Tag Archive: Craig Stewart


light

i love how in the darkest and longest of rooms, the moment you light the smallest candle, it can be seen from anywhere else in the room. [Unless of course, you’re hiding in a cupboard, but then, Narnia!]

Whereas in the lightest and brightest of rooms, you introduce a little bit of darkness and nothing much happens. Continue reading

Advertisements

 

colourblind.jpg

That is the refrain i hear quite a lot from many white people when it comes to issues of reconciliation and marches and freedom and South Africa:

Can we just please stop saying it’s about race?

So i thought let’s give that a try. And the way i want to do that is by telling a few stories. Now try and not get distracted by the kind of message you think i want to suggest with each story. First read it and respond just as a story. And then we’ll examine the responses. Continue reading

craig

Yesterday at the Cape Town #ZumaMustFall march, my friend Craig Stewart, who helps lead the Warehouse in Wetton, gave an excellent speech and here, with his permission, is the transcript of what he said, along with the video link if you would like to see him saying it:

This is the draft of a speech I gave at a Unite Against Corruption event in the Company Gardens on Dec 16 2015. The gathering was in response to the actions of President Zuma over the past two weeks and many of the people there had organised around #Zumamustfall. I do think President Zuma is a dangerous liability for SA but the tone of much of the conversation around this has been racist.

Continue reading

‘My dad always used to say, “Fight fire with fire” which is why he got thrown out of the fire brigade.’ [Harry Hill]

Yesterday, i posted this as my status on Facebook:

What is happening with the fires sweeping across Cape Town is a tragedy and worth attention, mobilisation and investment and it’s been incredible watching Cape Town rise to the occasion. i think it is also important to reflect, even for just a minute, on what our response has been on numerous occasions in the past where serious shack settlement fires have happened and many have been killed, because the fact that they seem very different, i feel, has a lot to say to us about us. [Not talking either/or, but both/and]. Discuss.

Naturally the internet exploded [well, not quite, but we did get some lively discussion going and one unfriend and some Taylor Swift therapy followed]:

Shortly after that we attended the Ron Sider meeting at the Warehouse that i shared some thoughts from yesterday and bumped into my friend Craig Stewart [who runs the Warehouse] and he was just about to jump on and share some thoughts on my status. But instead, he offered them to me to stick up here and this is an incredibly helpful perspective.

craig

Brett and a few other friends of mine posted comments over the last few days expressing frustration at the apparent disconnect, on social media at least, between the responses of people in Cape Town to the current fires blazing all around us and the regular fires that destroy homes, livelihoods and people a few times a month each summer in Cape Town.

Whilst I recognise the tension I haven’t found myself particularly affected by it. This is even though I consider myself someone who cares pretty passionately about people who are poor and the historic and current injustices of our country.

This is partially because I think there may well be a false equivalency between the fires but its also because I’ve been involved over the last couple of years in a city wide church based disaster response network under the banner of the Consultation of Christian Churches in Cape Town. In this role I’ve engaged with all of the larger fire disasters in the City over the last few years and a fair number of other ones. In each case there was a good response, even sometimes an overwhelming response.

For the most part the fire department, disaster management and civil society respond well and effectively to these fires and the crises are addressed quickly and effectively.

As is the case with mountain fires often the societal response is more rooted in what we think is needed rather than what is actually needed and that can create problems of its own. Just ask the Cape Town fire department about the huge amounts of donated clothing lying in warehouse because it can’t be used anywhere.

But my experience is that for significant fires and floods affecting people across this city, the people of this city are willing to sacrificially work and donate to resolve the crisis. But then we get on with our lives and forget about the every day disasters of people’s daily lives in this city. Once we’ve got people back to the awful reality of day to day life we move on.

The problem of course is that for a disaster response to be effective it should be rapid, appropriate and short lived but the disaster of everyday life is going to take much more than that. What would it take for us to sustain a sacrificial, coordinated, all hands on deck effort over the next few decades that would see us dramatically change the face of this city and nation?

In moments of disaster we put aside expectations, entitlements and comforts and we stare the situation in the face and deal with it. Our current reality will require such an effort but we will need to sustain it.

When a fynbos mountain burns it is part of the cycle of life of that mountain. And the burning itself initiates growth and sprouting and life that has being lying dormant for many years. Life will explode across the mountains over the next few months. We need a fire like that to burn through this city – a justice revival fire perhaps.

%d bloggers like this: