Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Judgement on Malema ?

Are we doing enough to stem the tide of rape and abuse ? How committed are we ? Is fine to lash out at Malema and the president, but what about the rest of us? Yesterday's judgement by the Equality Court on the matter of Sonke Gender Justice Network vs Mr Julius Malema is hopeful, but also it raises a few critical, disturbing questions.

We should again, note our appreciation for our judicial system. This judgement is a clear signal that our courts, by and large, still serves to defends and protects the dignity of all people, irrespective of status, class, gender, etc. This is hopeful. It builds upon our Constitution, which states, ' and Everyone is equal before the law...''Everyone has inherent dignity...' But its not as simple as that.

Of course, I cannot make any pronouncements on the legalise and whether the judgement was fair or not. My understanding is that Malema's legal team is working on an appeal and, in following in the footsteps of his president, we can assume that this matter will go all the way to the Constitutional Court.There is nothing illegal about that. My comments here are of a different nature. It relates to understanding the Malema-phenomenon. Who created this image and for what purpose ? Is he really so out of character with the rest of us ? Or is he perhaps the scapegoat ? We pack on him all our hidden dark secrets and chase him in the desert as an atonement. Of course, these questions calls for a more substantial investigation. I'm simply raising questions. 

It is significant that the judge considers Malema to be someone who commands 'significant social and political influence and particularly over young people'. I've refered to this adoration, in a previous post. Who are these young people and how does Malema's public role influence their norms and values ? Malema, according to the evidence presented in this case, argued that his comments need to be seen within the context of him pursuading and mobilising young people towards an ANC victory. With these comments he is motivating young people to join his campaign. He is the president of the ANCYL. The ANC alliance scored a resounding victory at the poles last year, after his campaigning. So he must know something about these voters or like many fine savvy marketers would say: he knows his market, his target audience-just look at the numbers.

He also argued, that his party promotes the advancement of women and specifically black women. He will never promote hatred against women. Afterall, he explained, he himself was mentored by a few and raised by his grandmother. We don't know who these seemingly older women are, but one can asume that he holds their lives and examples in high esteem.There is a particular understanding of women and gender, at work here, that undergird his public persona.

Further, and this is significant, as his audience were tertiary students at the Cape Peninsula Technikon, he testified that his audience 'cheered him on with loud applause'. His assessment is that his audience, did not percieve his speech as particularly 'hurtful or harmful'. Malema is often invited to speak at tertiary institutions and, if anything his speeches are raising his profile amongst a fair percentage of tertiary students, in South Africa. Why? Who is it that continue to invite him and hold him in high esteem?

Yes, I know that the court also heard from an expert witness, Ms Lisa Vetten, that Malema's utterances were based on 'generalisations' about women, rape and consent, and that those in power, like Malema often, create and proclaim myths and stereotypes, which distort reality, but also entrench the lies and domination, of men. The court also found that his comments 'ammount to hate speech and harrasment'. The questions however remain, disturbing. This judgement cannot be the final word.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Christians, Muslims slaughter each other in Nigeria.

It's International Women's Day and in Jos, Nigeria an estimated 500 women and children were brutally killed between yesterday and today. They were slaughtered in the ongoing violent conflict between Christians and Muslims. It's simply awful.

Of course, this issue is more complex then this and it is also argued that tribal and land issues are at play, but still. Its does not help to deny, like the Vatican, the fact that religious motivations are also at play. Religious fanatism are at work. What an indictment against people of faith, people of the Book, so to speak. If anything, we are all implicated. Let me rephrase: What an indictment against us.

How far have we really come from building walls between people of faiths ? Even within faith communities, we develop sophisticated walls of seperation, thus sowing seeds of conflict. The challenge of new fundamentalisms, the othering and demonizing of difference is still alive and it more vile then ever. But where does it come from? One answer is perhaps not for our comfort: This violence seems to be embedded in the way we read our sacred texts, the way our reading still brutalise and maim. It's in the myths we believe about ourselves and them and re-tell.  Its simply awful and how awful, how horrific this Sunday has been.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Memorial Service in honour of Steve de Gruchy, by SACC

The SACC will host a Memorial Service in honour of Prof Steve de Gruchy at Khotso House in the Chapel on the first floor. This service is open to all who remember Steve's contribution especially to the ecumenical work of the Council.

Come; let us pay tribute to this son of the soil, a pastor, academic, husband and father, for his spirit will be with us as his soul is resting in peace.
For More Info Please Contact: Rev Dr Vuyani Vellem 011 241 7804 / Mr. Eddie Makue 011 241 7817


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bafana need faith

Watched the game tonight. Exited like the rest of the nation to see our team doing well. Playing against teams like Namibia     would be the opportunity to rally the nation behind the boys. I would not say I was very impressed though. It seemed as if the guys was simp;y going through the motions, just doing enough to draw against a team that did not even qualify for the World Cup finals.

So, what is my advice to Bafana? Being an expert arm-chair critique, I observed that our team were able to execute the moves, make the breaks, but there's one thing we lack. We don't finish it off. We freeze in front of the box. ( or the shots goes haywire). Perhaps we need a bit of self-belief, faith that, indeed we can. I've seen other athletes with less talent, opportunity and finesse, yet they burst with self-belief and they intimidate you with their confidence. So, at every opportunity, they shoot for goal. They have faith in their ability- and if they fail the first time? Then they go back and shoot again.

Come one guys, we know you can do it.

Benny Hinn is still going strong en route to South Africa.

Believe it or not, Bennie Hinn is on his way to South Africa. This quack will be hosted by the Good Hope Christian Centre in Cape Town and the Durban Christian Centre in Durban. (There's a bit of free advertising for you). I stand amazed: when our churches will wake up and regain our dignity to listen to God and think for ourselves. But another thing: What is it with these quacks, who cannot stay home and sort out their own problems?  What is driving them ?

There can be only one explanation: the love for moola. These kind of industries need to keep the system going to rake in the profits, irrespective of the price that decent, sincere believers have to pay, for a miracle. Whilst we abhor the obscene plunder, by polititians and their lackeys of public money meant for health and education services of our elderly and needy, I don't have words for the vile stench of these prosperity cults...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

100 days before the opening of the Soccer world cup. Are you ready ?

Are you ready for the Soccer World Cup ? Its only 100 days now. 3 months. Its been said often that SA will not be ready, the roads, the Gautrain, the team, the stadiums, etc. I think we will be ready, so last year I bought myself a Bafana Bafana shirt ( I know its the old green one- at least its made in SA, not China) and I thought, I will use my Chiefs vuvuzela ( I know that SuperSport won the league-at least its not Pirates)- I am ready to roll.

My question remain: are we ready ? Speaking from our community in Riverlea, I wonder whether our communities are prepared for the onslaught and whether our children will be safe. For more then a month our children will be at home. We are preparing some youth and children's programmes, but we need to step up awareness, support services for parents, alternative care-facilities; we need to be able to track our children all the time.

But there is some good news !
A helpline was launched early in this year by the Salvation Army and BE HEARD. Lets put it up there on our boards and pamphlets. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

top 3 most influential living Christian preachers..

What a shock to realise, that I only know the names of 3 of the 'top most influential Christian preachers'. Am I missing something? Is this bit of research, exposing the secret to my glaring deficiencies? Anyway, Lifeway Research did a telephonic survey last year, amongst a 'random sample of  1002 Protestant pastors' and found that Billy Graham is 'far and away the top living preacher that has most influenced Protestant pastors.'

Of course, the researchers also found it 'surprising' that there is not enough diversity and respressentivity in the findings, but hey, what can you do: when you're good, you're good. Influential and all. You can find the results of the survey here.

The questions however remains: Who defines influential? Who are these 1002 protestant pastors, in terms of generation, race, class, gender ? What does it say about the powerrelations?  Is this kind of research relevant ? What would be the point of this kind of research? More questions then answers.