and to support the grieving family. I have to say: the family remains an impressive inspirational imprint as they are dealing with a tragedy that still perplexes many of us. An answer to this enigma, could be found maybe in the strong presence of the mother of James, as she is referred to by speakers, Ma Elsa Buys. The role but also lasting impact of strong women of this ilk, has yet to be recorded and acknowledged properly in the church, in the way God has raised up leaders of the quality of Buys. Their presence were felt on Saturday, his wife and three daughters, his sister Miranda and countless other unknown women who stood by the side of the family, of vulnerable, grieving ministers and of a grieving church.
The ritual of mourners lining up to 'see' and sometimes 'touch' the deceased could have a very profound role in gaining closure. Others made a choice to remember Buys, as we knew him, standing tall, giving leadership and direction; cracking a joke or making music. The minister of the combined NG Kerk-URCSA congregation, Dr Danie Nel, then announced another an open invitation to people who sense the need for professional counseling in Depression, but also dealing with Trauma to contact their churchoffice, but also the good the Premier of the Western Cape Ebraim Rasool has made available R 25 000 for buying in more specialized therapeutic services.
Rev Mbenenge, shared the word, using the text in Isaiah 54:7, telling us that James asked him already in 2000 to conduct his funeral service. On this unusual request he responded by saying that James, being much younger than him, would most probably outlive him. These two then agreed that whosoever would depart firstly, would be laid to rest by the other. In 2006 at the funeral of another respected church leader in our church. Oom Themba Nyatyowa, James repeated this request and Rev Mbenengwe recalls, 'this time I sensed that he was serious. I could see it in his body language'. He however reiterated, that the people of God, even in the midst of uncertainty about the future, in the midst of difficulties and a sense of being abandoned by God, may remember the promise: I will never forsake you. This promise is possible because of God's covenant. Yes, its possible to feel the pain now, hence we need to 'let pain be our friend'. Miranda Scheepers (Buys), then had a short word of gratitude and repeated a confession of faith that in the midst of it all, ' His (Gods) promises would remain true.
The family then went to the crematorium for the private cremation, whilst the rest of the mourners remained behind for a time of fellowship and re-membering. From the crowds of people present, it was evident that even in his death, James made a profound contribution to our relationships with one another, but also reminding us of our calling. At another memorial service, in Riverlea, James' hometown, this message was articulated by Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, when he read letter from Derrick Marco, stating, 'you have brought us to a rude awakening... we need to question, what is the meaning of life...You remind us of people who question the meaning of life...those on the periphery of life, asking, what is the meaning of life...Many in SA, in URCSA, in the Reformed community, any church, are lonely and the question is: what are we as church, as believers offering to them?' You could see many circles of conversation, of reflection of re-membering under the trees, inside and outside the buildings of the Simon van der Stel Laerskool.
After this, a small delegation, with prof. Thias Kgatla went to the humble churchoffices on the 'coloured side of the railway line', which was the scene of the unfortunate suicide. A small cleansing ritual of sorts, were performed, where Rev A Rust re-membered the circumstances surrounding the suicide and Dr Mazamisa, prayed the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ over this place, family and congregation. The processes of healing and cleansing, seemingly will, however, continue as we reflect and re-member, as we wrestle through this 'rude awakening'. The realization that the sickness of Depression could bring down a leader is such huge stature and respect, calls for softer hands and hearts, but, maybe also strong heads, challenging outdated expectations and theologies around the identity and role of ministers, about the pastoral accompaniment of leaders, but at a deeper level our ecclesiology, what is the essence of being church. This funeral, indeed, was quite an experience, an experience where we were consoled, but also were re-formed... where we are re-formed. As we drove away from the little office, we sensed that this is not a closure, but maybe an opening up... a journey much longer then the distance between Cape Town and Johannesburg..or even Mara (Buysdorp).
Thursday, March 06, 2008
die kind is nie dood nie
die kind van afrika se voetspore rus diep
ingetrap in die harte van ons eie mense
die leier is nie dood nie
hy loop soos moses met sy staf
besig om ons te lei na kerkeenheid
ons pa is nie dood
sy stem spreek lewe
sy stem spreek Godswoord
sy stem spreek van God
sy stem spreek van eenheid.
James ons leier
James ons vader
James ons kind
Die stryd gaan voort
van Johan Robyn
SATERDAGOGGEND, 08 Maart 2008 is daar geleentheid vir besigtiging by die kerkgebou/saal van die NG Kerk van Wynberg van 08:00-10:00. Die begrafnisdiens self sal om 10:00 in die NG Kerkgebou van Wynberg plaasvind. Die prediker sal ds Fezi Mbenengi van die Oos-Kaap wees. Daar sal geen ander sprekers, kore, of optredes wees nie, slegs die diens, met ‘n private verassingdiens.
Ek hoop dat hierdie inligting nuttig kan wees vir diegene van naby en vêr wat beplan om te kom.
Ben du Toit
Now we hear that Mandoza (Mduduzi Tshabalala) has met with one of his victim's family members 'to follow a traditional approach by participating in private meetings between his family and the families of Thebe and Charles Shabalala.' This private meeting is fine, but it should not take the place of a serious investigation in the whole awful affair, the question, why he was not tested for alcohol levels, what speed he was driving etc. Given the carnage on our roads there should be strong action against spoilt popicons, who seems to be nohting more than accidents in waiting. This madness has to come to an end and if need be the killers must be prosecuted. The relevant article is in The Star
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
White denialism manifest itself in many ways. But, I also see something else...In the face of these young racists, I see the image of black and white students holding hands, praying on this Kovsie campus becomes a significant sign. Another sign I see is the ATKV (Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging) appointing key coloured intellectual, prof. Danny Titus as its CEO.
Over the weekend I was part of another little sign. At Kleinmond the National Exec and Senior staff of UCSA, some more Christian students, shared stories from their divided, Afrikaanse coloured and white histories, from struggle and Freestate 'plaas' histories; sharing histories in a quest to find common ground. We heard stories of how new identities were emerging, through interaction, exposure and simply getting to know one another in work teams. At this, commitments were made to keep holding each other's hands, to keep on seeking integration and true unity.
These signs are certainly not our destination, but, I am convince, that it point us in the right direction, away from what is to be expected, to a new free state of being, beyond the ruins of Reitz.
In a highly interesting (prophetic?) analysis, Xolela Mangcu, in his most recent publication, 'To the Brink, The state of democracy in South Africa' (2008), (before the snufmovie was leaked)refers to the fact that the official opposition, since 1994, had a window of opportunity to provide leadership on helping their constituency to deal with, what he calls, 'the fears of an unresolved past' (108). He takes a leaf from Dan O' Meara's 'Forty Lost years' (1996), in particular his argument that 'the collective minds of different groups of South Africans are living the nightmares of different histories. They are thus also haunted by very different fears over what these unresolved pasts mean for their individual and collective futures'. Leon, Mangcu argues, capitalised on these fears (like the FF+ is now doing), whilst they in a typical individualist liberal fashion distance themselves from the racist acts. He continues, 'Instead of helping his mainly white constituency transcend the fears of their unresolved past, Leon capitalised on those fears. ....' (and may I add, building his formidable political party)...In the final instance Tony Leon failed to use his pivotal position to transform the identity of white South Africans. It is this unresolved identity, which manifests itself then in an irrational, almost sadistic anger, at the heart of this white political discourse.
In this context, Mangcu calls for leadership, leaders 'who are able to mediate the conflict between the unresolved fears of their past and the challenge of charting new values'. He shows in the examples of Carl Niehaus and Roelf Meyer how this can be done, albeit at a cost. I am however convinced that we should not look for these risktakers only amongst political figures. They need to build a party. These risktakers, I surmise, we might find closer to home in the forging of new identities amongst christian students and youth leaders, on highschool and college campusses. Mangcu again, 'Maybe the project of injecting new values systems in the white community and therefore a different breed of white leaders in the broader society will be the task of children. But can this be done without role models ? The story of Steve Biko, is one of a young christian studentleader, who dared to dream of a diffent country, different relationships, but at the heart, of a transformation of the collective and personal self. Maybe this is what St Paul meant by transformation by the renewal of your mind. It's indeed a struggle within, an ongoing struggle.
A luta continua !
In a sense one could argue that the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, the church that came as a result of the merger between the Ned Gereformeerde Kerk in Africa and the NG Sendingkerk, owe its current existence to the role of people like the late, Jameson Buys. Yes, we affirm and believe that God is at the heart of the existence of the church. The Belhar Confession states it clearly,
We believe in the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who gathers, protects and cares for his church by his Word and his Spirit, as he has done since the beginning of the world and will do to the end.
In this quest, God uses people, obedient people, who discern his voice and leads the way,
even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them and punishment and suffering be the consequence..
It is in this context that we need to value his role and impact. He hails from Riverlea congregation, Johannesburg, the Southern Transvaal, where the Buys-home was the space where a small 'Sendingkerk' congregation, facing the brunt of the notorious Group Areas Act, found her feet, but also its here where he heard God calling. During his childhood he was hospitalised for some time, but God healed him and after that he had a conviction in his heart to serve the Lord in the full-time ministry. Even an academic scholarship to study overseas, after matric, did not sway him from this course. He therefor studied theology at the University of Western Cape and soon made his impact in the struggle against apartheid. For this faith stance he was in solitary confinement by the apartheid police, harassed by the authorities, but remained faithfull to the oppressed people and congregations he served.
The unification of the URCSA in 1994, as well as that of the then predominantly coloured, Association of Christian Students, with the white Christian Students Association to form the Uniting Christian Students Association, was certainly some of the highlights of Buys's public ministry. In the context of the complex re-unification process within the DR Church-family, he remained one of the sharpest thinkers and his unflinching commitment to the Confession of Belhar remains one of his legacies. This confession, which still speaks so powerfully to the challenges that we face today, was in a sense the guide by which we can measure his public leadership and moral authority. He remained committed to the end.
The impact of his untimely death however remain to be seen. Currently we are at a loss of words. The whole church, but also our unfolding secular democracy are however reminded of the frailty of all of us, as co-pilgrims carving out our journey towards a new heaven and new earth. We are reminded of the words of the apostle Paul on many occasions, exhorting congregations to pray for him and the other ministry leaders (1 Thes 5:25, 2 Thes 3:1 and Heb 13:18). We remain fragile in need of the grace of God, to sustain us, even at our lowest points. May we again find comfort, Father, in you alone. May we find grace to light the way, my we find You. This is our prayer for our sister Angela and the children, for the extended families, for our church and country.
There will be a memorial service at the Wynberg, URCSA on Wednesday, 5 March 2008, at 19h30. On Saturday, the funeral will start at 10h00 at the same Wynberg, URCSA.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
As our leader, you have showed us the way, paid the price, gave your life. May your soul rest in peace and our memory of you, light the way. To Mrs Angela Buys, children and family, we pray with you for strength and commit to stand with you in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
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- Stand with Tibet - Support the Dalai Lama
- Bruin, Swart en Indiers moet ook nou jammer sê oor...
- Black racism lifts its evil face in Attridgeville
- Crime destroys our common human-ness
- Just hit my century....!
- Tim du Plessis, the great pretender
- Convicted racist killer play Vodacom rugby
- James Buys' funeral
- Die kind is nie dood nie
- Reëlings ivm die begrafnisdiens van James Buys, Sa...
- Mandoza's case must be investigated
- Close down Reitz for a new free state
- Christian students can make a difference in the mi...
- James Buys, who is the man ?
- Funeral arrangements for Rev James Buys
- James Buys in memoriam
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