Tag Archive: jacob zuma


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

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blackandwhite

So, the other day i tried to take a few steps back in this ongoing Race and Reconciliation conversation we’ve been having over here with this post trying to see if we could all agree that the incredibly out-of-proportion extreme gap between rich and poor in our country [and the world at large] is not okay.

Most people stayed away from engaging at all [maybe it’s cos of the busy time of the year, but questions like that also suggest follow-up questions and if those are engaged with deeply enough then there could be a cost involved so safer to just stay out of it for sure] but those who did largely agreed that we could start at that point, and then there were a number of, ‘Yes, but…’s, which should probably be filed as ‘No’ because the question was, ‘Can we all agree that this is not okay?’

So the next question becomes that of race, with some people emphatically suggesting that the problems in South Africa are economic or socio-economic class problems and not race related.

i beg to differ.

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY IN SOUTH AFRICA IS STILL A RACE THING

Wait, but you said, i thought, that economic inequality in South Africa is not a race thing?

Well, yes and no. i typically don’t believe that economic inequality in and of itself is a race thing, and i do believe that South Africa is moving more towards a time and a place [although this is going to take a while still] where the issues become more economic and socio-economic than race…

BUT, because of the history of apartheid and the debilitating and damaging effect it had on so many people, and the lingering consequences thereof, the wealthy in our country for the most part continue to be white and the poor continue to be black [and completely realise there are coloured and indian as well as asian and other-african stories that make up this equation as well and am eager to hear from people who can adequately represent those stories] and so at the moment it remains a race thing.

As one of the young leaders said to me on our recent trip to Robben Island, Mandela helped bring the people of South Africa over the bridge of Reconciliation, but he didn’t bring the economy over that bridge. A great injustice was done to a huge percentage of the people in our country and while we can all be friends now [to simplify it completely], that doesn’t mean that there is not some outstanding justice to be done.

THE ‘HOW’ OF TRUE RESTITUTION AND REPARATION IS THE GHOST CALLING OUT TO US

If you steal a car from someone and they catch you and you say that you are sorry, then there may be a way for that person to forgive you and to refuse to press charges. But you have to give the car back.

This seems to be the point a lot of white people i know are stumbling over. We get that apartheid was bad. We are really sorry and we hope that you can forgive us. But we would like to keep the car.

Now, what i think makes it tricky, is that land was stolen a generation or two ago. Figuring out who took what from whom and trying to get it back to them feels like a ridiculously complicated thing. i have spoken to a small number of black people who feel very strongly about this issue, but am yet to find someone who has some kind of practical solution.

i imagine even those who would go the more extreme route and take the land using violent means, practically would not easily be able to say how that works in terms of who gets what.

So that does seem to be a very big and daunting HOW. But that doesn’t mean that we can simply just shrug it off and “Let bygones be bygones. That is an easier thing to feel and say when you are now the one with the car.

mandela

Yes? So please hear me loud and clear on this one when i say i have more questions than answers. i don’t know how this all plays out well. The issue definitely seems to be blurred or obstacled by the mess that is Nkandla and corrupt government officials seemingly wasting a whole lot of taxpayers money on a lot of occasions and the corruption that exists at the top. But i don’t think that is directly related to the issue at hand and if we raise that, then i feel like we are missing some of the conversations and actions that need to happen.

i would love to hear your thoughts on this:

[1] Comment on my statement that while we are heading towards a time when the issues are more socio-economically defined, at the moment at least, there is still a huge amount of race-relatedness to that conversation [as the way our system is divided socio-economically is still so much related to race issues past]

[2] Your ideas concerning reparation and restitution – Do you think we have done all that is necessary with regards to our apartheid past and we all need to just move on and make the best of a bad situation? Or do you feel, like me, that there is still some work to be done in terms of economically making amends for some of the travesties that were committed.

[3] Play nice. The moment you make it personal, you lose your audience. You can be passionate and respectful.

[For other South Africa related posts and conversations, click here]

two days ago my bossman Darin told me about this story where a dad had picked up his young kid in the laundromat and stuffed him in a washing machine and closed the door [presumably as a joke or to teach him a lesson] but once the door locked the washing machine jumped into life and they couldn’t stop it or get him out until someone who worked at the place ran up and unplugged it and eventually managed to save the child. The child was apparently mostly fine [except maybe for the trauma suffered by your dad almost killing you in a washing machine]…

then yesterday i was at the gym, running on the treadmill in front of a wall of tvs and the incident came on two different channels which were showing news. sure enough the dad stuffed the kid into the machine and it suddenly starts and both parents frenetically try to stop the machine and the guy comes and stops it. it happened just as i had been told, except one thing really took me by surprise.

i decided to test out my theory on two people as we walked to the office yesterday and so i mentioned that i had seen the story on the tv and asked what colour the parents were. without hesitation they both answered “white” which is exactly what i had imagined. only thing is i had been wrong. what surprised me about the video was that it looked like a so-called african-american family [athough definitely a family of colour] and what surprised me was that in my head only a white family would be stupid enough to do something like that.

does that make me racist? it definitely would if it had gone the other way… but that made me think along with a lot of this Brett Murray ‘The Spear’ painting stuff that has been going on in South Africa and this amazing article which called a lot of it for what it was.

Four lines from that article carry the heart of where this whole racism-calling thing has gotten a little bit out of control:

I’m not shouting at you because you’re black, I’m shouting because you’re a maniac on the roads who is a danger to society.

I’m not complaining to your manager because you’re black. I’m complaining because you’re an incompetent moron who is incapable of doing her job properly.

I’m not firing you because you’re black. I’m firing you because you’re a thief.

I’m not confronting you because your black, I’m shouting at you because you’re a messy pig who expects other people to clean up your mess.

Each of those incidents [maniac on road, incompetent at job, thief, litterer] if they had occurred with someone of the same race calling out someone of the same race it would have been an incident of whatever is in brackets [parenthesis to the americanese] but because it was a white person calling a black person that [and i’m guessing vice versa] it suddenly becomes a race thing.

there is a lot more to say on this issue but hopefully this incident has at least got people thinking about it. are stereotypes racism or do they exist, much like cliches, because they are true a lot of the time? and while it is unfair to generalise with a stereotype or cliche and judge everyone as that thing, it is maybe not necessarily racist to be aware of or mention them.

i don’t think it was a big deal that i assumed the washing machine dad was white. i think it just was what it was. we could progress a lot further in this world, life, country if we started looking a lot more at what is as opposed to what could be suggested/read into/taken as…

your thoughts?

[late add: found out today that it was a babysitter and her boyfriend and not the kids parents who put the baby into the machine – story is here]

THE SETUP

so i have been thinking about this quite a lot lately, especially after i received a mail immediately after my last you-got-to-be-kidding-malema post from my friend mel lovingly rebuking me or at the very least challenging me on my bash-the-leader stance [if the Bible says respect and pray for your leaders who God has putten over you…] which was really great and a whole thort in itself

[the confrontation from Mel i mean, which was completely done in love and although not necessarily what i wanted to hear – who likes to hear ‘you are the man!’ statements about being out of line – very definitely largely, if not completely, correct. Imagine if the whole church took her role of rebuke-in-love seriously, how much chaos – and some included in the role players of this note – would be avoided]

I don’t really know the answer. There are definitely some principles. And some verses from the Bible that confuse me. And so i am trying to make sense of it all. Hoping my theologically minded original-greek-of-the-word ‘flatulatolos’ friends will throw in some light (cough Sean du Toit cough!)

So here are the situations – president of the country Jacob Zuma who i believe has made some outlandish and potentially dangerous statements (both in word and action) especially with regards to Aids (as previous head of some Aids forum he stated during one scandal that he had a shower after having sex to prevent himself from getting Aids) in terms of the man-in-the-street seeing that and thinking it is truth (so potentially life threatening)

Julius Malema, head of the ANC Youth League who is in the newspapers almost daily for some or other next scandal (the latest which was allegedly – i say ‘allegedly’ because the ANC denied he sang the song after explaining why it was okay that he sang the song and despite a reporter having it on tape – singing a song containing the phrase “kill the boers, they are rapists” followed by a few unrelated incidents in the news of Afrikaans farmers – boers – being killed on their farms)

Then there are two Christian leaders – Ray Macauley and Bennie Hinn who are both very public figures with huge public ministries who apparently are both getting divorced (Ray for the second time and Bennie Hinn after apparently stating in an interview that nothing gets in the way of his ministry, not his family etc.)

THE SCRIPTURE

And here are some verses i could find (in the original English translation of the original Greek):

‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake, to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.’ 1 Peter 2.13-15

‘Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith… Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage for you.’ Hebrews 13.7, 17

‘Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.’ Titus 3.1-2

‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so bring judgement on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. … therefore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect, if honour, then honour.’ Romans 13.1-7

‘Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two of three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.’ 1 Timothy 5.19-20

THE DILEMMA AND SOME SCATTERED THORTS

I’m pretty sure there is another verse somewhere saying we should pray for our leaders and i know i don’t do that enough or maybe at all, often cos i’m too busy shaking my head at them or rolling my eyes. And that is not good in itself. Maybe it’s true that you get the leaders you pray for. Cos i would imagine there are probably more Christians poking fun at JZ and Malema than praying for them… or i could just be the only one. So definitely a place i need to start.

My biggest dilemma is not thinking they are worthy of respect, but then i’m not sure the Bible gives us freedom to make that call and so maybe obedience to God is a sense of being respectful and honouring despite it not being earned?

The Hebrews passage at least i would assume is speaking about spiritual leaders and it does speak about considering the outcome of their way of life and as men who must give account. Both Ray and Bennie are definitely going to be held accountable to God one day (as am I, and you!) but i do think there is a certain need for accountability to take place while here and occupying positions of authority in leadership – and there are some pretty strict guidelines for how elders and deacons ought to be and also on the topic of marriage and divorce – and so i’m not sure there is not the space to stand before them like Nathan the prophet to David and proclaim ‘you are the man’ (um and go read 2 Samuel 12 cos i’m not talking about modern day usage of the phrase ‘you’re da man!’ but the time when Nathan rebukes the king.)

I think in terms of Zuma and Malema there has to be some kind of holding to account as well – as both of them have made statements that i think could cause serious injury to people either by example or by insinuation or role-modelling and there has to be a place for us to speak into that and cast the question (and whereas i may never get a forum to publically challenge either of them on their stuff that doesn’t necessarily mean that us gossiping about it in cell is the best way either – so it can be addressed and even preached upon perhaps, but we have to be so careful of bringing it to light from a place of arrogance or pride or selfrighteousness)

There is a lot more stuff here but this is getting long and i just wanted to provoke your thorts and mine so let’s try wrap it up a little:

SOME MORE SCRIPTURES

‘Woe to you, teachers of the law, you hypocrites!… Woe to you, blind guides… Blind Pharisee… You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean… You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?…’ [Jesus to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Matthew 23]

So Mathew 23 has this passage where Jesus just lets rip at the spiritual leaders of His day and it must be okay for Jesus was without sin. So one of the principles in this dilemma is possibly that respect/honour your leaders does not mean that there is never a time to call them on stuff (and this was a public exchange i imagine!) when led by God. And that is some pretty strong language Jesus uses. John the Baptist was put into prison for (publically?) accusing Herod (political leader) of outlandish sin.

And so my point is there may be a time or a place with political and spiritual leaders for us to call them on stuff but it has to be very much led by the Holy Spirit and we have to be completely in touch with God’s heart in the matter. But I think a good place is to look at what is written directly after the Romans passage i quoted earlier:

‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.’ Romans 13.8

Greatest commandment? Love God, love people (Matthew 22) and when i was chatting to tbV about this last nite that is one of the things that came out strongly. What is the fruit of our conversation when we are discussing these things – with each other? Publically on blogs and wall notes? Is it being motivated by love for the person or even the audience/followers of the person or is it simply us trying to get a laugh or working from our place of pride/self-righteousness/smugness/gossip/slander?

The bottom line for me is i definitely need to be praying more for my leaders, both politically and in terms of those who lead spiritually. How can i expect them to have a hope of leading effectively if i haven’t at least got their back. They will all stand before God one day and they will be accountable to Him for every single thing they have done or failed to do. I will stand before God and explain to Him why mocking/pointing/laughing/sharing-for-prayering etc was more important than getting behind, uplifting, praying for, encouraging…

hm, okay this is so soon after my ‘learn something new about jacob zuma so i can maybe see him as a person’ post but after the last few days (building on the last year) wow i just struggle with Julius Malema and maybe need to meet up with his mom or close friend or something because he… like really? REALLY? like… ghah!

i don’t understand why the ANC tolerate him – to be honest i am not the most aware in the sphere of politics – i try stay informed of the news and what’s happening daily around the country and worldwide but only really the basic headlines and such so there is a lot i don’t know

but with mal-enema (speling?) i just don’t get it – the latest one is him defending Jacob Zuma (just fathered illegitimate child shortly before his 5th? wedding) by saying that he is untouchable because he is our father – so by his reasoning Jacob Zuma could walk around with an axe killing babies and it would be okay because you can’t question him – the fact that he holds tightly onto the concept of anyone being ‘above the law’ is incredibly concerning

but shtupidt statement after stupid statement and then following it with actions – he was in three different stories on the radio news this morning and i just don’t get why he gets to stay where he is doing what he is doing – is he our next president? i thort there was no way Zuma would get in after all the allegations and court cases and so on, but the fact that he did tells me Julius could really be next

but then if you see his role models, maybe it’s understandable – iafrica.com reports:

“Why should a relationship between two adults be made an issue?” ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu asked in a statement. “Why should it make headlines? Why is it characterised by some media as a ‘Shame to the nation’?”.

“There is nothing wrong that the president has done. There is nothing ‘shameful’ when two adults have a relationship,” he said.

[http://news.iafrica.com/politics/news/2043881.htm]

if that is the ‘moral’ standard being shown by the leader and ruling party of this country then the young people of this nation are in trouble – who will fight for the relationships in South Africa? who will be role models for young people and teach them what true love is all about? who will lift up the standard of marriage which is an incredible incredible thing when done properly and with the right person…

i’m in. pick me.

so i read in the newspaper today before church (stocking up on caffeine and chocolate crouissant at the bp) that Jacob Zuma (our president) has fathered another child.

i never used to like Zuma. i heard a lot of bad things about him and saw him involved in some criminal cases with various accusations and he made some infamously bad statements about showering preventing AIDS (after being head of some AIDS council or something) and so i didn’t have a positive opinion

then i found out that my girlfriend (now wife, the beautiful Val) was friends with one of Zuma’s children and i met them and they were a really cool personage and so the one day i emailed them on Facebook and asked them to tell me one nice thing about their dad (cos i only had the bad stuff so what is one thing you really like about your dad that no-one else would know) – and they told me a thing – and it was a cool thing related to him being a family man and really vibing with the family

and it was cool to view someone i didn’t think much of  (an opinion mostly formed by what i’d read or seen in the media) from someone who loved them’s perspective

and it made me think yesterday that even Hitler must have had a mom – probably Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden have friends or family members who dig them and spent some good times with them – serial killer Charles Manson had a girl at college who had a crush on him, that kind of thing

something somewhere along the line went wrong i would imagine – and maybe it was early on – but no-one is born inherently completely irredeemably evil – horrible upbringing or traumatic boarding school experience or some kind of abuse or lack of parent or something and the wrong path is chosen

it makes me want to be a little more aware of the young people i am working with at church and through camps and just everyone i come into contact with – because i would imagine on the flipside that people like Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa and Gandhi and Bono and, i dunno, whoever the turned-out-pretty-well people of the world are, had an upbringing where something went right

maybe i can be that thing. maybe you can.

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