Tag Archive: justice


justice

i really enjoyed reading this book by John Perkins recently. Despite being about his experiences in Americaland i found that so much of it resonated with the present conversations happening in South Africa. The passage i posted on Why Do You Live Where You Live? gave much food for thought and there are some other pieces i would love to share, but as always, you will do much better if you just make some effort and get hold of the book. But in the meantime:

ECONOMIC SYSTEMS

[From chapter 17: Can Free Enterprise Work for us?]

‘What kind of economic system is the most Christian? To many the answer seems self-evident – free enterprise.

I would like to agree. I enjoy the opportunity free enterprise offers me. But I cannot agree fully. Along with its advantages, free enterprise is handicapped by a serious flaw – man’s greed. Both biblical history and American history remind us repeatedly that greedy men will use economic freedom to exploit – to profit at the expense of others. Employers pay employees as little as possible in order to maximise their own profits rather than treating their employee’s economic interests as being as important as their own – or, to be thoroughly Christian – more important than their own.

Advertisers create markets for products which no one needs, not from a motive of servanthood, but out of greed, pure and simple. Businesses measure their success primarily but their financial profits – not by how well they glorify God and serve people. What a far cry we are from a truly Christian economy!

A truly Christian economic system would begin with the fact that the earth is the Lord’s, not ours, and that God and God alone has the authority to determine how His wealth will be used. Our job as stewards is to carry out His will. A Christian economic system would recognise that God provides the earth’s resources for all mankind, not just for some. It would be designed to distribute God’s resources to all humanity in some sort of equitable way.

Free enterprise, as it now exists, falls far short of God’s standard. It has failed to distribute the earth’s resources equitably. And when Christianity should have been calling the American free enterprise system into account for its immoral stewardship, it was instead “baptising” the system, adopting free enterprise as an implicit “article of faith.” Free enterprise has become almost a religious doctrine that justifies our greed and substitutes token charity for real economic justice. It enables us to blame the victims of oppression for their own poverty and lets us feel little responsibility to redistribute our wealth to the needy. The result of such a system is predictable – increasing production by the rich, but continuing poverty for the oppressed.

Communism, then, came along as an attempt to distribute the earth’s resources more equitably. Communism sprang into being because apostate religion could not challenge man’s greed. But atheistic communism has not brought justice either.

Neither capitalism nor communism can bring justice to the poor. Once we have seen what God’s Word means by economic justice, that is self-evident. While some economic systems are better than others, no system will serve the people well as long as those who control it are motivated by greed. We as Christians must champion an alternative. We must create a system that is based not on greed, not even on greed tempered by honesty (the ideal of free enterprise), but on justice and love. We must create a system that distributes wealth more equitably in response to human needs. This Christian economic system will by its very existence be a prophetic voice to the world system.

Selfish, unregenerated man will never develop this type of system. We, the people of god, must do it or it will never be done at all.

How do we begin to shape a just economy?

First, we must understand where our economy stands now. When man has abused his economic freedom, using it to produce an unjust distribution of resources, corrective action is called for. The economic plight of American blacks today has its roots in slavery and is the very center of oppression which followed emancipation. It is like a baseball game. In the ninth inning the team which is trailing 20 to 2 discovers that the winning team has been cheating all along. The leading team admits, “Yes, we were cheating, but we’ll play fair now. Let’s go out and finish the game.”

Now it’s good that the team is going to quit cheating, but with the score 20 to 2 the trailing team still has the feeling they’re going to lose. When injustice has been done, establishing justice means something more than “playing fair from now on.” 

In America [read ‘South Africa’ – brett] today, one group has the capital, the other has the labour and the broken spirit. We say to the trailing team, “Get onto the field and play. You are now equal. You don’t need affirmative action. You don’t need special access to job training. You don’t need any kind of special help; that would be reverse discrimination. You are now equal and free.”

Achieving justice in America [read ‘South Africa’ – brett] will require something more than “playing fair from now on.” Economic opportunity in capitalism depends on ownership of capital. The free enterprise system assumes that anyone can have access to capital through his labour and that banks and lending institutions will make investment capital available to anyone who has the will and the know-how to produce goods and services for the marketplace. There is only one problem with that assumption – it’s not true.

The oppressed among us know too well that the oppressive forces which created their poverty in the first place keep them trapped in it. The young black electrician, having never had an opportunity to establish a credit rating, finds it almost impossible to raise the capital to buy the tools and equipment to go into business for himself. The general rule is , “To get capital , you must have capital,” and so the system perpetuates and widens the gap between rich and poor.

Despite its serious failures I don’t want to throw out the free enterprise system. The freedom which many use to satisfy their greed can also be used to develop economic enterprises not based on greed. The free enterprise system gives us the freedom to create businesses designed to serve, rather than to exploit. If we Christians will devote our capital and ourselves to creating such a system, we can make just such a system work. And it can all be done within the context of free enterprise.

[To read the piece John wrote on Relocation, click here] 

My lovely wife Val was of course the hostess for Friday's dinner and deep dive into Race, Boundary and Location conversation that i wrote about over here, and she shares some of her thoughts from the evening:

booklaunchvovotelohotwoman
The idea is simple: gather good people around good food and good discussion and see what happens. So we did. We turned off technology and tuned in to people. It was messy and it was chaotic, it was painful and it was personal and it was powerful. It was raw and it was redemptive. Some of us ate spaghetti with a spoon cos we ran out of cutlery. We sat on the floor and on stools and really close to each other – three people thigh to thigh on a chair made for two. We talked and told stories, argued and challenged, wrestled and sat in silence – the good kind and the uncomfortable kind. We left with heads and hearts aching, but full.

Here’s some of what I learnt:

1. White privilege is less about access to “stuff” and more about access to choices or, in Sen’s theorizing, capabilities – the real opportunities of being and doing available to attain well-being. Here’s an example: consider a priest who is fasting and a man in a famine-stricken country who is starving. The key element in determining a person’s well-being here is not whether both are experiencing hunger, but whether the person has access to food and is choosing not to eat. The functioning is starving but the capability to obtain an adequate amount of food is the key element in evaluating well-being between these two individuals. Having a lifestyle is not the same as choosing it; well-being depends on how that lifestyle came to be.

Here’s another example. Consider a bike as a commodity which enables the functioning of mobility. Personal, social and environmental conversion factors impact an individual’s ability to convert the commodity (the bike) into functioning (getting from A to B).  If a person is physically disabled, never learnt to ride a bike, if women are not allowed to ride bikes, or if there are no roads, then a person’s capacity to convert the potential of the bike into movement is limited. It’s not enough to give someone a bike if they don’t have the ability, the capacity, the enabling conditions to ride it in a way that moves them forward (or if they don’t have access to a pump, if they cannot take the bike out without being physically threatened by a mugging, etc)

2. In a post-industrial/post-agricultural world, we believe that we too are living in the Information Age, where the primary means of production is Knowledge and the accumulation of knowledge (i.e. education) is the means by which individuals access livelihood, opportunity, resource, jobs etc. I simply don’t believe this is true in South Africa. I wonder if perhaps we are actually in the Age of Connection. Knowledge might be power, but it’s less about what you know and more about who you know. The primary means of production might be Social Capital – the contacts and connections which enable us to network, navigate and negotiate the economic landscape. Perhaps education is the capability, but the functioning is all about social capital – it’s the people we know, the professional contacts, the personal networks that enable us to actualize opportunity. White privilege is at its core all about social capital.

3. While I can sympathize with the pain and anger of black friends, I don’t think I can actually empathize. I can show compassion for, seek to understand, commiserate with, experience anger on behalf of but I can never really experience “from within another’s frame of reference”. As one of our guests so rightly pointed out “We do not and cannot experience EQUAL frustration. You had a choice.”

4. I need to shut up more. Perhaps one of our greatest failings as white people in South Africa is our inability to sit in silence. When we listen to the voices of our black brothers/sisters expressing pain, anger, frustration, or simply sharing their experience, we want to immediately question, clarify, push-back, argue, dissect, debate, wrestle, show the other side, point out the discrepancies or inconsistencies, locate within the “larger picture”, propose solutions, and find “action steps”. We don’t know how to sit – just SIT – with a rage that fills a room, sucks all the air from it, and leaves our friends shaking. We have ears but do not hear, and eyes but do not see.

5. Reconciliation is not the path towards Justice but rather Justice is the path towards Reconciliation. Until and unless Justice has been enacted we can not experience right relationship. (Thanks, Nkosi!)

[To read more reflections from the other guests, click here]

[For more from tbV, like this piece explaining her tattoo, click here]

The other day i wrote a poem titled ‘to them who have ears’ and just thinking about it a little more today,  have dubbed it a choir poem – as in those who get what it’s about and who agree will totally be reading and nodding and cheering and liking and sharing… but those who don’t, are unlikely to even read it and if they somehow do, unlikely to understand the point trying to be made…

So i thought i would try this again in a more direct approach, realising that for the most part blog posts tend to go the way of metaphorical word pieces in that you tend to attract those who agree and distance those who disagree… which feels somewhat pointless in terms of how are you ever going to affect people who need to be affected and where will you find healthy debate from people who think differently from you who can help you challenge and test your own ideas… i guess there is the hope that there are some who think differently who are trying to challenge and check their own ideas as much as i am trying to with mine and so maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle…

The main point of the poem for me was to question why so many white people [and it has been largely white people because of the nature of the posts i have been sharing on race and reconciliation and privilege so has largely been addressed to us] disengage from the conversations around race/white privilege/restitution etc before seeming to really take a moment to listen and hear where the other person is coming from. My problem is not so much that there is disagreement, but that phrases like ‘white privilege’ seem to be like red cloths waved in front of a raging bull… and so excuses, denials, “But what about…”, “Reverse Racism”, “Not all white people…” and more are immediately thrown in, usually breaking up the conversation before it begins.

RESPONSE OVER REACTION

When it comes to conversations on race and other issues in South Africa, i would love to see people choosing to respond over simply reacting. The idea of a reaction is that it is usually a gut knee-jerk response [with the emphasis not on knee] whereas a response tends to include time for listening, thought, inner wrestling and composed feedback. This is something we could do a lot better as South Africans, or maybe just Facebookers and Bloggerists in general.

Take something like ‘White Privilege’ for example – i wrote some thoughts about this in a post titled ‘i’m not sure you’re against that thing you’re against’ simply because i believe the word has certain baggage which triggers a reaction, whereas if those who typically respond to seeing the words ‘white privilege’ by running/throwing/emoting could just take a deep breathe and listen and really hear what is being said/suggested, i think a lot more of them would agree. Take this picture for example:

equalityi imagine most people would agree with this, right? If you see this and disagree then i would love to know why. Unless of course you would label the whole thing as Injustice simply by the very fact of it depicting three people who are watching a game for free without buying tickets, but that is kinda missing the point.

The point of the picture is that the tall guy starts off with an advantage whereas the short guy starts off at a disadvantage. Which means that if they are all treated equally, the short guys still ends up disadvantaged.

Whereas if the one who was most disadvantaged, is given the biggest assistance, there is a way for them to all end up with a level playing field, enjoying the same advantage.

Anyone have a problem with that? Because as far as i understand it, that IS the explanation of White Privilege.

There are certain advantages we start off with in this world [For me being white has some, being male in a largely patriarchally influenced society has others, being heterosexual and right-handed and able-bodied even more so] which doesn’t mean that i have to feel guilty for any of those things i start off with, but it does mean, that for the world to be more fair and balanced and equal, that certain boxes, boosts, advantages will be needed to be given to people of colour, women etc to give them the same opportunities that i have.

You with me? This feels so easy when it is broken down like this.

So i am not talking about white guilt or about hating white people [i get that one a lot!]. i am talking about the need to listen to and really hear from anyone who does not start off with the advantages i have started off with, to find out how best we can together work so that the field is more level for them. Collaboration is key. There may be some sacrifice involved and some loss of comfort or actively working against some of the privilege i have [so BEE being an example of this, realising that at times it really hasn’t been done well and at times it really has been helpful]

How about it South Africa? You ready to slow things down a little and really start listening and engaging and working together on making this relationally the beautiful country it is naturally?

Let’s do this…

[For some thoughts and ideas from a variety of South Africans as to how we can move forward, click here]

‘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.

Avuyile

A rendition from the heart:

Wouldn’t it be great to wake up one day and see everyone living at peace with each other?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful that no one harboured feelings of resentment and injustice with the other instead we stand side by side as brothers? I yearn and hunger for a South Africa of equality in life and in living standards. I long for a land where the needs of the majority are taken care of, a land where the people do share in its wealth.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to live in a country whereby the people speak in the same voice and do things together? Where prejudices and preconceived ideas that have distorted and bruised any self-pride of the other.

Oh what a sight to behold, a land where equality reigns forever. This is 2015, a new year, a symbol of fresh beginnings, a chance to carve out a path never beaten before. Is it so hard to get out of your comfort zones to learn and to understand other races, other people and their ways? This is an opportunity to make new strides in achieving equity and a better life for all. This is a chance for all that inhabit this beautiful and precious land of South Africa, in fact the whole continent of Mother Africa to break away from the yokes and institutions left behind by their colonial masters.

This is the year whereby the rest of the world stood and watched how this beautiful land of ours stood and did what is indigenous to it. Where we do things our own way, the best way we know how. A precious moment to conform to our own standards, to things that are true to the African cause and our way of life, where we endorse systems that will emancipate, elevate and alleviate any poverty within our communities.

I yearn for a South Africa that alienates and nips out any form of racism and prejudice. Can we vow and decree to part take in this journey to a better South Africa for all not living under this farce that we are in a democracy? I yearn for a country where the value of women is recognised, the impact and the role they play in our society. A country that protects and rears their children with love, warmth and comfort, good morals and values and most importantly their culture.

It would be beautiful and pleasant to live in a country without any barriers and boundaries left behind by the institution of apartheid. How long do we continue to live in despairing and inhumane conditions? How long must we witness our own people suffer and be demoralised as we currently have?

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “South Africa is a country alive with many possibilities”, I truly believe it is, however, if only do what is right and for the benefit of the people. If we face our demons, if we are only brave enough to stand against the very things that bring pain to us, things that will make us vulnerable only to leave us in a better place. Hey South Africa, wouldn’t it be great where we live by our own systems, systems that will benefit the majority of the country. Where corruption has no place in our society, where crime is rooted out. A country where the value of a man is placed higher than maximising profit.

I dream of the day where the fall of the barriers of skin shall reign supreme and our beautiful country is a country for all. Let’s start 2015 in a positive way, let’s start the year gunning for change.

[To see what Rebecca Benn would say to South Africa, click here]

During our weekend at Robben Island, there were many moments or phrases that stood out in terms of being quick “Aha!” flashes of inspiration and here are some of the ones i captured:

“Man’s potential for justice makes democracy possibly

Man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

[Njongonkulu Ndungane]

justice

# “The Church is so silent these days. The voice of the church is very important. The voice of the youth is very important. God’s word of justice must be heard – Scripture is full of this.” [Njongonkulu Ndungane]

cross

# Luke 9.23 reminds us that we need to take up our cross daily.

# Don’t die for your cross

# Identify it

# Then pray for grace to carry it 

[John Rollins]

# Prayer is standing naked before God. [Henri Nouwen]

# A reminder of the assurance that the God who calls is the God who equips.

3 Issues with Church: # Lack of Leadership # Lost Voice # Forgotten Role

On the topic of White Privilege which i’ve been writing so much about:

[1] A reminder to view my privilege as an opportunity to share privilege. Sometimes being a person of privilege means that certain people will listen to your voice and give it credibility whereas other voices they might more easily ignore. That is one area where i need to be aware of my privilege so that i can use it well.

[2] A story one of the guy’s on the weekend told me about having to take public transport to get to the Waterfront to be able to go to Robben Island with us. How he had to budget an extra hour for this which was fine but annoying. And then the realisation he had that most people in this country [especially the poor and marginalised] have to rely on public transport. Another aspect of the privilege i find myself with is the ability to jump into my car to go somewhere i want to. Most people can’t [which is very different from “most people i know can” and so it doesn’t feel like a real thing]

Possibly the most profound statement to me from that weekend, came from my new friend, Nkosi, who reminded me, as a black man, that, “It was not only the blacks that lost at that time [apartheid], we all lost.” Which is probably a whole other post in itself.

Any of these one liners or reflections stand out for you particularly or give you something to reflect on?

Let us know in the comment section…

[For the last part with some reflections on some highlights of my Robben Island time, click here]

My good friend, Linda Martindale introduced me to a friend of hers, Nkosivumile Gola at the TRC Re-Enactment meetings we both went to a week or so ago in Stellenbosch. When i heard that Nkosi had a blog i immediately asked him if he would consider writing a piece for mine.

Not to give him an easy ride, i posed this topic to him – the fact that for white people who do want to make a difference in South Africa [and there are many who are generally seeking to ‘get it right’] the task can often seem so overwhelming. And so yes we need to look at restitution and reparation and especially in terms of land and economy disparity, but where do we start? Are there some first steps towards helping becoming part of a truly new and more equally balanced South Africa?

Meet my new friend, Nkosivumile Gola, and this is his response:

nkosi

Baby steps towards a really new South Afrika

This is the most difficult question for me as it is also very important. The difficulty in this question arises from the fact that there are many acts which the white people have done yet the condition of the black people remains the same. Also my fear and difficulty of this question arises from the fact that justice in South Afrika has been limited into a voluntary act which is totally a divorced and disbanded idea when reflecting it to the actual history of South Afrika. According to our history during the apartheid days whites were beneficiaries not because they supported apartheid or not but because they were white but today justice is thought to be voluntary act meaning those who want to live just may do and those who don’t feel like don’t have to, that is a problem and will not solve the problem. This voluntary justice triggers a situation where elitation amongst black people occurs, a situation where a certain number of people are turned into elites amongst many that are brutalised by the system. This voluntary justice causes a situation whereby the black people have no choice but to live through the white people’s shame, guilt and mercy. Now all the shame, guilt and mercy of the white people will never equal the cry and brutalisation of the black people. The emotional state of the white people will never bring about the change required in South Afrika where we can then begin to talk about equal opportunities. Justice should not be a voluntary act but it is something that should be done both by those willing and those who are not willing, justice should be done on the bases that it is right not because it works (in our eyes) or not, not because it pleases, tickles and or even bruising. Now my aim here is to try and avoid the re-occurrence of what has happened before.  

Build relationships

Now coming on what is it that the whites should do to (catalyse) the process of reconciliation in our country. I think it is of high importance that whites build these relationships with the black people and they must understand that by building these relationships with “particular” black people they are not doing anything to the overall pain of the black people. The black people are united by the wound which means we can only define them in plural form now there is no way that we can define them in a singular form. This means that when we dealing with the pain of the black people there is no black person as an individual but a black person as a unit. Though the black people are made up of individuals but singling them out of the unifying wound is a crime. Having white friends myself but my heart is rooted to the overall wounded black person. My heart remains loyal to that wound, I will remain nursing the black wound and if our friendship leads us into forgetting of this wound then it is of no help and we better understand there is no friendship in that. I love Biko’s definition of black; ”blacks are those who are by law or tradition politically, economically and socially discriminated against as a group in the South African society and identifying themselves as a unit in the struggle towards the realization of their aspirations”.

These relationships should be based on conversations about the past the present and the visions about the future. Conversation is a crucial part of the solution but only if it does not lead to liberalism (ignorance), meaning now these relationships should be the means to sharpen the black radical activism. I am aware of many white friendships that have led to radical black ignorance and I think this is one of the greatest injustices. Now conversations about the past are crucial as they are the ones that will inform why the present is in this fashion and they will bring about the possible solutions of the future. These conversations should be based on how does the continued white injustice in South Afrika play part in the present suffering of the black person and in that also informing that talking about white injustice is not the incitation of violence but a way to eradicate violence. Intentional Prayers also should be the crucial and the foundational part of these conversations. I then believe that these kind of relationships are healthy relationships as they are intentional about a better South Afrika. 

Activism amongst fellow whites

Amongst many whites themselves I don’t think there is a necessary voice to instigate the bringing about of the required change in South Afrika. I think 1994 have closed the door of the white people by reconciling the white people with the stolen and blood privilege. I think they need a revival of their conscience and there is no one who can do that better well than their own people. I don’t understand white people at times as they would be more concerned about rhino poaching, global warming and panda bear whatever yet they are so quite about the animalisation and thingification of the black people and we truly need a voice against that. White people needs resurrection of their conscience so that what they have seen as normal for years they would now see it as abnormal and inhuman and I think this white voice will be of great help against such. I have seen many pols and petitions that spoke about the release of Eugene Decock and many on global warming and so on yet I have never seen any petition not even one that talks of the black pain of dispossession in South Afrika. I don’t think the release of Eugen Decock will return the land of the black people ultimately the dignity of the black people. This makes me to question myself is this rhino poaching more important than the black child who sleeps without anything on their belly almost daily?, is this global warming more important than the low life expectancy of the black people? Will the release of Eugen Decock heal this black wound and play a role on reparations?

Social justice should be the main conversation in your circles

According to the Bantu tribes or should I say the Afrikan tribes power is responsibility and not comfort, I believe if we can all adopt into that then we can have a better South Afrika. In the olden days it is said that it was the community that raised a child meaning everyone was responsible for everyone else and he who have had a responsibility to the one who have not. Then it was impossible to even separate the one who have from the one who have not, that sounds familiar!!!! The book of Acts 2:44 tells us that “believers had all things in common” and further shows us this when the writer (Luke) exclaims to us that “there was no one lacking amongst them” (Acts 4:34). I do believe then that the God Immanuel, the God who is with us He is socially interested in both those who have and those who have not and it is the duty of he who have to be sensitive to the prompts of Immanuel so that we can all say in our church today there is no one lacking amongst us. I once listened to a preacher who was doing apologetics on a subject about poverty he said; “the church has enough today that there would be no one lacking amongst them” it was an AMEN for me there! It can only be the greed of some that causes some to be living under the swamps of poverty. Now because of to Jesus social justice is one of His main agendas as found in both the Lord’s Prayer and also in the book of Matthew 25:36-46 then I believe it should be one of our main agendas too, so whenever and wherever we are sitting lets discuss social justice.

Stop voting for and supporting DA!

I am aware that your vote is your choice yet if your choice furthers the black pain then look carefully into your choice again. DA is a white instrument to keep the status quo in South Afrika so that the situation of the blacks (not pigmentation but keeping in mind Biko’s definition) remains unchanging. If the DA was truly after the emancipation of the South Afrikan poor then they would have policies that are pro poor. The required change in South Afrika today will not come from people who wants to maintain the white status yet not overlooking the black pain because it is the very maintenance of the white status that is the actual black pain and that’s what DA does it maintains the white status. At this juncture we don’t need people who will say we want to solve the problem “but” because it is that very “but” that stretches the black wound and the DA is the actual embodiment of that “but”. Also at this moment in time we don’t need pro white organisations and their support in South Afrika as each and every structure thereof in this country is actually pro white. Therefore supporting DA in South Afrika is actually the instigation of the black wound. As for who to vote I will leave that to you, but the policies must be interested in what you claim to be after. The policies of the party that you are voting for must surely be pro poor.

Change your way of life

Without fully identifying with the black pain there will never be a pure, genuine and battling prayers that are projected to the black wound. There are many people who claim to be pro poor yet their lives proves to be divorced from the poor. Thomas Sankara (the president of Burkina Faso 1983-1987) when justifying his act of having no air conditioner in his office, driving the lowest costing car, attending his meetings in bicycles, cutting a huge portion of his salary and using public services like each and every one in his country he says “we cannot live luxurious lives yet we are leading the poor”. I think being pro poor then should be beyond the claims and be the very lives. Therefore living in Bishop Scot and claiming to be pro poor is one of the greatest lies. I think it is in these lies that leads to ignorance such that there are many people who says they are doing something in fixing the South Afrikan problem yet all they do is to rub off their own guilt. I think it is much easier to rub off your guilt by these cheap acts which includes soup (the soup kitchen justice) than it is to allow ones very life to be wasted for justice. Lives being wasted is Christ being lived because love is only expressed when life is being lay down for the next person. Therefore anyone missing out on this laying down of life that very person is missing out on the greatest commandment (Mat 22:38) and that should be the greatest sin.

Give fair wage to your domestic helpers!!! Do not be limited by the standards of this anti poor government but be pumped by the pro poor Christ in considering the wage for your domestic helper. When you considering the payment of your domestic helpers think of yourself first (love your neighbor as you love yourself); would you be able to live out of what you decide to give your helper? If not then why are you even considering giving it to someone else? More especially someone who could be a single parent with at-least five children. It is pretty sad that many white people don’t even know the families of their helpers, they are not even interested in the life of their employees (helpers) outside of work, this is cruel as it proves a perception of what was once said and believed “the blacks are as good as singing, dancing and digging”. You should play part in the education of the children of your domestic helpers, find out how you can help them. Be it if the help is morally, financially, emotionally or even psychologically but your help might go a long way. I do believe that you can also contribute a great deal in the local schools and help the up-coming generation to see you as humans and not as superiors and future employers as it was previously forcefully and violently suggested and currently is inherited by the younger generation. This will help a great deal and you will be seen as a fellow human being and it will also help you when you walking around Khayelitsha, there won’t be chants that are following you saying Umlungu, umlungu (white person) repeatedly.

[For an excellent response to this same question by Sindile Vabaza, click here]

[For other conversations and engagements concerning Race, click here]

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