Monday, April 21, 2008

Do we really need the Mighty Men ?

Apparently there's a movement of Mighty Men, ready to, valiantly, march through the country to bring hope-to bring revival. It would premature to either slam or hallow this movement or the person of Angus Buchan. Maybe they are the mighty men they claim to be, maybe they're simply men inspired to make a difference. Only time will tell. What is however hopeful is the fact that there is a possible resurgence (revival ?) of Christians, people of faith, who transcend old barriers in a quest to be socially relevant.

Recently I have been at the point where I wondered, what happened to the mighty so-called Christian majority. We've speak of this with an air of superiority. But recently, I was asked what happened to the comrade pastors, who led he struggle, in recent years. Maybe for us, its still too embarrassing to acknowledge that our once, mighty men of the struggle, are simply human beings, fallible and also vulnerable to the vices of this world. The media, in particular the Afrikaans print media, feels vindicated, and has been foremost in riding the wave of outright pessimism and bitter lamentations about South Africa's unavoidable slide into a black (this is a pun!)hole. Now of course, the recent outburst of racially motivated violence, the ugly face of xenophobia grinning at our now fading, human rights legacy, but more so, the disturbing and reckless support, by Thabo Mbeki, of the most recent incarnation of evil, our next door neighbor, the once strong man of the anti-colonial struggle, but now deluded Robert Mugabe, is sending shock waves through our senses. How is it possible that we have sunk so low ? How have these mighty men fallen ? And how is it possible that this obese rat, with his fellow misfits, parading as generals, could have the audacity to try and sneak his Chinese weapons through our harbor and country. Indeed, we have reasons for grave concern about the way our sensibilities have been eroded in the wake of our elated victories over apartheid and colonialism.

Let me add another image that haunted me since last week. Now, I have seen poverty and destitution, amongst our black informal areas in Gauteng; I have pastored Coloured farmworkers, who survive on Western Cape white farms (I'm talking the nineties now!), which for them, was nothing more than festering shitholes. There we find a neo-feudalism, in the Marxist sense of the word, where farmworkers are kept in a semi-inebriated state, in order to maintain the system of wealth creation for the 'baas'. Not much has changed since Nelson Mandela and Mbeki took over from FW and PW. (Yes, I know that things has changed for some farms and that this type of human exploitation is not unique to SA, its not even invented in SA) But, since watching JZ (Umshini Wam), visiting poor white communities in Pretoria,last week, I struggle to purge myself from those nauseating images. Images of what some would call, 'white thrash', desperately poor white communities 'left over people', hidden and evidently not very high on the ANC's priority list. Amongst my Coloured people it is often said dismissively that 'they' (the poor whites) have brought it upon themselves. How is it possible that they did not benefit from all the decades of preferential treatment? This response might be populist and score a few laughs, but it simply doesn't deal with the grave reality of the situation, seriously nor compassionately. Indeed, how have we sunk so low that these images doesn't affect our senses ? How is it possible that political correctness can prevent us from beginning to see these people as our people. I am a follower of the Confession of Belhar. It states: ' We believe that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged; that God calls the church to follow him in this; for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry' These wretched of South Africa, indeed, are Gods people, they are our people. Indeed, we need more then merely a political solution or transformation, we need something deeper.

This brings me to the other mighty men, those of Greytown. If farmer turned evangelist, Angus Buchan is sensing the need for a deeper level transformation, to take place within us and if he is channeling his energies and resources towards this, then I am all for it. I think there is a need for it. If it means a heightened sense of morality, of awareness that we are at heart, simply brothers and sisters, that we share a spiritual bond, then it gives me hope. For, the blood-drenched oppression and vicious slaughter of our people, whether it be in Mutare, Zimbabwe, in the Kenya Assemblies of God Church or Bethlehem in Andeon, west of Pretoria, or a farm in the Northwest or in Stellenbosch, cries to the heavens. This is evidently not merely about race or ethnic origin, there seem to be growing almost an insane, spiritual fascination with the sacrifice of people, for the sake of power and profit; it is evil and a tint of the demonic, and, now, maybe at this level, we need Angus and his mighty men, but indeed, maybe we need more then mere men, inspired to make a difference.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Proudly SA service

This is my second attempt to renew my drivers licence at the Roodepoort Testing station. From my fellow qeue-ees, waiting patiently in line, its also the second or third time around. One just left, disgusted. I'll rather wait.

Why are we so impatient of our proudly SA service? Maybe its because we, people with full-time jobs, appointments, deadlines have to 'patiently' wait in lines for government officials, to open the office at 7h50am instead of 7h30, as indicated on the doors. (Another 2 just left, moerig). We just have to wait more for a ultra slow official explaining something to us in either Zulu or Tswana. And so we wait more for the proudly SA service. Some-one just complain: is so slow here, there's no-one at the next point, the paypoint. Another jokes that its fine we can move faster there. Maybe its faster because its the paypoint. Maybe I should take a few days leave for renewing my licence (and take a language course!).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

COSATU to march on rising food prices

It seems as if COSATU is leading the charge for rasing the voice over the plight of the poor. Their march tommoron in Johannesburg aims not simply at raising the issue, but at a deeper level to revive the debate on the 'fundamentals' which seems to be in place, at the expense of the poor. The Times' article suggest that at least 5000 marches are expected.

Stormers to win - go boys !

This weekend we face a crunch game as Stormers. Since Rassie took over from Fester it has brought new life in WP rugby. It seems as if Newlands will be packed for the Storm vs Hurricane clash and I will miss it :-(

Rassie has consistenly picked a team that performs. It is hoped that Tonderai Chavangu and Conrad Jantjies wil be flying. I am impressed with the defence of the two. In the past it was suspect and now they are 'ysters' at the back. I have one backline concern though- Ngobani Bobo. He seems to drop the ball at crucial times, his is not so fast either and he seems a bit out of sinc with the rest of the team. Maybe Rassie knows something I don't and let's trust his judgement and instinct; hopefully we'll see Bobo break the lines again.

With regards to the pack, I am, thrilled with Luke Watson gaining his fitness and form again. For all and sundry: he is one helluva rugby player, a great role model and as fas as I am concerned, he has been given a raw deal, unfairly, because of his father ( and his) politics. I would prefer him on 7 with Robbie Dyack on 8, but so be it.

Anyway enough of the couch potato let the real guys who play the game loose and let me do what I do best: GO STORMERS !

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Move out of the way, Bob !

Today marks the beginning of mass action, by Zimbabweans to force mad Bob out of the office. His callous disregard for democratic processes, the human rights of his people, but also for the economic recovery of the region has reached a point where he has to be pushed out. This might sound strong, but enough is enough. Even in die face of a glaring defeat at the polls he walks hand and hand with the prez, as if nothing happened-oblivious of reality the two stroll smiling and making eyes to one another. The irrelevancy of Thabo Mbeki also shows in this display of arrogance in the face of the world watching. Even his own party, wants him 'snap out of it'.

Irrespective of whether one might have questions over the the campaign or leadership of MDC people, of conscience don't have a choice- we need to stand with the Zimbabweans. Post-colonial Zimbabwe deserve better then the deal they are getting now. Move out of the way, Bob !

Friday, April 11, 2008

Congratulations to Mondli Makhanya for firing Bullard

Mondli Makhanya should be handed a trophy for giving Bullard the boot. Like Deon Maas, David Bullard seemed to enjoy the freedom, and in fact, he was payed to insult and racially abuse whoever he wishes, whilst simultaneously, basking in the privilege gained by British colonialism. Yes, he will be defended as simply doing his job. In fact, on another blog it was suggested that this fine art of insulting people, actually contributes to social dialogue and cohesion. Some would also argue that this 'freedom' is protected by our Constitution and that democracy by definition also means the right to still proclaim the supremacy of white people.

I have at a previous occasion already expressed my disagreement with the fact that people like Bullard, simply slips under the radar, by virtue of an appeal to the constitution. Yes, so it is argued, because of democracy, I may hurl racially motivated abuse at you, as long as I don't mention black, coloured, white, indian, let alone those more offensive Afrikaans terms used around the 'braaivleisvure, daar langs Loftus'. For most, the image of racist is simply reduced to the caricature of a bearded ET falling from his high horse, or the budding Leon Schusters at Reitz. Of course, we are none of the above and therefore an English journalist, with a passion for the finer things in life, the expensive tastes and luxuries which we all crave for, can never be racist. This is the dubious prerogative of Afrikaans speaking white people, from the 'platteland'. He, however, is hallowed as the benchmark of objective and fine journalism, he is the special guest at high-class social functions and where there is a break-in at his house, then he is paraded and presented as the ultimate South African victim, for whom we all have sympathy and tears.

In the mean time, he may continue and is paid to write black people as inherently stupid, incompetent, backward and ultimately the white man's (his) historical burden. Even in the wake of the cruel colonial system, which they, the English introduced and upheld violently, he was allowed to spew out his social Darwinism, to the delight of his readership. It was as if no-one was allowed to call him to task, because then it would have betrayed the shallowness and insecurities of black intellectualism, as he himself was portrayed, in his writings, as the paragon of post-colonial intellectual engagement; in fact, he embodies the best of independent thought in the new South Africa. I have to admit, though, that I stopped reading his column. I deprived myself of drinking from his well, hence I also missed his last swansong last Sunday, titled appropriately, 'Uncolonised Africa wouldn’t know what it was missing'. Thank be to God, as part of uncolonised Africa, I would also have been carving out rock art, at this point of time, instead of typing a blog; growling at my mate in our cave, if it wasn't for his British empire. I would not even had been Coloured, for that matter- maybe a non-coloured or colour-less, I don't know. What he failed to understand is that the reality of cultural exchange and bricolage is inherent in all cultures, it cannot be confused with the structural evils of slavery and colonialism.

Anyway, for Bullard and his ilk, the writing is on the wall; to Mondli Makhanya- a high five for making the brave call. It's journalists and settlers like Bullard, that give fuel to the cause of Forum for Black Journalists or the cantankerous, mad Bob, still fighting, the ghosts of the British Empire. The weird thing is this: Bullard and his clones will pop up somewhere again, as some social commentator, now with more to tell of how the new South Africa hunts down the white male. It happened with Maas, after his true colours showed too much at the Rapport. So, maybe we should not judge too hardly on Abbey and Bob, but evidently, the route of Mondli is highway- dealing decisively with the situation and not breeding a new kind of black racial nativism. This is the kind of brave leadership we need and remind me of a quote by Martin Luther King (jnr), who said 'Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everybody. Not a few times men (sic) who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under the bushel for fear of being called different'

Friday, April 04, 2008

Shame on you, Herschelle

Herscelle Gibbs, hero amongst so many young boys and girls(!) has again entered his name on the wall of shame. If he is not repressenting SA, smoking a groen pyp on tour, then he accepts bribes for dropping a game (even though he could not even keep his 'word' of course). And so the list of shame and dragging their family name through the muck, goes on. The Gibbs-name was once a proud brand in the sporting fraternity of the Cape. In so many ways Herschelle, in public, reinforce the racist stereotypes for Coloureds-dishonesty, bad morals, a drunk clown in public, with callous disregard for responsibility, trying to go through as a white. Yet, he is so talented and loved when he is on song. Him being allready on the wrong side of 30, would maybe still make it in the national team, occasionally but one may only imagine what legend he could have been, internationaly, should his flawed character not have been his Achillesheel. His legacy remains that of another tragic sporting wannabee. Its sad.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's time to go, Bob !

Why does despots always find it so difficult to go ? I suppose we will grapple with this enigma till Jesus comes. Well let's add to the voices from all over the world: Bob Mugabe, its time to go ! Let's hope and pray, but more-so keep the pressure on the positive direction for change in Zimbabwe. This transformation is crucial, not only for Zim, but also for the region. Let's hope for a peaceful transition towards stability, justice and peace and that this proud nation may again raise her head amongst the nations of our world.