Tag Archive: no_bob


Because Bloggers Play Tag

brett

Greetings Bloglings [Wait, we’re calling you that now, right?] and welcome to a very different post from normal, but i was tagged in a 21 question challenge by a new friend, Rashieda, whose challenge you can visit over here, and loving the opportunity to reveal deep and dark secrets about myself [as if!] i thought i would give it a go…

1. What is your current fashion obsession?

i don’t feel like i get very fashion obsessed, but my cool blue jersey from Majash’s wedding [see above] is what i have been wearing pretty much ALL THE TIME since the big day. i wasn’t after all allowed to keep the kilt.

2. What are you wearing today?

Today i m blogging at home alone and so i intentionally chose my Batman shirt because, Man Cave and all. i am currently wearing a raincoat cos it is mad, crazy, rain winding outside and i have to go and rescue our rubbish bin before someone adopts it for good [again! have lost two already] and so i’m ready for action. Grey pants, no shoes slash slipslops at the ready but generally happier in barefeet. And not the Majash wedding jersey [hypocrite!] cos i can’t remember where i put it [unless tbV snuck it out for the wash!]

3. Hair?

Yes. There is hair. It is a little crazy at the moment and up-sticky in general and only really has two good dry looks but one of them kinda makes me look like a German dictator so typically wet slightly and hand brushed forwards which makes me look a lot like my Erik [with a K] alter ego so don’t confuse me with him. Which reminds me i MUST find a video-taking program i can use so i can record Erik [with a K’s] outstanding poem! i should get it cut again soon probably.

4. Do you nap a lot?

Oh wow, so you missed the sound of me L’ing. That’s like LOL’ing except it wasn’t Out Loud, so just the L then. But no, i guess you could say i don’t nap a lot. Or sleep a lot. Or sleep much at all. i say this half-jokingly but i kinda believe it a little bit deep inside, but i believe that i have a God-given gift of no-sleep and many people who know me will testify to that cos i really don’t seem to need as much sleep as the next person. “But it will catch up to you.” Maybe it will, but 20 years later i am still waiting. The other theory is that in matric [grade 12] my parents did make me go to bed at 8 o’ clock and so perhaps it is all just stored up no-sleep since those days. But i am confident that i could pull a two week stretch of two hours a night and still be on full power for whatever needed to be done during the day. However, since getting married 6 years ago i did make a decision to go to bed when tbV [the beautiful Val] goes to bed, for the most part anyways, and since then i have started waking up at 5am on average, so a few more hours than before. Although Winter has been severely testing that strategy.

5. Why is today special?

Every day is a new opportunity and as horribly greeting card as that sounds, i really believe it. No matter how much i screwed up yesterday, today is a day to get it right. Or more right. So much opportunity to encourage someone or try something new or share a joke or get creative or start building something or influence 1000 people or hear a new catchy song or make my wife smile or eat fudge. Today is special because it’s all we’ve got. Tomorrow just becomes a different today. Now THAT you can put on a greeting card.

6. What would you like to learn to do?

i would like to learn to speak Xhosa fluently. And i have just recently started on a plan to do just that. It feels criminal to me that i expect everyone else to learn my language while i am not prepared to learn theirs. This scares me so much cos i feel like it is so important and yet at 41 i am an old dog attempting to set out and learn a new trick. Flippin scary. But oh so necessary. Is anyone going to join me?

7. What’s for dinner today?

i will be starting the Shepherd’s Pie preparation and then tbV may finish it. She has a work call and i am going out to watch Antman with my buddy Reegs but in between those i believe Shepherd’s pie will happen, and it will be good.

8. What are you listening to right now?

Derek Webb’s album, ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry and I love you’ – have not listened to music for a while on my computer and started again yesterday. Have a lot of FREE stuff from Noisetrade which is a great place to discover new music. And Derek and i vibed a bit on the Twitterer a couple of years ago when we were in the States so i kinda feel like i kinda know him. But i dig his music and it’s been great firing it up again.

9. What is your favorite weather?

i LOVE when it rains and is stormy and cold, as long as i am inside. i am not a big fan of being cold or out in the rain and then it makes me sad to think that so many people are [which causes me to love it a little less] but if it was just about me then raging storms outside [especially Johannesburg Thunder and Lightning storms] with me inside close to tbV watching a movie and sipping a glass of wine.

10. What’s the last thing you bought?

Hm, probably not the last thing i bought but i brought back a Vinyl Bobblehead Hulk and a Vinyl Jack Sparrow from Americaland for my Man Cave office and they make me happy.

11. What are your essentials when traveling?

i have a newish tiny purple [favourite colour] notepad which has become my travelling companion even when i’m just heading out somewhere for a short while. i have been attempting to write Micropoetry and so having the book ready to jot down thoughts, words and ideas is helpful. If i’m going to do a talk then the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob, typically accompanies me and we have a few of my recently published book, ‘i, church’ sitting in the car just in case. Oh and Tic Tacs [green and white] cos, you know.

12. What’s your style?

in a word, different. But not Different-for-The-Sake-Of-Being-Different although a lot of people would put it down to that. But it’s not. It’s very intentionally Brett-different. Within Brett-different i would imagine there are a lot of ideas and styles that have been grabbed and adapted and altered from other people and then encapsulated in my own fairly unique style. A combination of things that i enjoy but don’t necessarily feel [[to others] like they belong together but by putting them together sometimes you create that new dynamic. i love that. i would love to be able to answer ‘Edgy’ to this but i don’t think i’m there, but hopefully not ‘The Crowd’ either… somewhere betwixt those…

13. What is your most challenging goal right now?

Probably the Xhosa. i have located a course and just need to figure out with tbV what that looks like but i am super amped to get going and if i can get to a place where i can communicate semi-well [“fluently” earlier was definitely an over-reach] then that will make me happy. And trying to get everything together to renew my British passport [i’m bi-passportal] which i feel like i am finally on track to do.

Oh and actually getting decent manageable sufficient internet happening in this house that doesn’t cripple us, but that seems kinda like an impossibility at the moment. Urgh.

14. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Right here, right now. We are where we both want to be and we absolutely love our house. It would be great if we owned it rather than rented or had the assurance that we could stay here for the next three to five years, but in the absence of that, we are simply happy in this space and hoping to use it the best we can to serve the greater good.

15. Favorite vacation spot?

i struggle with this because my values and daily wrestles with questions of poverty and race and equality in this country mean that the idea of saving up a pile of money and going somewhere feels out of sync with a lot of that. Having had our recent Americaland trip paid for [in terms of my ticket] to go and speak at a camp made that an easier vacation. But if all things in the world were equal and it was simply a case of ‘Go anywhere for free’ then i would love to be at one of those islands where the huts are a little way out into the ocean or lake and the water is completely clear blue. i have no idea where those are. Bahamas?

Having said all that, my younger sister and family and a whole bunch of my best mates [including Dreadlock Mike] live in KZN so any chance i get to go there is snatched up, so that is probably my favourite realistic vacation spot.

16. Name the things you cannot live without?

A personal relationship with a Loving God who gives me purpose, vision and urgency in life. i really think that without Jesus in my life i’d be a selfish hedonistic git [i imagine a bunch of people already think i am so work to be done] and i love the life-to-the-fullness that i am inspired to which is connected to Him. That’s probably it, because everything else if you had to live without it, you would totally adjust and just make it happen, i guess. But there are certainly things you would choose not to live without.

My love and partner in crime [not real crime, metaphorical crime] Valerie aka tbV. Life is so complicated sometimes with us together but at the same time the pull towards living lives of significance i feel is so much equally fuelled by her, which is so great. Being connected to someone who refuses to settle for okay and watch injustice carry on unchallenged is life-giving and soul-massaging. Not to mention her laugh which is the most expensive one in town. She claims not to laugh at all my jokes just because she knows i can do better,and so when i get a laugh out of tbV it is well earned. That empowers me!

If  i started mention names of friends this would get silly cos there are so many important people in and around my life, some who are related and many who are not. But the community of people i get to do life with [both near and far] are one of the biggest boosts to me.

That’s about it although i do really dig my Marvin the Martian mug [which sadly just got a small chip in it] and my dirty yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin and my ‘I am Groot’ t-shirt which Dave HorseDawg gave me.

And the world would be a much sadder place without melted chocolate and mashed potato…

17. How was your childhood?

There were a ‘undred and fifty of us livin’ in a septic tank! Okay not quite but my childhood memories are well sparked off by the Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen skit…

i think it was pretty great. i remember a lot of fun mixed with some disappointment and challenges and life lessons but for the most part i think it was pretty decent. Kissing catchers and painting a church in Soweto during the height of apartheid and doing street ministry as a lightie on the streets of Hillbrow and Rhodes park excursions with plastic bags to catch tadpoles and climbing on walls and trees and roofs in the amazing church grounds we lived next to and accidentally shooting a friend with a bow and arrow in his leg? You can’t make that stuff up.

18. What would you like to have in your hands right now?

Some type of food. It’s way past lunchtime and i can’t remember having breakfast. Apparently a teaspoon of peanut butter doesn’t count. So i should get on to that.

19. What are you most excited for?

Ooh, so many things. Training on Wednesday for the writing job i am about to start, getting everything sorted and moving my blog over to an official website, the possibility of Race Conversation Workshops with my friend Megan once her life slows down, the hope of a bunch of Deep Dive Conversation Dinners happening in the next six or so weeks, Wed night speak about my book and church panel, watching Antman with my buddy Reegs tonight [love me some Paul Rudd] and a few other speaking opportunities coming my way soon, and of course learning Xhosa!

20. If you could go anywhere in the next hour, where would you go?

i would stay here. Too cold, windery and rainy outside.

21. Which countries have you visited?

Wow, i have been privileged. Malawi. Botswana. Namibia.The United Kingdom and the United States of Americaland. Canada. Malaysia. Holland. [drove through France and Belgium on a bus to get there]. United Arab Emirates [kinda, plane layover]. tbV and i would LOVE the chance to go visit South America…

Malaysia Towers

Malaysia Towers

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

i tag:

Original Dante, because although he is a busy man, he tagged me in the ‘Write Without Using the Letter E’ challenge and so it’s his turn, but also because he has become a recent friend and mentor in the art of Micropoetry and i think he has an absolute gift you should go and see at https://originaldante.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/the-weathers-intervention

My friend Candice Fourie because it has been way too long since she blogged and she writes in a way that invites the reader in to vulnerable spaces with power and honesty. Even if this is just for more people to discover this post where she bares her soul, it will be worth the journey: https://momentswithamom.wordpress.com

Also Miss Cass Lee who i am going to be working alongside soon, and her stunning looking blog with this heart-breaking and inspiring poem heading it up today. http://misscasslee.com/i-see-you-girl

i seem to have picked completely ridiculously busy people who most likely won’t have the time to respond to the challenge, but who i completely believe are worth checking out and following as they produce some amazing work and life…

Thank you for stopping by… If you had a 22nd question to ask me, what would it be?

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No_bob

Many of you will know of No_bob, the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin. But you may not know the story.

In 2000 i flew to the UK to earn some money teaching [due to an unfortunate police clearance incident i only ended up doing five days of actual teaching which was a high-or-low-light of itself and mostly looked after old people or University professors, who were about equally competent] so that i could join Youth With A Mission in Holland and go and save the world, or something. Continue reading

As many of you know i am a big Pearls before Swine fan and own all the books and am constantly inviting [slash harrassing] PBS creator Stephan Pastis to include the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin in his strip.

Usually just for laughs, but every now and then, Pastis nails something on the so-serious-it-punches-you-in-the-gut side of things and so when he tackles a pet peeve of mine, you know it’s going to be good:

pearlsbeforephone

As much as i believe we need to UNLEARN and RELEARN a lot of the information, communication forms and habits in life, i have a strong feeling that living a good life is going to consist of a lot more of UNTECHNOLOGISING which is a huge challenge for parents [let’s be honest, a tv or tablet is an easy babysitting option for a few minutes slash hours] but also for the rest of us.

So much so that my wife and i came up with this challenge, which we have done twice, and have chosen to make a regular happening with meals at our home [be prepared!] and i would love to hear of more people giving it a try and reporting back on results.

It has inspired poetry from me like this one i wrote a few years ago called Celling Your Soul aka Sign on the dotted line

And from a Christ-followers perspective a piece on worship and cellphone use.

There is so much more to be said. i am a huge appreciator of technology and the internet and how it can connect us and give us space to engage with each other and rally support and share information, but there does need to be good usage of it and finding ways and spaces to creatively put down the gadget and switch off the machine are going to be life-to-the-full saving in the long run.

What are your thoughts when it comes to cellphone usage and community?

pearls phone 1

[For some less serious Pearls cartoon strips, click here]

stephan

i don’t know Stephan Pastis personally [although i did meet him once and introduce him to No_bob, the world’s most famous dolphin and if we keep on harrassing him he will surely HAVE to include No_bob in a strip] but it is quite possible he is stalking me.

As is evidenced in these two strips i just saw on the best and worst of foods. It’s like he ‘gets’ me.

THE BEST:

PearlsBeforeMayoTHE WORSTish:

PearlsBeforeOysters

Well, not quite the worst. You need to rely on Garfield for that:

THE ABSOLUTE WORST:

garfield1

garfield2Whereas clearly Mr Pastis has some work to do on this one:

Pearls before RaiSINs

[For more great Pearls before Swineness, click here]

[The time i met Stephan and introduced him to No_bob] 

 

 

 

Tutu and No_bob

 

Continuing with my share from  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ as we look at some of the messages that came out of the second day:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

General buzz in the air. Today it is a lot of testimony from other faith groups so should be interesting.

In our hunger for reconciliation maybe justice was held at bay. Economic justice. Restitution.

It’s as if, with the advent of democracy, we gave our mission and ministry to the government.

Without love, without justice, without genuine fairness, there can be no reconciliation.

 

Thulani Ndlanzi (Cong): we have promoted a non-racial community rather than a multi-racial community.

 [Thulani Ndlanzi just raised the bar with that presentation recognising so many vital local issues.]

 

Have we lost our minds? Link back to earlier devotion. Where we have grown complacent and normalized injustice.

 

 [Really enjoying Thulani Ndlanzi. Speaking it like it is. ‘it should be a given that when we drafting laws we focus on women’s rights.’]

Thulani Ndlanzi: We need to bring God back into schools. What good is it to have a good mathematician with no ethics?

Thulani Ndlanzi: What good is it to produce a great scientist who has no morals?

 

Nadine Bowers du Toit (TEASA): South Africans for the most part seem to have a love hate relationship with reconciliation.

 

Brigalia Bam (SACC): Quoting Mandela – You will need to re-interpret your theology that allowed you to accept apartheid.

Brigalia Bam quoting Mandela -Now is not the time for the churches to return to the cosiness of the sanctuary.

 

Malusi Mpumlwana (SACC): We hear more about social cohesion than we do about national reconciliation.

 

Hlengiwe Mkhize [panel]: Reconciliation is a generational issue.

 

Wow, Thandile Khona, black guy, really giving it to the Muslims in terms of black inclusion within Muslim leadership.

Thandile Khona is President of Muslim Youth Movement. Really interested to hear what Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie has to say next.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie (Sect Gen Muslim Traditional Council): We believe South Africans are waiting on the religious leaders today.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie: As a religious community we have to be critical of our govt when it comes to corruption.

 

Yasmin Sooka: We all have our internal contradictions & in religion this often relates to how do we treat those who are different.

 

 [Really interesting session listening to the muslim representatives. Some great points.]

 

Nalini Gangen (Maha Sabha) just made it clear that all Indians should not be seen through the lens of that one family. #GuptasArentUs

Nalini Gangen: Hindu marriage not being recognised. Sale of house documents for eg would reflect them as unmarried.

Nalini Gangen: How we react to what happens and is happening is based on what we have seen.

 

Reuben Shapiro from South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace. This just got political. Gaza statement happening.

Reuben Shapiro – The Jewish voice in South Africa is not homogenous.

 

Big moment of humour as Tutu goes to a mic way too high for him and does a huge jump ‘to reach it’. [TbV hysterical].

 

 Tutu recounting story of man being tortured – ‘These are God’s children & they need me to help them recover the dignity they are losing.’

Tutu: As we listen i hope we hear more than just the words. That we remember that we are surrounded by some incredible people.

 [Inspirational break as Tutu gets up and recounts some stories of some of the people in the room.]

 

The post apartheid generation. Not sure where the segregation comes from. We need to create spaces to share our stories.

 

Frank Chikane: The job is not yet finished. South Africa has a long way to go to deal with the pain of the past. Black and white pain.

 

Imam Rashied Omar – It’s not the job of the state to do forgiveness.

Rashied Omar: Bicycle theology. You stole my bicycle. Years later you are sorry. But where’s my bicycle?

[Loved that analogy – found it really helped get my mind a little more about the idea of Economic and Land Reparation that still needs to happen]

Rashied Omar: Too much co-operation with the state. But we were co-opted by the state. Don’t fly flags in the church.

 

Eddie van der Borght (Amsterdam): The urgency of this moment, the momentum, should not be lost.

 

Nico Koopman – I think one of the reasons we live so distant from each other is because we still live with stereotypes of each other.

Nico Koopman – Please notice the abnormality in the normality.

Nico Koopman – Words are important because words create worlds. But we need to move beyond words to other types of action.

Nico Koopman. Forgiveness paves the way for reconciliation, restitution and reparation. It makes us hungry for more.

 

Tutu: This is one of the maddest countries. #TellingStoriesOfInsaneForgiveness

Tutu: This thing we are talking about [TRC] was a broken instrument. But God used it.

Tutu: We should be taking off our shoes. Cos this is holy ground.

Tutu: We are a country that is meant to show the world how we are supposed to be a family of God.

Tutu just threw away his closing address and is winging it by the Spirit. #PowerfulEnd

 

And let me close with some other Tweets from some others who were there:

 

@rogersaner “Somehow we haven’t been able to translate the large religious presence in SA into justice.” –

@changeagentSA “: Nyobole: “In the past we have neglected our role in education but are reclaiming our role”

@tutulegacy The biggest beneficiaries of apartheid were the business communities.

@tutulegacy Pillay: “Unity is a gift given to us by God. We need a bigger vision. Jesus calls us to be one.” 

@rogersaner An obvious need coming out of today is for white South Africans to do some serious work to face and own the past and privilege

@digitaldion ‘Now is not the time for the Churches to retreat to the safety of the sanctuary’ Nelson Mandela comment in 1997. Still true today!

@val_c_anderson We need a different kind of theology that can underpin action – “contextual theology”. 

@val_c_anderson “There’s no such thing as apolitical religion.” ~ Dr Rashied Omar. 

 

So there you have it. Does not do what happened the last two days immense justice, but hopefully gives glimpses and some challenging ideas and concepts to reflect on and wrestle with.

A big thing that came out looking back at the original TRC is that perhaps we focused too much on Truth that we overlooked justice.

Another big idea that was said on many occasions was the need for reparation and land reform [of which fairly little has been done] to add to the reconciliation and justice that did happen.

A big failure was that the church/faith communities as a whole seemed to sit back and hope the government would take the lead on Reconciliation , whereas the Government had initially hoped that the church would pick up and continue the work of the TRC in hundreds of little TRC’s all over the country [which never really happened and quite possibly because it was not well communicated enough]

The church/faith communities as a whole has failed to be involved enough in areas of Reconciliation and has a lot of work to do. The majority of the people in South Africa would fall into some kind of faith community and so it seems to make a lot of sense that if the faith communities as a whole got serious about this stuff it should and would happen.

And more… we closed off by singing the national anthem together which was a powerful moment.

[To return to the beginning of my reflections on these two days, click here]

 

 

 

 

 

Tutu and No_bob

So former Archbishop Desmond Tutu [or present Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, whatever an Emeritus might be] must be the most famous purple-dress-wearing man in the whole of Africa.

No_bob the yellow-and-white [yes, he’s still not nor ever has been blue] stuffed dolphin, is the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin [largely because the competition in that particular field is highly limited] and called No_bob because he doesn’t, well, bob.

It was inevitable that one day the two would meet. And by ‘inevitable’ i mean ‘highly unlikely’.

Yet, somehow they did.

And it really was one of the smallest and least significant moments of the last two days [but still quite fun, especially when you look at the panic’d GET-ME-OUT-OF-HERE look on his face]

WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT THEN?

For the last two days i was really privileged to be a witness to a meeting that was titled, ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ which was ‘a Consultation presented by the Beyers Naude Centre for Public Theology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University in collaboration with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.’

The original TRC, according to Wikipedia, ‘was a court-like restorative justice body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.’

A seeking out of Truth and Reconciliation after the tragic years of apartheid and following the miracle of the peaceful release of Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations and the first free and fair elections that the majority of South Africans were for the first time eligible to take part in.

At the same time there was a TRC that happened specifically with the Faith Communities in mind in 1997, and this particular meeting was revisiting that in some way, giving Faith community representatives the opportunity to remember the testimony they had given then, as well as share where their community found themselves now in the process.

According to the Faculty of Theology in Stellenbosch website,

The aims of the re-enactment hearing are:

  • To put the process of reconciliation back on the main agenda of all faith communities in South Africa;
  • To make a significant contribution to reconciliation and national unity in the current South African context;
  • To contribute to the development of responsible and realistic reconciliation strategies for the faith communities, and offer practical suggestions on how to address the challenges of reconciliation and nation building in our land.

A VERY BASIC OVERVIEW

There is no way i can effectively put into words even a good summary of the last two day’s events, but i felt i needed to write something and so hopefully i can give some small glimpses and highlights or key points that came out.

The format, sandwiched between and introduction and closing remarks by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu [who i will refer to from now as ‘The Arch’ as everyone else seems to – he’s held No_bob so we should pretty much be on a nickname basis] and a time of reflection and audience participation at the end, was a large number of sections of different church denominational representatives, other faith representatives and one or two denominational network representatives sharing their thoughts both on the past meeting and where their group was now.

Each group was given thirty minutes which was meant to comprise 15 minutes of sharing and then some engagement and Q and A with the panel which was made up of Ms Yasmin Sooka, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Ms Glenda Wildschut and Prof Piet Meiring, asking some questions and a time of response. Putting ministers and church leaders in front of a mic in a South African context meant that didn’t always happen to the program, but we did get through most of what was planned with some creativity and improvisational tea breaks.

As far as denominations went, among those who shared were the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Congregational, AFM and a number of the more traditionally Afrikaans churches like the NGK, NHK and more.  Then both TEASA [The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa] and SACC [The South African Council of Churches] shared as well as representatives from the Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities. There were a few foreign representatives from Germany, Holland and Americaland who also played a smaller role in the program as well as some special guests who were invited to be witnesses and then comment towards the end.

A TWO BY TWO BY ANY OTHER NAME…

As i said, it is hard to even give a summary of the event, but it was an incredible one to be a part of. I went to both days and the beautiful Val [tbV] accompanied me on the second day , which was great as she got to meet the Arch who is one of her heroes and get a picture taken with him. But Desmond Tutu’s presence was definitely a highlight to proceedings. From the moment he grabbed the mic, he invoked a sort of stand-up comedy routine but had the abaility toimmediately became significantly serious, often in a moment, when he needed to.

From his opening line of, “I think God is very clever sometimes'”which had everyone in stitches, to the poignantcy of,“Sometimes we do have a nostalgia for when it was simple and you knew who your enemies were”.

From the comedy of, “I don’t know how many of you watched Special Assignment on Sunday night? No? Probably because you don’t like SABC very much” to an absolute room-stopping moment of silence and recognition of the various tragedies taking place around the world, “Our God is standing there crying. (Lists places with conflict around world) Because His children are so terrible sometimes.” The Arch knew how to use silences and pauses to really allow the truth to hit home and for that truth to be allowed to impact you deeply.

And finishing off his opening address with the question and invitation of: Can we try to find a way to wipe the tears from His eyes?

From creating moments of outright mirth during the middle of serious testimonies as someone says something slightly funny or perhaps ironic and suddenly a loud high-pitched ‘Hee Hee Hee’ breaks the silence from the front row where he sat watching… to standing up to go and hug the Afrikaans pastor who has broken down in tears after sharing a hectic testimony on behalf of a church who refused to take part in the 1997 meetings and would only allow him to attend the meetings in his personal capacity… to bringing the meeting full circle by announcing towards the end, that as the man who has ‘a hotline to God’, “I can see God smiling through the tears.” Conveying a sense of absolute hope without reducing the significance of the  huge walls and immense work that still needs to be done.

And of course agreeing to pose with a yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin for this strange white dreadlocked guy who managed to corner him.

[To continue to some of the live tweets that i composed that give a glimpse into some of the ideas that were shared, click here]

 

Tutu and No_bob

This is a continuation of the previous post which started giving an overview and summary of my participation in the  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ which took place this week. Here are some selected highlight moments that could be captured on The Tweeterer in 140 characters of less:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

Michael Weeder (Anglican): I have to ask, Where is God in this? And what is the work of God in this moment?

Michael Weeder (Anglican): What was abnormal then? And what of that abnormal has become normal for us today? We need to revisit.

Michael Weeder: It seems darker than yesterday. We have to drink deeply from our own wells.

: Michael Weeder: You don’t shout at people, but there comes a time when you need to. It’s time to extend this to big business.

Michael Weeder: The chains have in many ways slipped to the mind.

 

Vuyani Nyobole (methodist): We are prone to many of the sins that it is our duty to condemn.

Vuyani Nyobole: Unfinished agenda of TRC – TRC unfortunately favoured the perpetrators over the victims. Shortcoming of previous TRC

Vuyani Nyobole: We focused too much on the Truth and not enough on the Reconciliation. It was therapeutic in many ways.

Vuyani Nyobole: it wasn’t the responsibility of the government to bring reconciliation. That should have been led by faith communities.

Vuyani Nyobole: There is a responsibility on us as faith communities for critical reflection on the state of things.

Vuyani Nyobole: If there is corruption in the government, most of those people sit in our pews. It is the responsibility of the church.

 

Dion Foster (methodist): I don’t think we’re living in a post apartheid society. Law has changed. Society remains largely unchanged.

Archbishop Tutu interrupts with, “That’s why I am glad I retired when I did.” (Laughter)

 Dion Foster on Culpability: We are a large religious community in this country. But we have not translated that presence into action.

 

Yasmin Sooka (panel) The presidents fund is really huge. But 19 years later, reparations have not yet happened?

 

Kevin Dowling (catholic): Where we failed was the statements didn’t necessarily move to the conversion process. The same is true today.

Kevin Dowling: Unless the privileged community go through a conversion process that affects them personally, change has not happened.

Kevin Dowling Unless you’ve held the hand that that statistic represents, you know nothing about their story.

Kevin Dowling: a transitional justice must always begin from the story and the voices of the victims.

Kevin Dowling: Retributive justice or Restorative justice – are we going to heal or punish?

Kevin Dowling: No transformation has taken place until we see economic justice and restoration.

Kevin Dowling: Restitution. Our victims, our survivors, were sold short.

Kevin Dowling: If you want peace, you have to work for justice. But very very often peace agreements to end violence sacrifice justice.

Kevin Dowling: Who will take us forward? An empowered violated disenfranchised people. We need to be in the trenches with our people.

Kevin Dowling: We cannot anymore carry on with the perception that government must do everything. Cos government can’t do everything.

Kevin Dowling: We need to forget about appearing on TV and be in the shacks, in the trenches, in the reality of our people.

Kevin Dowling just brought up the issue of immigration which is going to “exacerbate the issue of poverty.” The govt needs to address.

 

Piet Meiring (panel) we have to remember that justice and reconciliation have to go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

Yasmin Sooka: Restorative justice and punitive justice. What about the forgotten one of Redistributive justice?

 

Jerry Pillay (Presbyterian): Gender justice is also an important need for the church to focus on. And ecojustice.

Jerry Pillay: The need of practical aspects of reconciliation has largely been swept under the carpet. Many of us just want “to move on”.

Jerry Pillay: Churches need to ask, “How do we actually revisit what we do in light of changing contexts?”

Jerry Pillay: The vision must come with a reminder that this is a biblical imperative. Jesus prayed that we should be one.

 

Yasmin Sooka: in reality, gender equality remains elusive. Violence against women has become normalized.

Piet Meiring: the importance of the twinning of Unity and Reconciliation is an important thing we must never forget.

 

Kobus Gerber (NGK) An event like this brings tears to our eyes. Just to experience what we were part of being done to the people.

 

Peter Grove (URC) Will we make progress if we just repeat what was said 17 years ago? I don’t think so…

Peter Grove: We live our lives between the tension of memory and expectation.

Peter Grove: People constantly rewrite the past and redefine the future.

Peter Grove: Before we can move to attempts to do certain things we need to ask ourselves how to be certain things.

Peter Grove: We cannot talk about the squatters camps and the townships. We need to meet our brothers and sisters there.

 

E G Fourie (NHK) My church made it very clear to me I’m here in my individual capacity.

E G Fourie: So in my individual capacity i want to say I’m sad that I’m here in my individual capacity.

 [E G Fourie just blew this whole thing open with raw rough real tear-filled-and-causing testimony. Heavy. So good.]

E G Fourie after heavy speech about some of the race struggles within his church: This is where our church is…now.

E G Fourie: Many moons ago when i was at school we had no such thing as political correctness.

E G Fourie: kids who were mentally challenged we called specials. They were put in a special class.

E G Fourie: My church when it comes to issues of reconciliation is in a slow class.

E G Fourie:Now we call it a special needs class. My church has special needs.

EG Fourie: We have a special need for forgiveness.

 [E G Fourie gets standing ovation as he breaks down and Tutu goes forward and embraces him. Real moment.]

 

Amie van Wyk: Let me explain my name. My name is Jan. My dad’s name is Jan. Our worker was Jan. The donkey’s name was Jan.

Amie van Wyk: So my mom changed my name. (Tutu in loud hysterics)

 

Daniel Andrews (AFM): We must see what is happening in society through the eyes of those who are suffering.

 

Glenda [panel]: Intergenerational trauma that adults carry that we must deal with so children don’t carry the scars on.

 

Frank Chikane (AFM) The constitution must reflect what the Lord wants us to be.

Frank Chikane: If justice calls for us to go this way we must do it, whatever the cost.

 

Tutu: God puts Himself/Herself in our hands. And we’ve messed up His reputation.

Tutu: I actually saw God smiling through the tears today. Thank you for wanting to help Me make my world a better place.

Tutu: It is up to you and you and you whether this country becomes a hell or a paradise. God doesn’t have anyone else.

 

So those are a number of the Tweets i sent out while listening on day 1 – even though you might not have been there ad even though these do not fully carry the heart of the different testimonies, there is still food for thought in here and enough to make you stop and go, ‘Wo!’ and hopefully think and reflect some more.

[To continue on to Part III and the tweets from Day 2 of the Commission, click here]

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