Media Release: Churches, Faith-based Organisations and the Red Cross and Combine for Long Term Response to Cyclone Disaster

The Cyclone Disaster Response Group Statement

Introduction: We are all still in shock as a result of the scale of the disaster that has befallen the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting some 3 million people in the three countries, with Mozambique the worst hit. Ordinary words cannot describe the magnitude of the tragedy, and the costs in human suffering, infrastructure and basic living going forward! With the flood waters receding, many are struggling to obtain food, shelter and clean water, and a cholera outbreak is spreading fast.

The Response Group: In the face of this mammoth challenge The Cyclone Disaster Response Group (The Group), held a press briefing on 4 April 2019, at Khotso House in Johannesburg, to inform South Africans about their consolidated emergency relief efforts and appeal for support for the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Group is setting up a long term response to this disaster. The purpose is to more coherently coordinate the channelling of aid, to avoid causing recipient communities having to go to multiple support options, and to have a more orderly phasing of assistance for more effective long term support. The Group comprises the South African Council of Churches, the Red Cross Society, The Evangelical Alliance, HOPE worldwide, The Warehouse, Youth for Christ, A-Better-Africa and ACT Ubumbano.

How to contribute: The Group is launching a support fund, located at a dedicated bank account of the SACC to receive donations for the Disaster support. All people of goodwill with compassion, churches and faith communities, are requested to make direct grants to the fund, to support the affected communities in addressing the immediate needs and their long-term recovery from this storm. We request all churches, not only SACC and TEASA member churches, to mobilise their members and congregations and regional structures – presbyteries, districts, diocese, etc. to make financial donations to the fund. The money will be used to purchase prescribed goods as needed from phase to phase in the disaster areas of the three countries, and for the administration and the distribution of the goods through approved agencies.

The account details are:

Name: SACC Healing & Reconciliation Bank: Nedbank, Fox Str, Branch code: 190805, Account Number: 1129715000 Reference: “Cyclone Idai” plus name and contact number

From outside South Africa: Bank name: Nedbank Address: 135 Rivonia Road, Sandown, 2196, South Africa Phone number: +27 (0) 11 294 4444 Swift code: NEDSZAJJ Reference: “Cyclone Idai”, plus name and contact number.

Audit: Audit firm Deloitte will provide audit services to the fund, pro bono publico, to evaluate that donations received are spent in line with the objective of this project. Various Roles: We employ the diverse strengths of Group members. For example, HOPE worldwide engages with retailers for significant discounts on essential supplies for disaster relief. The Red Cross has logistical infrastructure and capacity to transport, as well as more than 30 collection points across the country for identified items for relief needs. Some of our partners have the networks to mobilise financial resources from South Africa and around the world. The churches have a broader and a more nuanced role:

First, we encourage South African congregations that have existing relationships with local churches in the affected areas, to build on these on a bilateral basis, and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for reconstruction work in the communities.

Second, South African denominations that have extended institutional relationships with the affected countries should seek to work alongside their denominations in the affected communities, supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support. A number of churches are doing this already. This week the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba whose pastoral responsibility includes Mozambique, has been visiting Beira and hosted by the locals in their misery, to be with, and work with them as they craft their solutions to the crisis. 3. Third, through the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), the SACC has a direct relationship with the councils of churches in the three countries, this enabling local oversight for accountability and feedback on the impact of the organised support from this system. A more detailed “Guideline for Churches”, including prayer requests, is being developed and will be available by Friday 12 April. When available it will be published in the SACC monthly e-newsletter The Outlook, and the various electronic platforms and newsletters of member churches and partner organisations in the Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are disciples of the One who said: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35

Additional Information: The most immediate basic needs include food and potable water to survive; shelter and sanitation for hygiene and disease management. Following the immediate first aid, and in the mid-term, there will be the need to ensure food security, as the crops that were about to be harvested have now been washed away. In Mozambique alone, nearly 670, 000 hectares of crops have been damaged. Estimates are that some 12% of Malawi’s national maize output has been lost to the cyclone. There will be need for: • Rebuilding the lives of people living with the missing relatives, some of whose bodies may never be found. • The counselling and recalibrating the lives of orphaned children, some of them were first to be saved, leaving their parents who perished before the rescuers returned for them. • Trauma counselling for those children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods. UNICEF puts the number of children at risk as a result of the cyclone at about 260,000, and direct support will be needed to provide mechanisms to secure these children. This, not to mention the reconstruction of households, and public infrastructure of schools, health services and roads. Immediate HOPE worldwide Compassion Shipment: As a start, next week the first truck shipment that has been organised by HOPE worldwide is scheduled to departs for Beira. That effort began before the creation of the collective Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are working together to support this first shipment, and seek to build on that experience. We are also aware that a number of church denominations have initiated their own individual response systems which are commendable. In this challenge we have come to recognise that there will be phases, from rescue, food and shelter; to recovery of the deceased and burials; to disease prevention and temporary village building and rebuilding of homes. There will be need for seeds to replant lost crops, and trying for winter cultivation; the building and equipping of public facilities, schools, health centres; and the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, etc. All these will need a consistency of support beyond the immediate. Again, at the human level, there is the deeper work of trauma counselling, especially for children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods.

Contact details: For information on how to contribute and logistics, please contact: Ms Pertunia Radebe +2711 241 7800, pertunia@sacc.org.za

For media interview requests, please contact: SACC: Ms Moagisi Sibanda (Director Communications and Programmes) Email: moagisi@sacc.org.za, Mobile: +2782 295 1581

South African Red Cross Society Mr Lwando Zandile (National Disaster Manager) Email: lzandile@redcross.org.za, Mobile: +2781 017 6575

 

 

Healing of Memories Year-End Reunion.

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The Healing of Memories and Reconciliation, Social Cohesion, Networking and Partnerships year-end function was a resounding success of sharing, fellowship and robust dialogue. The event was well attended by KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council’s ecumenical partners and government officials. KZNCC Deputy CEO on Theology, Dr Lucas Ngoetjana, facilitated the robust dialogue that inspired the attendees to engage vigorously. They also came up with solution-oriented responses to topical issues including social cohesion, xenophobia, homophobia and gender-based violence, among others.

Bridget Phillips, a facilitator from the Institute For Healing of Memories, explained that the bulk of her work was about creating safe and sacred spaces where people can begin the journey of acknowledging the pain and letting go of what’s destructive inside them and being willing to leave the past behind. “The Healing of Memories (HoM) methodology has been tried and tested. It’s about taking the bondage off the wound, putting it in salty water and cleaning it. There’s guaranteed confidentiality during these sessions.”

Phillips also emphasised that healing is not an event but a lengthy-involved process of different phases. She urged everyone, especially men, to use the HoM tools as they enter their new journey in life after the workshops.

Rev Bernard Coopasamy of The Christ Tabloid newspaper shared how his Christianity had transformed him having been born into Hinduism. He believes this in itself was a healing process in his life. “Being invited to inter-faith groups changed my perspective on numerous things and this was when I embraced the healing process and social cohesion from there on,” he explained. This change inspired the concept of The Christ Tabloid newspaper which he said promotes social cohesion and seeks to “educated God’s people and bring their lives back in alignment to the Christ”.

There was a platform for people to share their stories and what moulded them into being the change-makers that they have become in society. Nomusa Shabalala, Anti-Xenophobia Community Facilitator and leader of Sisters of Faith in Action (SOFIA), a women’s movement at KZNCC, said that she was excited and proud to see women being well represented at the event. She spoke about the trip they took to Tanzania as SOFIA, learn about Village Community Banking (VICOBA) where they gained women empowerment skills including making clothes softeners, cheese paste and the VICOBA way of banking.

Keeping the enlightening conversations going, Mama Mngadi of Family Unity Organisation said strengthening family ties was important in counter-acting the societal challenges. “It’s one of the pillars that could potentially help us win against any social ills as they are a result of diminishing united and well-ground families.” Radio is another platform where these issues can be sufficiently tackled. Ps Victus Mthembu, responsible for Media and Publicity at KZNCC, said this platform had positioned the organisation in a positive light as a brand. Mthembu spoke about the Gender Justice programme in partnership with the Premier’s Office, in tackling gender-based violence, meted out against women and children.

Dr Douglas Dziva, CEO of KZNCC, concluded the proceedings as saying it was a good way to close off the year. “It was good sharing what is critical and important to us. It was well facilitated and inspiring, engaging and interesting.” Dziva also thanked the various key stakeholders and partners that KZNCC has had over the years.

 

Eudy Simelane Lecture 7th April 2016

 

Ujamaa centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press release: Eudy Simelane Lecture, 7 th April 2016, Colin Webb Hall, Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 5.30pm.

The Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (in partnership with The Other Foundation,
the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network, and the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council) inaugurates
an annual Eudy Simelane Lecture on the 7 th of April 2016.

Eudy Simelane’s body was violated and her life taken because she was lesbian. This hate crime was
perpetrated by men from her own community in KwaThema, not far from her family home. These
crimes were committed against Eudy Simelane because of her sexual orientation. Her local profile as
a mid-fielder in the Springs Home Sweepers F.C. and her national profile as a Banyana Banyana star
were not enough to protect her.

The Ujamaa Centre recognises that in South African communities religious change is central to social
change. Those who raped and murdered Eudy Simelane would have justified their criminal actions
on religio-cultural grounds. The Ujamaa Centre contests these religio-cultural grounds, collaborating
with local faith-based organisations and civil society so that religion becomes a redemptive and life-
giving, not death-dealing, resource.

In the inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture we will watch and listen to a video of those who knew and
loved Eudy, including her family, who will be present. We have invited Mmapaseka ‘Steve’ Letsike,
a friend of Eudy Simelane and a gender, sexuality, and HIV activist, to speak about black lesbian
reality. We have also invited Justice Edwin Cameron, an eminent human rights lawyer and
Constitutional Court judge, as well as a LGBTI and HIV activist, to address us.

The Eudy Simelane Lecture, like each of the Ujamaa Centre’s public ‘lectures’ will draw together a
wide diversity of sectors, and will provide space for discussion with the speakers. The Ujamaa Centre,
together with Prof Cheryl Potgieter, the DVC for the College of Humanities, and herself a scholar
and activist in the area of gender and sexuality, invites you to the Eudy Simelane Lecture.

 

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International Aids Conference 2016

Faith in Action at AIDS 2016 – Spread the News!

10 March 2016

Planning for the 21st International AIDS Conference (1822 July 2016 – Durban, South Africa), is in full swing, and the AIDS 2016 conference promises to be an intense networking, learning, and advocacy experience for all.

The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) has now re-launched www.iacfaith.org, where information on faith-based activities at AIDS 2016, including the Interfaith Pre-conference, is being shared. The website will be updated regularly, with new information also highlighted through Facebook and Twitter (@e_alliance).

Together we can increase the visibility and positive impact of the faith-based response to HIV by actively participating in AIDS 2016 – physically in Durban and virtually through all our communication channels.

Please share your news about AIDS 2016 with us – new resources, articles, and activities being planned for AIDS 2016 – which can be added to the website. Send your news to Sara Speicher at sara.speicher@wcc-coe.org

Place a link on your website to www.iacfaith.org, and share the link with your network to highlight coordinated faith-based activities.

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #FaithAIDS2016 to share your activities, resources and news.

Participate in the Interfaith Pre-Conference – consider leading a workshop, exhibit materials, or just plan on engaging in the rich networking and learning experience.

Plan on communicating the events and issues at AIDS 2016 through your networks. News releases, blogs, resources, photos and video will be available in advance and during the conference for your use.

Latest news on Faith in Action: AIDS 2016

Interfaith pre-conference

The interfaith pre-conference will be held 16-17 July. The venue will be announced soon, with the goal to have the pre-conference close to the main conference venue so that people can stay in the same accommodation for both.

If you need accommodation, this should be booked through the main conference organizers at www.aids2016.org.

Global and local organizing committees established

The Global Organizing Committee was appointed by the WCC-EAA International Reference Group in January 2016. The GOC plans the Interfaith Pre-Conference and sets the overall direction, priorities, policies and related planning for faith-based activities coordinated and supported by the WCC-EAA.

The Local Host Committee was formed in 2015 and has helped enormously in the initial planning for AIDS 2016. The LOC plans and facilitates the logistical aspects of global faith-based participation in AIDS 2016, including the pre-conference, and facilitates South African-based interfaith input and advocacy during conference.

Committee members are listed at www.iacfaith.org/about

The WCC-EAA is very grateful for the commitment and willingness of GOC and LHC members to contribute their time and expertise to make faith-based participation at AIDS 2016 meaningful and effective.

Interfaith Prayer Room and Chaplains Programme

The WCC-EAA is working with conference organizers to provide an interfaith prayer room during the main conference. Ten chaplains from different faiths have been selected to lead services and provide pastoral counseling on request.

Ecumenical Media Team

A small, professional communications team will cover faith-based activities and issues at AIDS 2016. Follow the coverage at www.iacfaith.org.
If you have any questions, please contact

Nonceba Ravuku (Ecumenical and Interfaith Consultant for AIDS 2016), aids2016@cabsa.org.za

Francesca Merico (WCC-EAA HIV Campaign Coordinator), francesca.merico@wcc-coe.org

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Church Leaders Join Anti-Corruption March

MEDIA RELEASE

Church leaders join anti-corruption march

Senior church leaders from a broad spectrum of South Africa’s churches today called on Christians to join the Unite Against Corruption march being organised by civil society groups for 30 September.

The leaders – including those from some of the largest Christian denominations -say their plea for members to join the march constitutes their first step in becoming more involved and vocal about justice for the poor in South Africa, and in ensuring that the country remains a viable state.

The Unite Against Corruption march will simultaneously take place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town. A list of the leaders’ names can be found at the bottom of this statement.

Rev. Moss Ntlha, one of the leaders and General Secretary of The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, today said the march represents the people of South Africa taking responsibility for themselves and for what is going on in the country.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that senior clergy have taken issue with current affairs in South Africa. Twice in 2012 similarly constituted groups of leaders wrote strongly worded letters addressing the state of the nation. This transpired at the time of the ANC’s centenary celebrations and after the Marikana massacre. The letters called for integrity in politics, social justice and an end to corruption.

“Twenty-five years ago we mobilised across the board to take responsibility for our country,” Ntlha explained.

“Nowadays people have simply abandoned hope as they feel powerless to change anything. We believe ordinary citizens need to take responsibility again to make sure that corruption ends in every sphere of society. This includes churches, civil society, business and government and homes where men abuse their power against women and children. This is a comprehensive call.

“Every person who marches is doing an act of repentance, and is calling others to repent.”

The most trusted institution

According to the Reconciliation Barometer, published annually by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africans last year indicated their highest confidence levels in religious institutions and the Public Protector, and the lowest in political parties and the police.

On top of this, national research has shown that 81% of the population specifically regard the church as the most trusted institution, while at least 80% of the population claims to be Christian.

“We see this march as a time for Christians to take responsibility through confession, prayer, self-reflection; to turn towards justice and away from practicing corruption.”

Ntlha says the leaders are not pointing fingers. They are in fact taking responsibility for South Africans’ corporate corruption as citizens of a 21 year old democracy who claim to be 80% Christian.

“We acknowledge that many of our members are corrupt. So we can’t judge anybody. We have to engage in a self-critical way. That is why, for us, the march signals a call to repentance.

“But secondly, if the church does not use the trust levels that it has to call for a different way of being South African, of respect for the constitution and basic responsibility, we may lose the opportunity to stop the country’s downward slide. And from that we may never recover.”

Faith and action

The church leaders called all Christians and people of faith in South Africa to participate through demonstrations and prayer everywhere in the country on the day of the march, and leading up to that day.

“Beyond the march we would like to see the emergence of a responsible South Africa and we believe the march signals the start of that possibility. We dream of a South Africa where citizens are not only accountable, but hold others accountable, whether they are in business or in government.

“We realize this will be work in progress.”

“I am calling on the Church that we all stand up and say we will go to prison again; we will die again if any person gets victimized because of color, or for any other reason that contradicts our commitments to justice.”

– Rev. Frank Chikane, 1980’s

 

Notes to the editor:

Find the 2012 letter here:

www.beta.iol.co.za/news/top-clerics-pen-letter-to-zuma-1439546

Reconciliation Barometer:

www.ijr.org.za

The leaders who have issued this call include:

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Bishop Zipho Siwa, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and President of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Past. Xola Skosana, Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum

Rev. Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa

Past. Ray McCauley, Rhema Ministries, President of International Federation of Christian Churches and Co-chair of the National Religious Leaders’ Forum

Dr Frank Chikane, International President of the Apostolic Faith Mission International and Senior Vice President of SACC

Dr Mary Anne Plaatjies van Huffel, Moderator of Uniting Reformed Church of SA

Prof. Nelus Niemandt, Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church

Bishop Ndanganeni Phaswana, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa

Archbishop Mshengu Tshabalala, Ikhaya le Zione

Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Ethiopian Episcopal Church

Rev. Angelo Scheepers, General Secretary of the Baptist Union

Mr Michael Cassidy, Founder of Africa Enterprise and the National Initiative for Reconciliation

Rev. Edwin Arrison, General Secretary of Kairos Southern Africa

Rev. Prof. Peter Storey, former President of the SACC & Methodist Church

Rev. Andre Bartlett, Chairperson of Gauteng Council of Churches

The Rev. Canon Prof. N. Barney Pityana, retired Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown, and retired Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of South Africa

Past. Simon Lerefolo, His People Church and Chairperson of Heartlines

Past. Ed Ramsami, Heronbridge Community Church and Chairperson of Youth for

Past. Jean Symons, National Leader of Doxa Deo RSA

Dr Braam Hanekom, Vice Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Synod,

Rev. Costa Mitchell, National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches of South Africa,

Rev. Barry Isaacs, General Secretary of the Consultation of Christian Churches Various other leaders are on board, and the sign-up process continues.

For interviews, call –

Rev. Moss Ntlha – 0828098533

Past. Simon Lerefolo – 0828229460

Rev. Andre Bartlett – 0832745745

For more information, call –

Miles Giljam – 0795742926

Siki Dlanga – 0738448691

 

//KE Communications, +27 82 747 7104, friends.taking.hands@gmail.com

Wartburg Rape Case

PRESS RELEASE ON THE WARTBURG RAPE CASE (For immediate release)

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and ecumenical organisations in KwaZulu Natal; Thukela-Mzinyathi regional Christian Council (TAMCC), KwaZulu Regional Christian Council (KRCC), Diakonia Council of Churches (DC of C), Midlands Council of Churches (MCC) express sadness and shock at the rape of a 94 year-old grandmother by a 25 year old man in her Wartburg home near Pietermaritzburg.

This barbaric act follows a series of recently reported rape cases such as the seven men’s gang rape of a 17 year old girl in Soweto, as well as the two young women’s allegedly rape of a mentally challenged teenage boy in Soweto last month.

  • KZNCC, the KZN Ecumenical Movement together with churches in KwaZulu Natal condemn this despicable cruel act in strongest terms possible.
  • We call upon faith leaders to pray and to pay pastoral visits to victims of rape, as well as to preach morals and a strong sense of right and wrong to the youth.

–  We call upon all people of faith to publicly condemn rape and acts that violate women and children.

  • We call upon all victims of rape and their families to go public and report to the police the violations inflicted upon them.

–  We call upon Magistrates to impose stiff penalties to perpetrators of rape.

  • We appeal to the entire province to join us in the Thursday in Black, a campaign of mourning gender injustices; the domestic violence, the murder of women, the physical and psychological battering, the verbal abuse, the financial depravation and all forms violence perpetrated against women. (Diakonia Council of Churches leads this campaign where everyone is urged to dress in black every Thursday. This is symbolises mourning the current perverse gender injustices (for details phone 031-3103513 or director@diakonia.org.za ).

The on-going scourge of rape in our country is a societal problem that requires responses from all of us in order to solve this pandemic. Our varied responses will contribute to the restoration of morals, ethics, spirituality and human values.

Ends

Bishop Mike Vorster – KwaZulu Natal Christian Council Chairperson Dr Douglas Dziva – KwaZulu Natal Christian Council CEO

Ms Nomabelu Mvambo Dandala – Diakonia Council of Churches Executive Director Rev Gugu Shelembe – Thukela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Regional Christian Council Director Mr Mxolisi Nyuswa – KwaZulu Regional Christian Council Director

Nelson Mandela – the Icon who challenges to high things

To almost everyone who hears the name Nelson Mandela (or even more fondly Madiba) the first thought is that he is the icon of what is good and true in man today. He earned his status by the manner in which he engaged in the long and dangerous struggle to gain freedom and self-determination for all the oppressed people in South Africa.

For his engagement in the struggle for justice for all, he already gained the respect and admiration of freedom lovers and justice seekers way beyond the borders of his homeland. But for me and many that I speak for, what consolidated his stature and gave him status as a world leader to be imitated and emulated, is the way he conducted himself just before and immediately after his release from Pollsmore Prison, near Cape Town.

For the sake of his country, and his fellow citizens, Black and White, he broke rank with many in the Liberation Movement when taking courage into his own hands he initiated negotiations with the hated apartheid regime. It says a lot for his powers of persuasion that he was able to achieve a breakthrough during the very time that one of the toughest hardliners, President P. W. Botha was in power.

Madiba’s efforts were no doubt aided and abetted by dissatisfaction within the National Party with P.W.’s despotic leadership style. That dissatisfaction led to his ousting by F W de Klerk who took over to lead South Africa into meaningful negotiations and an eventual democratic dispensation.

The calibre of character of Madiba, as also that of the chief protagonist on the White side in the negotiations, F W de Klerk, was undoubtedly inspired and enhanced by the massive moral and spiritual support of the hundreds of thousands of South Africans, Black and White, who took the struggle to a higher level – the spiritual – by the prayers and sacrifices they made personally for a peaceful settlement.

In a real sense, therefore, Mandela’s iconic status was founded and built on the shoulders of ordinary South Africans who transferred to him their deepest hopes and aspirations for peace, dignity, respect and freedom. It says much for Madiba that unlike so many of his peers, before him, around him at the time, and especially after him, he did not let the greatness thrust upon him by his people, go to his head. Rather he remained right to the end a servant to the project: “Set my people free.”

Achieving freedom for his people through really tough and at times brutal negotiations (I’m thinking here of the National Peace Accord, the several deadlocks over amnesty, the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging’s (AWB) assault on the CODESA Talks venue) was one thing, it was quite another to bring together the followers of the various opposing factions in the South African political field.

It was even more of a challenge to bring into existence an environment in which Black and White could seek and find each other. His inspired use of symbolic actions – “High Tea” with the wives of (a) former apartheid Prime Ministers and Presidents; and (b) their counterparts in the liberation struggle; giving 110% support to the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup – achieved more than volumes of written statements, charters or painstakingly worked out agreements.

Yes, South Africa owes Madiba a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless service to his people (Black and White). But in turn he is indebted to those selfsame people for according him icon status by supporting his every effort to make South Africans -Black and White – a special people. For only a special people could have pulled off, with God’s grace and blessings, the miracle of 1994, which gave the stamp of approval to Madiba as the Icon and Symbol of the Nation!

+ Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM ARCHBISHOP OF DURBAN

Tribute to Mandela

KZNCC Tribute to Mandela

Our heartfelt condolences go to the Mandela family. Be assured of our constant support and prayers.

WE have moved into a ten day mourning period as a nation. The outpouring of love, respect and condolences is staggering. Why has such a man moved an entire country, continent and world in such a profound way? It is because in this man we have seen that another world is possible. Through his core values of unshakeable commitment to non-racialism; non-sexism; justness; compassion; forgiveness, and pragmatism we have seen incarnate glimpses of what every sane human on earth desires.

The mark of greatness is not perfection, but the acknowledgement of one’s weakness, limitations and being prepared to own up to and confess one’s faults. These are the marks of our former President Nelson R Mandela who has become for us in his twilight years the elderly statesman and parent figure.

There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We are all shaped by others and our environment for better or worse. The central tenant of Ubuntu is that we are because of others. Mr Mandela would be the first to say I am part of a collective. He was a true democrat. In the early years he was shaped by both traditional and Wesleyan values, a certificate dating back to his early childhood of his attendance at Sunday School attests to this. He attended Methodist schools like Healdtown etc.

Then there was the liberation movement the African National Congress that became a major influence in his entire life for decades He ensured that non-racialism was kept alive by embracing both those who were Indian, coloured and white as part of the struggle. Many would have called him a ‘sell-out’ because of this core value.

If we say we will never have another leader who embraces these values then Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo’s work would have been in vein. Such an observation would be disingenuous. There are many people among us who aspire to these values. Look carefully at our young people as they emerge as non-racialists and non-sexists human beings, especially those who have not yet been tainted by the neo-apartheid influences of their parents. This is the living legacy that Tata Mandela leaves with us. We celebrate a life well lived in spite of oppression and imprisonment. May we go into the streets and tell the stories of Mandela warts and all. For at the end of the day he was human like the rest of us and here in lies our hope.

Peace & Grace

Bishop Mike Vorster 1