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Contextualisation

The Concept, Theory And Methodology Of Contextualisation.

3.1 What is contextualisation?

Contextualisation is a theory and a practice of faith within a living community. There must be a life situation and people who are conscious that they are experiencing that life, in order that a contextual praxis can be consciously done. If people are not aware of how life goes on around them, they became the unfortunate victims of the situation. The events of life including church or faith life overtake them and they are reduced to tokens in a chessboard. When they are aware and they are involved in the situation in which they live, they are better prepared to do contextualisation. Then they become catalysts of event around them. They make them, they control them, and they direct them. If not, it becomes the duty of contextualisation to conscientise the people. Conscientisation refers to making people aware of their situation with the aim of igniting them with empowerment and transformation to take charge of their own lives.

The root from which the word contextualisation comes is shedding light on what it means. The word context, from which ‘contextualisation’ is derived comes from the Latin root ‘contextus’, which means, weaving together. The light which is shed shines clearly when one realises that contextualisation has to do with the whole of a given context woven together. In single context are many people, experiences, regulations, institutions, sub-cultures, ideas, and things. All the uncountable components of a context have roles they play in shaping people, society, trends, history, culture, and ideas. Contextualisation looks at all that and brings out reasons and meanings for problems and answers. This is applicable to faith life and any other discipline of life.

Imagine how much the Bible can be revealed if we have the skill of contextualisation which opens up the situation we are studying and how much the Bible can speak to us more directly if we can have the skill of social analysis which opens up a social context for us to see what is happening inside there. Contextualisation therefore is a
skill of getting into a socio-cultural situation, analyse it and begin to see and understand what is happening inside there.

Contextualisation is interaction with the situation. Imagine a piece of woven material; a cloth exemplifying a context. The piece of cloth itself is made of many threads. When tailors for instance see it, they may start imagining all patterns of garments they can make with the material. A puppy may see a cloth to play with. The point, which is made here, is that, when you touch the cloth you become engaged to in one way or the other. Therefore, the meaning we get there is that, contextualisation is engagement and interaction with the situation. Your personal and community perceptions, your interests and what you want to do with the context will determine your manner of engagement with it. Call it the puppy and cloth approach or the tailor and cloth approach.

Seeing that humans are naturally born into given contexts, none of us is a-contextual (out of context/ context free). Some people choose not to be involved in issues that affect their lives for various reasons. Some people are very much involved. Those that are involved are contextualising. Those who are not are a contextualising and yet they form part of the whole context unfortunately. Contextualisation allows no neutrality[1]. A person may choose to be callous, but is part of a context and callousness is not neutrality. It is a position a person is taking.

Besides that, a contextual situation in a narrow sense can be one’s personal life. That one persons’ life is composed of its physical, intellectual, emotional, social and political experiences. Everyday, a person has to make decisions based on one’s personal disposition, always within time, space and distance. When those personal decisions are made within the very matrix of self, and if the decisions are made consciously, that person will realise that choices are being made contextually.

Making choices denotes that some analysis was done and in that process though it may be so swift, a personal contextualisation or personal engagement with one’s
personal situation has been made. That is why finally, no one can escape the process of contextualisation. But, you have to be aware of the process so that you are empowered to direct it and to control it. Otherwise you are not contextualising.

For Christians and other believers, this process of contextualisation does not leave out your spiritual, or Biblical, or theological life. Actually, the method of contextualisation proper does not encourage individual reflections. When we come to deal with the method proper, you will realise that contextualisation is better done as a group effort. Your spiritual life has to do with the religious experiences; it includes your devotional life, how you relate to the material world, how you relate to people in general and how you express yourself both in public and in private.

According to Gehman:

Contextualisation is the capacity to respond Meaningfully to the gospel within the framework of Ones own situation (quoted in ICT brochure 1987).

In this definition, the interaction is between the gospel, the situation and the respondent who is the person in the situation. The encounter with the gospel happens in the context of the respondent. The gospel comes in as an outside context which intrudes into the living situation of the respondent.

The prerogative is upon the respondent to react and respond meaningfully. The measure of how meaningful was the response depends on the criterion of the observer. In all cases where the criterion is set the respondent must be part of it. If not, the criterion will always tend to be condescending and arbitrary. The method of contextualisation encourages that all participants in all situations of contextualising be fully involved.

According to the Institute for Contextual Theology (ICT) brochure (1987):

Contextual Theory is the critical awareness of the Context out of which theology develops.

The term ‘critical awareness’ suggests conscientisation which also means’ exposure to the dynamics of your situation in such way that you shall be moved to do something like interacting intelligently, meaningfully, and consciously with your situation. A conscientised person will be aware that indeed theology develops out of ones context and that it is actually a result of conscious reflection.

Along with critical reflection is social analysis. The work of social analysis is to provide a broader picture by revealing minute and composite dynamics, which are hidden from a casual observation. Social analysis helps with the dismantling and disassembling of the minute components at play in your social context. The aim thereof is to show more clearly how society functions and as a result have a better picture of how theology develops out of that context.

Moreover, contextualisation is a way of answering questions about faith that arise out of the same context. Faith and religion are contextual. Religion is that phenomenon of life that is essentially concerned with questions about the future and the ultimate.

One of the most important tasks of theology is to clarify the meaning of statements made concerning faith. Since faith arises out of a situation, theology therefore takes serious cognisance of the situation and as a result cannot escape being situational. Situational theology in contextual theology.

3.2. A model of contextualisation

First and foremost, contextualisation takes life experiences into prime consideration. Contextualisation starts from what people have experienced and what they are experiencing. The immediate context takes the foreground and is always a source of reference right through the process of group discussion.

People gather to share their life experiences and their analysis of both the question and the situation under scrutiny. In this way, people are encouraged to take themselves seriously and to consider their own experiences very important.

This initial stage of introduction into contextualisation is very satisfying and is empowering people by affirming them in terms of taking their stories as an important source of a critical process such as this, which will give birth to transformative actions. Nothing is more satisfying than to discover that someone is listening to you with a purpose. Somehow you feel important. You feel like a person who is counted among others. You feel my story is taken serious.

As we said earlier in this book; contextualisation is a group effort. Contextualisation is a community exercise. This communal effort is meant to avoid and to overcome individualism. When people come together and all are encouraged and empowered to discover the power of their opinions and all opinions are taken seriously, the results of that exercise stands a chance of defeating individualism and coming up with a comprehensive opinion.

The problem with individualism is that it encourages unconnected opinions about the situation. The individuals’ opinion is always plagued by blind spots. Collective work reduces blind spots to the minimum. Individualism is prone to abuse by powerful opinion makers, experienced people and those who for some other reason are advanced than the rest.

Contextualisation as a method is committed to the liberation of people. It endeavours to liberate the subjected opinions and perceptions of those who not of their own making or own will have been silenced. Group interaction must be conducted in such a way that the participants have maximum participation. Initially, all the participants must tell their story. The rest of the group must listen attentively.

Further, contextualisation uses questions; asking of questions as an effective way of analysing and unearthing information Contextualisation is a critical theological enterprise. Criticality has to do with leaving no idea without being tested by questions. As many areas of the idea must be scrutinised through asking of questions. Criticality has to do with the opening up of the subject as a way of analysis i.e. breaking down the subject into pieces which compose it.

In that ways as the subject is subjected to more explanation and more clarifications, the more its nature and presuppositions are exposed, and the clearer the subject
becomes. People are taught and encouraged to ask a lot of questions when they contextualise.

Asking questions is helpful not only for gathering information, but for liberative purposes. In most cases people at grassroots are so silenced and it is as if they have no questions. They need something to empower them and to enable them to speak out and not to bottle up. It is also liberative to begin to ask your own questions and to begin to be free to challenge opinions you do not necessarily agree with.

Asking questions is libratory in the sense of giving one the freedom to expose one’s ignorance. The answers given in the group discussion become information that dispels ignorance. The discussion group is always there to help and suggest possible answers, and to keep on asking more and more questions.

Through asking questions, people are enabled to start grappling with the issues that concern them most. The issues may be concerning their faith and other matters of life. Especially when it comes to their faith, most believers find it appropriate to ask questions relating to other people other people either than themselves. Believers find it easier to study about the doubts of John the Baptist concerning the activities of Jesus while he himself is in jail. But, the very believers find it uncomfortable to ask their own doubts about Jesus or God when they themselves are bamboozled by the problems of the world.

Far from it, I do not instigate that people must now begin to doubt God. Contrary to the method of contextualisation; problems must not be imposed onto the context. The questions must be genuinely those that arise out of the context itself as real and pertinent issues and the discussion group is there to agree on what the real and pertinent issue are.

The point I am talking about is that people must be free to ask, to probe, and to disclose their own questions and doubts concerning everything in their context (faith, education, economics, etc.).

Human resources more especially, are very important to the method of contextualisation. Here, once more, contextualisation discourages an attitude of “knowing it all”. In humility, contextualisation accepts the fact that humans are frail, humans have limitations, humans need each other in life to rally together to enjoy life and to tackle the problems of life together. As such, if there are people who have the expertise we do not have, we consult them to come along us, come work with us as equal partners in the work of contextualisation.

The method of contextualisation teaches people that we are all experts in our own right; every person has something to teach and contribute to the group like no other. That makes all of us unique and important especially when our uniqueness is deliberately acknowledged.

In contextualisation, external human expertise is solicited when the discussion group has adequately exhausted the resources among themselves. Experts by virtue of training and qualification are not just called in when there is dire need to do so. These experts are called into a situation where they must find that people have done their part as far as it was possible. This encouraging to the people invited. They do not have to start sharing about things which the group bearing its capacity and available resources inside the group itself could have done.

Experts find it challenging and fulfilling to work with thinking and determined people. People who have prepared their questions, knowing what they need from the expert, being able to state their problem, confident of what they themselves have discovered on their own, and interacting with the freedom to expose their ignorance of the subject, and freely making their contribution without being the subject, and freely making their contribution without being intimidated. Empowered people are not intimidated, even by experts.

Beyond that, contextualisation encourages people to live as they believe. The method of contextualisation is incomplete as long as the discussion has not produced a practical programme. This is seen when contextualistaion emphasises that the right doctrine (orthodoxy) must be coupled with the right living (orthopaxis). This means, it
is not enough to believe the right doctrines which you do not put into practice. In contextualistaion believing is doing. Faith is proven by works (James 2:14-16).

Contextualisation advocates that Christian doctrines for example, such as belief in equality of all humans before God be practised in real life where people need opportunities, equal access to material resources, equal access to education opportunities, equal access to political power, and equal treatment in public and in private life.

Traditionally, the trend among believers was that they have nothing to do with the things of this world as if none of these things affect their spiritual lives. Somehow, the believers were abdicating their social responsibility in the care of economists and politicians who have done their work trying to redress the problems of the world.

Regrettably, should people of God have been involved the corruptions and the misgovernment we have seen in this world done in the name of God especially in some parts of the world, would have seen this world, would have been averted or relatively minimised, probably.

The opposite could have been the case as well seeing that faith, religion, church, is a corruptible institution like any other institution. These institutions, political, societal, religious; are all made and administered by fallible humans.

So, it does not help to say, I am not involved. Traditionally, lack of involvement on our sides as churches and believers was exacerbated by lack of tools of social analysis, lack of hearing the call to mission to the world by the very God and ignorance about the world and how society works that keeps us out of sight. In our ignorance we were disempowered.

3.3. What is social analysis?

Social analysis is the heart of contextualisation. Social analysis is like the essence of a human being. Social analysis is the soul[2] of contextualisation. The life contextualisation is social analysis. Social analysis is the blood and the breath contextualisation. The analogies mentioned here mean that the heart of contextualisation is social analysis. Contextualisation gets its inspiration from social analysis. To contextualise is to analyse for the purpose of transformative and developmental activities.

Social analysis is a method of opening up a social situation for one to see how society operates. It is a tool used to gain insight of the situation one is scrutinising. This scrutinisation is done mainly by a way of asking questions.

Thought provoking questions are popular when one is doing social analysis. Thought provoking questions ask why and how. These are questions that look for reasons and, methods and procedures of operations. One is best able to discern what is happening in a context when procedures and reasons are disclosed and unfolded. The unfolding situation is a process of revealing what is going on inside. Social analysis is about that process of careful unfolding of the situation.

When unfolding has been done, the weakness and strengths of social situation are deciphered. The analysts, bearing the issue they are investigating, are enabled to work intelligently and come up with the best possible results concerning the matter under investigation.

The issue under investigation can be anything; a question about something in the Bible; a challenge to policy; a discussion on any cultural tradition; concern for the state of education. What needs to be remembered is that, no one respecting the method of contextualisation must come and dictate and impose what felt needs or a burning issue which needs discussion must be. The context must set the agenda. The group must agree.

For example, at one stage in the history of South Africa, almost the whole national context was so politicised so much that it was virtually impossible except for the extremely naive that the contextual questions were introduced by the new democratic order, the context changed as well. The questions shifted from the political to the economic. For some people what bothered most was what they observed as the decline of the moral fabric. For some, the most pressing problem was how to educate people about the AIDS/HIV pandemic which was a problem then as it is during the writing of this book.

At some areas like in the region of KwaZulu-Natal and more specifically for the sake of clarification; in the lower South Coast areas of Port Shepstone, continued violence was one single hard pressing contextual problem. There is a person would expect concerns about violence to be discussed and analysed more than the other issues of life in the South Coast.

Social analysis can be defined as the effort to obtain a more complete picture of a social situation by exploring its historical and structural relationships. Social analysis serves as a tool that permits us to grasp the reality with which we are dealing (Henriot and Hollard in De Gruchy 1986: 88)

This implies that:

Social analysis examines causes, probes consequences, delineates linkages, and identifies actors. It helps make sense of experiences by putting them into a broader picture and drawing the connections between them (ibid).

Such analysis takes history seriously. History reveals the foundations on which present and prevailing problems are based. In history, are original reasons, motivations, aims, fears, and hopes which reveal the basis of the present concerns and much more than that; history tells how things developed, in what manner and why. Such information is indispensable for the analysis and understanding of the present situation.

Besides that, there is a future orientation in the very nature and reason for contextualisation. The exercise of contextualisation and social analysis in its nature as
liberative exercise wants to change the present situation and progress to a better future situation. It is therefore imperative for all contextualists and analysts to reconstruct the situation they have been analysing and propose the way to the future based on their findings and projections.

So, as a rule, there must always be a synthesis to each and every situation which has been analysed. Doing justice to the method of contextualisation means coming up with practical applications or projects of development as a result contextualisation and social analysis exercise.

The question of structural relations plays an important role in social analysis and contextualisation. Structural relations refer to connections between institutions such as government, church, schools, family structures, welfare, including entertainment, culture, interpersonal relations, and all formal and informal structured sectors of a social context. Looking at the society comprehensively to see how structures relate and affect each other is one of the eye opening exercises social analysts and contextualisation is all about.

Much more interesting and revealing is when you look at this social-contextual picture with the historical and prevailing dynamics in perspective. See if you can project what the future would possibly look like. See it in terms of the short term and long term projections; speculating what can possibly happen when other relations and direction of currents and trends may change; and, with that in picture speculate how the future will look like if you can make such and such deliberate interference.

When you do that, your analysis will be enriched with various possibilities of future arrangements, which is what we expect a contextualist and analyst to be able to do. If such projections are mastered, liberative and developmental programmes in education if you like, can be suggested with more meaning and possibility of success.

One more factor you need not miss is the opinion makers and influential actors in a social context. You find most of these from our national, regional and local political, business, academic, ecclesial and cultural leaders. Study what they say; to whom they say and why they say it; and how it affects who and why. These opinion makers
reveal factors of what is going on in society. Watch them as indicators as you analyse them.

Methodologies of social analysis as practical procedures of doing contextualisation.

Henriot and Hollard (1987) suggest that a method they term a ‘Pastoral circle’ which is, an unending continuous process in which there is; Insertion; Analysis; Theological reflection; and Pastoral planning of action.

Insertion is a step in which a contextualist becomes a member or becomes at one with the community one is analysing. Analysts are called upon to be incarnated into the community. To incarnate is to put on the whole context of the community. As is, this is a long process. Yet, in order to know it whenever it is practically possible it must be encouraged; i.e.; a long period of insertion. If not, looking at time constrains and financial limitations this can be bridged by doing contextualisation as a team of researchers and analysts as a necessary substitute to staying for a long time with the community. Once more, teachers are strategic. They are already inserted in the schools, churches and communities we seek to help.

Though, as a standing recommendation, to gain greater insight into the life context of the community the researchers must spend a reasonably long time with the community. Yet, to research as a group will be helpful and will be in line with the method of contextualisation; so that the potential blind spots and misunderstandings can be minimised and reduced through group observation and group analysis.

Just imagine going out as local church group to do research in a certain local situation or to a certain local group even within in your immediate community, with the aim of discovering the attitudes of people towards Jesus of faith or the Bible.

Compare the results of your enquiry with what you read from the Bible to be an attitude of a certain group of people of a certain community (in the Bible) towards Jesus e.g. the Pharisees. Consider the situations you are comparing.

Will this way of Bible study not bring new interests on issues of Bible and faith in the local congregation? Will this be not an innovation and incentive for believers to participate actively in church programmes? I am confident that people will have a new interest in this contextualised way of doing Bible study. In addition to just studying the Bible, participants get trained in doing research through this viable anthropological method of participant observation i.e. you and your group are observers, but you also participate in the life of the community you are observing.

Insertion therefore has to do with the putting on of the local context. Biblically speaking, it is like God in Christ in assuming the human flesh, becoming like humans, suffering like humans, putting on carnality (that is what is meant by the incarnation of Christ); being one with humans in feelings, passions, temptations, trials, and dying the real death; the death of the cross (Phil. 2: 1-11).

How much is life like a perpetual cross for the majority of people on earth? How much are leaders not like Jesus Christ? How much therefore is incompatibility between our cross (life) and our humanness (human experience of consciousness and ‘being’)? There is no match between humans as the crucified ones and life as a cross on which they are continually being crucified. There is too much pain on this cross. We need the Holy Spirit to empower us just like She empowered Jesus Christ.

Contextual analysis therefore must be done inside the community. Where possible, if not always, the community must have full participation in the whole process of contextualisation. Analysis must be done as objectively as it is humanly possible. Both the community and the contextual analysis must describe the facts of their findings before they can make any value judgements. It is only at the level of projects and programmes proposal where people may start making value judgements as an exercise of looking for methods and praxes that will ensure improved conditions.

It is worth mentioning this at this point that here is an immature place to start making such judgements. Yet, many contextual analysts start making judgements on the basis of a few facts. That is not helpful. It denies you the depth of thoroughgoing analysis you need. You may begin to describe the facts; look for more information; see the
areas you are not completely and sufficiently satisfied with; unearth as much facts as possible. Should there be some more crucial facts, which will make a difference and drastic changes in your possible conclusions go much deeper and spend a bit more time to inquire?

When you analyse, dissect society into its minute component parts. Separate each social entity from the individual child to mega commercial enterprises; think and imagine how each entity affects the whole; ask questions; ask question; ask questions (sic); find the reasons why society functions as it does. Do this exercise in community. Convene the research report-back meeting; report; collect facts; discuss areas which need more research; collect facts; collate facts; discuss areas which need more research; discuss the most revealing an thought provoking questions you need to ask; formulate questions properly. Do all this in collaborations with the members of the community.

In your report back meetings, at some point you will have attracted some members of the community. Co-opt them; incorporate them; brief them about the whole intention of the exercise unless the experiment you are conducting debars you to go up to this extent in collaboration with ‘objects’ for your research. But, in most of the contextualisation exercises you will find that the members of the community are invaluable.

Reflect theologically about what you are observing together with your research team/ discussion group/ Bible study group/ contextualisation group/ whatever name you call yourselves.

Find parallels in the Bible; Church; School; State; Companies; Individuals; Communities or whatever alternative you choose for assessment and comparison depending on the theme; topic; statement; issues; problem or whatever you are contextualising about.

Theological reflection has to do with the looking at issues from the perspective of religious thinking and religious values. Thinking theologically is was of clarifying religious convictions so that they make sense to you and to those who will access
what you have thought. Your Biblical knowledge however small it might be must be fully used in your quest to understand issues you are contextualising theologically or Biblically. Your faith, religious experiences and those of others are invaluable sources of thinking theologically. Implore them as much as possible. Mix them with your contextual analytical findings or your research findings.

When you reflect theologically, ask yourselves questions such as: what does the Bible say about this subject we have looked at? What were the prevailing circumstances in the Bible times? How was this issue resolved in the Bible? Why was it resolved in that way and not otherwise?

You may also ask yourselves: Why was this a problem for the church in the Bible? How did the early church go about the problem? How did the Catholic Church resolve this issue? How did the Protestant Church approach this subject? What is the position of the Evangelical and the Charismatic Church in this matter? Ask why the resolution was one way and not the options, which were there? These are just example questions. You will have more questions than you can handle as soon as you start with your practical contextualisation.

You may ask existential and experiential questions such as: What does the Holy Spirit say to us about this which we have seen in our contextualisation efforts and what we read about in the Bible or what we discover the church has said? How does God speak to us as a result of this exercise? Can we learn anything form other Christians who have gone thorough this challenge? What is the best way of responding as Christians?

In your theological reflection you must compare situations with situations, people with people, resolutions with resolutions, the spiritual with the spiritual, context with context, and do it both analytically (section by section or part by part) and synthetically. Be systematic.

Reflecting synthetically is consonant with the method of contextualisation. It is when you begin to look at the context as a whole; seeing things not as parts but as holistic; looking at the situation as a unit; looking at it monistically, as an uncompartmentalised whole where things are coherently related and where each dimension of the whole affects the whole context or entity.

You compare as you think and question theologically; you correlate; differentiate; evaluate, draw principles; extract models; discover methods; learn lessons.

In correlation you observe similarities and draw conclusions about what you see as related issues, or similar issues and check if the circumstances around correlating issues are comparable. In your differentiation you look for the differences; look for the reconcilable differences; identify some irreconcilable differences. In your evaluation make values judgements, say why you think what is good or bad; say why you recommend this or that; say why you think what was wrong or right, who was wrong or right.

You evaluation must always be substantiated with convincing reasons. Your analytical contextualisation data collection will have equipped you to make such value judgements. You will not be making them out of the darkness and ignorance. The method of contextualisation is designed to eliminate irrational and unfounded facts, false conclusions and uninformed judgements. You must wait long enough until you have gathered sufficient information before you make this stage of conclusion of your contextualisation exercise.

At this stage you shall have arrived at a point where your contextualisation group can extract principles, models and methods for further enquiry. Principles are standard statements, which stand to be a set of guidelines, which will stand for a reasonably long time before they can be proved unworkable and outdated. Such principles can be drawn out of an exercise which itself has taken a reasonably long time being worked on in the form of a contextualisation programme.

It therefore follows that contextualisation demands that its proponents, especially its practitioners either be the people who come out of the communities themselves as a recommendation or people who have organised and planned to stay for a reasonably long time situation.

As people ask questions, analyse, contextualise and make interim judgements, supervise their work; patterns emerge in the form of answers to certain kinds of
questions; conclusions on certain set of facts; observations on certain similar situations which patterns reveal models, shapes of ideas, pictures of events out of which the group can draw clear models of what is emerging during the process of contextualisation.

For example, say the group discovers that when you mention God in the contexts of the poor communities there is a certain recurrent reaction that occurs and that every time God is put into conversation in these communities the same reaction occurs. The group may draw either a principle statement or a model informed by that reaction.

Like all other methods, contextualisation methods are tools of helping people go about a project in a systematic way and in a way that can be most revealing and unearthing that otherwise. No method is able to do all which is necessary and possible in doing research or analysis alone. Contextualisation as a method of social enquiry accepts that point that it can do so much and that it is only an addition to other methods which have their place in research and who have proven that they contribute in helping humans to understand how society works without pretence that it (contextualisation method) has it all nor knows it all.

In the process of contextualisation, tools (methods) are refined and are made better than they were first employed. Methods of contextualisation are not rigid. They are actually meant to be adjustable to suit the situations in which they are used. At times tools wear out and brakes get old and rusted and finally become disused. These are situations where the theoretical methods such as the theory of contextualisation may not work as expected. The very theory of contextualisation promotes the freedom to adjust, review change, adapt, and contextualise as the concept suggests. This is what will make the method and theory of contextualisation durable.

To contextualise means that the situation must set the agenda; the method must serve the process; meaning the method must be used to help us do the work of contextualisation, and what must be most important is not the theory and the method, ultimately, though one cannot dispense of a theory just like that, otherwise you will have no philosophical basis for you enquiry or from which you refer to keep your argument in line and consistent, but that context must speak to us and we must listen.

The method and the theory are not an end to themselves. Yet, the practice and the projects are not are not an end to themselves as well. But, both the theory and the practice, the method and the project must continually feed into each other and are inseparable.

Contextualisation is about listening to the context as it speaks to you. It is not about bringing pre-packaged messages that are alleged to be absolute and unchangeable as if these messages do not come out of particular contexts too. Contextualisation wants to be open to the acknowledgement that even God speaks in a context; revelation comes out of a context; truth claims come out of contexts; yet the context is not absolute too; it stands under scrutiny and challenge in conversation with other contexts that impact on it. Local contexts stand to be measured and judged, critiqued and corrected by global contexts.

So, in every contextualisation event, people must learn new lessons and must be open to be taught by the people they are contextualising with and those they are contextualising about. Conventionally, people are used to learning from teachers, professors, preachers, priests, politicians and some outstanding people. These are people who teach us almost as officially licensed teachers and others by virtue of their high social standing, and others because of their knowledge as experts on certain subjects.

It is at this point of learning where the method of contextualisation makes a remarkable contribution in terms of empowering the voiceless people both in church and society to be heard. Contextualisaton acknowledges lessons that are taught by the unofficial [3] teachers. There is an invaluable treasure of knowledge which is suppressed among our communities and churches. The so called ordinary church people have stores of Bible experiences, spiritual knowledge, textual interpretation which the official have either learned to despise or have forgotten about deliberately because, at one stage of their lives, long before they themselves were influenced to the contrary by other officially appointed teachers, had this grassroots knowledge.

Contextualisation is about unearthing grassroots information; giving the local people space in the arena of influence by ‘word’ (language/ power of speech). How empowering it is to discover the power of your own ‘word’. For example in most Bible study sessions, the Bible study teachers and leaders are the ones who dominate the privilege to interpret the text and they do most of the talking. Their ‘word’ is the one that heard all the time. Contextualisation wants increase the level of participation of ordinary people, distribute the privilege to interpret text, make the ‘word’ of ordinary people heard and conscientise the official teachers about the necessity of listening to and taking the interpretations of the ordinary people more seriously than before.

As a methodological requirement of contextualisation, the contextualising group is, obliged to implement their discoveries. Contextualisation aims at application of knowledge and not to have knowledge for the sake of itself. The same applies to Bible knowledge of doctrines; they are meant for application in real life. Otherwise what is the point of knowing the Bible and believing the right doctrines?

Contextualisation wants to have both the right doctrines as well as the appropriate application and living out of those doctrines in real life contexts. Therefore, what the contextualising group discovers must be put to practice in real life. The purpose of contextualisation is to help people improve their conditions: be they conditions of Bible engagement; living conditions; the need to reflect on their financial needs and how to tackle those according to the principles or the teachings of the Bible etc.

Contextualisation method teaches people to transform their findings into projects, programmes and practical activities. Contextualisation encourages practice and action. At the heart of contextualisation is the need to practice what you preach; to live according to your beliefs. e.g. You may not teach equality of all humans before God and the law and practice slavery and bias application of the law. It is also required by the method of contextualisation to keep on thinking and reflecting on all what you do.

4.4 Tasks for local and regional branches

  1. Every school has its spiritual and administrative problems. The effective solution to any problem requires research. A research reveals the nature and the reasons of the problem. Communities/ schools/ fellowships are better equipped to solve their problems if they understand what the nature and the reasons for the problems are.

Form a contextualising group that will offer its services to the spiritual and administrative structures of the school. Take the problems as subjects/ topics for contextualisation/ research. Give the results of your observations to the structures as suggestions and recommendations for possible solutions.

  1. Send a copy of the exercise (statement of the problem, procedure of contextualisation/ research and the report) to the provincial office of contextualisation. Do this exercise at least once a year.

 

CHAPTER 2

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME…:

  1. 4:18 – 20.

This chapter is a demonstration of what has been explained as what is required of a contextualisation group. Further explanation is given as follows. Thereafter a demonstration on how you can go about contextualising Luke 4: 18 – 20, in the light of engagement in the transformative and development exercises be it in school,

church and community at large.

Contextualisation as a method of conscientisation encourages deliberate awareness of what is going on around us. Politisation as consciousness of what is going on concentrating on concerning rules, regulations, laws, policies which regulates and determine our life is an important component of contextualisation. Research as method of getting the facts exposed as empirical and as objective as possible is also important for contextualisation.

Social analysis as opening up your community to see what it contains and how it functions is a revealing tool of social relationships. Revelation in the sense of the realisation of the Word of God that speaks through local ordinary people in their contexts is a truth that has to acknowledged. Contextualisation in its nature is a demanding exercise. It becomes exacerbated when applied to faith and religion where the object of an inquiry is extremely inaccessible.

Contextualisation demands an awareness, a realisation and a consideration that are numerous factors at play which determine ‘meaning’; concept formation; the formation of a world view and which determine how people will act and react in different situations. Some of the most common factors are the delivery of the literally meaning people get from written texts of a particular time and of as historical nature. The geographical setting in which the events are happening the political scenario at the time when things happened; the religious hopes and presuppositions at the time when the events happened; the cultural practises of the time; and the economic situation of the time, must be considered.

But, this must not make the whole process impossible. If the problem you are contextualising about is clear enough, you will realise what is essential for the in- depth social analysis thereof. So, you may not need all other side consideration to come to a viable and desirable conclusion.

Besides that, one has to consider the presupposition of the time. Ask yourself what people assume to be the ‘truth’. How people came to know what is true according to the judgement and assessments of the time. In addition to that, find out what was implicit and what was explicit at the time. Find out what people needed to explain in their conversations and what they did not have to explain. Find out what was culturally acceptable and what was not. Find out what was spiritually commendable and what was not. Find out what was politically correct and what was not. Find out who were licence teachers and interpreters and who were not and why. Find out about everything you possibly can and what you need for your inquiry. You may not need everything as mentioned earlier.

Doing this exercise equips you with the most desired conditions of the understanding. One is better able to have an elaborate frame of reference, which will help you to contextualise as thorough as possible. You will also be able to reconstruct the situation of the community you are investigating if you consider the whole frame of reference and conditions for understanding should the community be historically geo- politically apart from you. The more the community or the problem is apart from you, the more consideration you must take on. The more you are an outsider to the problem and the situation the more considerations you need.

We are going to deal with four themes that are explicitly spoken about in the text of Luke. 4: 18 – 20. Those themes are: 1. Good news to the poor. 2. Liberty to the captives. 3. Recovery of sight to the blind, and 4. Release of the oppressed.

4.1. Good news to the poor.

We need to be aware that our basic text (Luke. 4: 18 – 20) was read by Jesus in the Synagogue in the context of Roman Palestine. The original premise of this text is
located within the Levitical theocratic[4] and ethnarchic[5] rule. Then the Jubilee system was established (Lev. 25: 10 – 27: 24f). Then, the text was quoted by the Prophet Isaiah during the monarchical rule of Israel in the context of the Priestly- Patriarchal leadership (Isaiah. 61: 1ff). In this text, the Prophet appraises the ideal of Jubilee as a promise for socio-economic not excluding the spiritual and political success of Israel’s future after exile. Isaiah applies this text 10 centuries after its original introduction to the people of Israel. During all that time, there is nowhere in the scripture where it is shown that this system was successfully implemented. Yet the Prophet felt that that is the way to go in terms of economic and spiritual transformation. It is in the Babylonian exile where the seeds of eschatological[6] hope were sawn (Is. 61: 1ff).

As mentioned earlier, Jesus quotes this text during the Roman rule over Israel. In all the three context in which the text has been used, i.e.; (1) Leviticus’; (2) Isaiah’s; (3) Jesus’ time; the poor of Israel who always constituted the majority of God’s people and who always suffered hardships under various kinds of leadership and socio­economic arrangements are of focus and a bone of contention in all these contexts.

The Jubilee system was meant to return their human dignity and to protect them from perpetual subjection to poverty and misery. The relocation of land and freedom from slavery were the two major areas of demand the Jubilee system was advocating. The success of the possible transformation and development of the people of Israel was based on the issue of reacquisition of land and freedom for all to start a new fiscal period of seven Sabbaths.

Jesus speaks to in a context where the majority of the people is both materially and spiritually unbearable. One way of effecting a radical reversal and change of such a situation was to implement a transformative programme which would address the whole situation simultaneously. The transformation programme which Jesus proposed and reiterated is in short summarised in Luk. 4: 18 – 20; our demonstration text. This
is what Isaiah proposed in his time as a future solution for both the spiritual and the political problems of Israel.

But the crux of the mater is how can transformation programmes be implemented in the situations of the poor and the marginalized communities in such a way that people will be empowered to rise above their situations of misery, poverty and ignorance.

4.1.1. The socio-economic factors as a phenomenon.

Overpopulation: Israel was for a considerably long time a self-sufficient people.

These people who were along self-sufficient as subsistence farmers migrated to the emerging Hellenistic cities causing situations of overpopulation and squalor. These people formed a pool of labour market. They had to survive the hardships of a growing urbanisation through selling their unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour. The nature of a growing urbanisation is that it does not afford to pay lucratively. The new urban workers remain at a worker level with no scope of rising to highly skilled employment opportunities. Yet demand for labour always stands.

This was increase and made possible through the ‘encloser system’ which created a huge labour pool without adequate land and employment in these growing Hellenistic cities. In addition to the ‘encloser system’ was the ‘putting out system’. This system was put in place to turn them into skilled and semi-skilled labourer in the growing cities.

In addition to that were the taxations which were introduced which contributed to the impoverishment of rural areas, discouraging rural crafts and creating a need to seek employment in the cities. So, as a result, most people proffered to migrate to cities. The cities population density increased in leaps and bounds.

Concentration of possessions: The new socio-economic system of roman colonialism in Palestine propagated concentration of possession and the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the ‘absentee landlords’, the traders, the aristocracy, and the collaborating ‘temple cult’ which consisted of the priesthood.

Property and wealth was accumulated through confiscation and disposition of the land. The first 10% of a rural[7] person’s income produce was collected for the Roman capital and was used for the administration of the Roman colonial Empire. The second 10% went to the Herodian dynasty who ruled the Palestinian colony on behalf of the Romans. The third tithe (10%) went to the Temple Aristocracy which was used for the Temple administration and for running the local civilian life. Other taxes for hire belonged and facilities in the property of the ‘absentee landlord’ and for privileges of being on the land which now belonged to the new owners and no longer the Lord Yawer (Jehovah) were paid to the landlord.

All the institutions which had the political and the spiritual right to collect taxes had control of the Army. Should any person not cooperate in payments, the Roman soldiers who were known for their bravery and ruthlessness were sent to collect the monies or to confiscate the little belongings of those who failed to comply.

In addition to that, there were numerous taxes collected for trading, grazing and harvesting. Therefore, reading the Bible with this situation in mind, texts such as those of settling the accounts in the narratives of Jesus and the ‘gospel’ writers began to shed a new light. People were captives to taxation, Roman Army surveillance, tithes; so much that this was affecting their spiritual and socio-religious institutions as well. People were finding it more and more difficult to finance their religious life. Some of the text you can refer to are: Matthew 5:25, 26; 17:24 – 27; 18: 23ff, 23:23.

Social mobility: social mobility whether horizontal, vertical or diagonal as an upward, downward and sideways movement of people in society as it happened in Palestine and as it could have been in any disturbed social arrangement, shattered traditional values of Israel’s holistic spirituality, disturbed Israel’s communality, created social dissonance. Created social banditry, fomented the urge of socio economic revolution, created separatist movements such as the Pharisees and others, and consequently there was social stratification though at that time the social class system was not known, nut is was very clear who were ruling and who were ruled.

It was also very clear who were inclined to cooperate with the new order. They would be the urbanised people who hoped to get a share in the new order. The rural people who were renowned for their resistance to the new order would form revolutionary movements such as the Zealots and other bandit movements. The quest and the essence of revolution is the prime indicator of the need for transformation, equalisation and development.

When such situations erupt in ones lifetime and context and you happen to be amongst the losers, the dispossessed, the marginalized and the oppressed, you develop the longing for the reversal of the prevailing unjust order. The disadvantaged people begin to look for drastic changes, for revolution, renewal and revival. For Israel the whole need for change was influenced by their history with Jehovah who had given them as they claim, the land of Palestine, giving them the Prophets, Judges (Liberators/Saviours/Deliverers), the Kings and Priests to see the welfare, safety and prosperity of Israel. Now in the face of Roman rule the hope of Israel was shattered. Thus the need for a Messiah was revived more than ever before.

Jesus and his movement came forward amongst other such movements in Palestine as direct contextual response to the prevailing situation. Jesus and his movement acme to give hope to the hopeless. Such envisaged hope was expected to be so effective and so holistic that it will release and liberate Israel from all areas in which they have been oppressed – spiritual and material.

This movement more specifically amongst others had a clear commitment to the plight of the poor and the impoverished. This commitment came to be known as ‘good news’ to the poor. Actually this is what Jesus announced he came to do in Lk. 4: 18 – 20. the renewal theme for Jesus and those who will follow him was: ‘The Reign of God’ which came as good news for the poor. This is what Jesus promised to deliver with all of his followers. This Rein of God had to do with all the renewal of the present order and the revival of Israel to put it at its rightful place. Where they knew only Jehovah as their ruler and no one else.

Here are some texts that will be revealed anew as you read them with this context in mind (Mt. 4 18 – 21; Mark. 1: 14 – 19; Lk. 5: 1 – 11).

Exposition of good news to the poor.

As mentioned at the beginning of this discourse, Jesus read from the book of Isaiah 61: 1 – 2a. A full disclosure of the text Jesus read from Isaiah now recorded in Lk. 4: 18 – 20 is written in Isaiah 61 – 62:12. There you read good news to the poor in its sociological setting, its spiritual promises and its political promises.

Jesus call for a radical reversal form oppression to liberation, form spiritual dearth to spiritual revival, from backsliding to complete trust in God. As we the prophet Isaiah Jesus espoused a jubilee whether it ever be worked out or not; the lord Jesus and Isaiah espoused it as a possible solution to the problems of Israel. A full description of the year of the Lord which is the year of reversal, renewal, revival, revolution (change) and equalisation is recorded on the book of Leviticus. 25: 1 – 27:34.

Needless to say that for Jesus to call for such a restructuring and a reconstruction of His society in undoubting words shows the radicality of His movement, their commitment to transformation and development. Jesus was serious about his intentions to establish the reign of God on earth “as it is in Heaven” (Mt. 6:9 – 15; Lk. 11: 1 – 4).

Identification of the poor to whom good news is preached.

The poor in the context of Jesus are those who are as a result of the situation we have elaborately described have lost their spiritual, cultural and political identity. The temple, the Dynasty, and the Priesthood, which were the three institutions of Israel which gave it the political, cultural, social and religious identity and meaning were completely compromised to the new Hellenistic order.

Unfortunately, the compromise to the status quo was not helpful to the majority of the suffering masses. All these institutions of the Kingship, the Priesthood and the traditional prophetic movement had lost the redemptive salvific vision of Jehovah and
were as a result in lamentable states. Something had to be done about the situation and the Jesus movement came in as a possible solution to the problems of the day and consequently came in as substitution if not a radical renewal and transformation of these institutions.

Israel was like a people who did not know their God. They were like sheep without a shepherd. Such people like Israel then, who did not know their God and have no spiritual resources to sustain themselves in time of trial and temptation, are susceptible and prone to defeat by both their spiritual and political opponents. These were the poor of the times of Jesus.

The poor are those who due to the confiscation and dispossession of their land and property have lost their means of production and as it were in Jesus’ Palestine, through the retainer system, and through the buying out system, their traditional replacement[8] system was fundamentally undermined and as a result there came conditions of need, poverty, lack of grain, inability to finance their religious and spiritual ceremonies which had played an important and indispensable role in keeping their hope and faith in God over the years.

It was this hope that kept them believing that the situation will be almighty someday. The inability to pay ever increasing rentals; a thing which they never knew nor contemplated could ever happened to them traditionally, the inability to pay all tithes and taxes, which took 30%- 40% of their hard earned income or crops kept them ever getting deeper into debts year in year out.

As a result people accruing unbearable financial and spiritual, debts became spiritually and socio-ethically wearied, demoralised and hopeless. How much more poorer can the poorest of the poor be? What can redeem if the Messiah and God cannot intervene and redeem? What can save if God cannot save? The hope of the poor is in a God who saves comprehensively. To this saving God the poor kept on looking.

The poor are those who when lured by the prosperity and prospects of Hellenistic city states could not resist the temptation; only to find that they formed a large pool of labour, conditions of competition in which they were not competitors proper compared to the property owners and the well to do. The poor created inadvertently, conditions of unemployment. The poor began to learn ways of making money unjustly and unequally when they had the opportunity to do so. They learned to pull and push others down on their attempt to go up. They learned how to evade payment of debts and yet would not tolerate anyone to owe them.

Inevitably, conditions of moral emptiness were formed. There was a dire need for moral and spiritual revival. Financial needs and spiritual needs went together. For these people, salvation could be nothing else than a radical socio-economic and spiritual restructuring of society. This eminent need for spiritual reawakening implicated the Temple and exposed the irrelevancy of the Temple’s spiritual programme, which was so sold out to the prevailing unjust order that something drastic must happen to restructure it. Jesus came to the Temple and prophesied against it. In that way Jesus championed the plight of the poor and oppressed.

In the time of Jesus, among the poor were the beggars, the blind, the disabled, the aged, women, children and workers.

Way forward:

As a way forward, Jesus formed a renewal movement that was meant to implement his transformative and comprehensive mission programme which he announced in Lk. 4: 18-20.

One of the qualifications of participation in Jesus’ renewal

(Revive/revolutionary/reconstruction) movement was to have no vested interest for personal material gain during the struggle for transformation and after the struggle as a direct result of the engagement in the programme.

One was expected to sacrifice one’s social ties and social comfort; to sacrifice financial securities, personal protection, but total commitment to the implementation of the Reign of God (Mk. 10: 28-30).

Among those who were called were the labourers and the heavy-laden (Mt. 11:28), the fisherman (sic) (Lk. 5:1ff), the socio-economic lunatic (Mk. 5:14-20) and the controversial collectors.

Generally, this was a calling to soil rootlessness; a calling to become a wandering charismatic; sometimes called Prophets, Righteous Apostles, Disciples of the Lord, Teachers, almost like cynic philosophers[9].

4.1.2. The socio-ecological factor as a phenomenon

It must be brought into perspective the division and the alienation between the Hellenistic cities and the hinterland. Taking Jerusalem and its socio-ecological relations especially relations with the hinterland; in matters of religion, economics and politics. Jerusalem was religiously conservative, spiritually disintegrating, morally embarrassing, and politically compromised to the status quo. There was no hope that there could be any political resistance and spiritual revival emanating from Jerusalem at that time.

The hinterland was critical, uncompromised, radical, angry and rebellious. Almost in all cases the troubles of the Roman government with the Israelites came from people of the hinterland. Somehow these people had nothing to loose but all to gain in their resistance against the status quo. The hinterland produced resistance movements like the Jesus movement; it produced bandit movements and rebels, which made life and rule very difficult for the Roman colonialists. The hinterland made Palestine ungovernable. It is more revealing that Jesus was associated with people who came from the hinterland.

As for the Temple as the heart of religious, economic, social and political activity was wearied, overburdened and demoralised.

Almost all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were Indirectly dependent on the Temple. Cattle dealers,

Money changers, tanners, shoemakers etc; all lived of It (Theissen 1974: 52).

In any case, Jerusalem was not economically viable. Its religio-political ambiguity, its controversial position vis-a-vis the colonial Rome and its religious conservatism were not commercially expedient. Thus the Temple proceeds and products were of low quality. Lots of the inhabitants of the city and its immediate surroundings scrambled over the very low quality products that were produced form Jerusalem.

The main commercial route that would have its economy went through Gaza to Transjordan. This route passed far away from Jerusalem deliberately. Historically, Jerusalem and Israel as a people had created enemies for themselves when they conquered people of this region. The kings of Judah that ruled from Jerusalem had made battle with the people of the region over the years.

The Philistines in particular and other Canaanites became hostile to Jerusalem and its peoples. This strained relationship affected trading and commerce with Jerusalem much to the detriment of Jerusalem. The Philistines and the Canaanites embarked on a socio-ecological and socio-political isolation of Jerusalem and its Temple.

But still, the Temple isolated as it is and with limited resources was the largest employer in the region of Judah. Most of the captives who were actually prisoners of context were subjected to hard labour in the Temple economy. These labourers worked in the Temple lands, in the lands of the Temple Aristocracy, in the lands of Monarchs of Israel at one stage, and among the homes of the Jews.

With the advent of Roman rule, a new type of prisoner emerged. These were people who became prisoners as a result of the economic exploitation in the Hellenistic cities emerged other prisoners who were those who became common criminals directly and
indirectly as a social development germinated by a labour unfriendly economy. This information begins to shed light on the words of Lk. 4: 18-20 where we read Jesus saying, “I have come to set the captives free”. One realises that Jesus was ministering in a situation where there were real prisoners and not spiritual prisoners as is always taught in our churches.

During the rebuilding of the Temple of Herod, which took 40years to complete, Herod had employed 11000 labourers. At the completion of the project 18000 people were still employed at the Temple alone. In addiction, the Temple employed 1000 poor priests who were rotating between the Temple and the hinterland where they had small plot holdings managed by peasants. The Temple was the region of Judah in particular; actually a mall with a lot of free markets selling animals, clothing and food. Jesus described it as a den of robbers (Mt. 21: 12-13).

Jerusalem as it is described produced robbers. Out of need and want people had to survive in this context. Young people traversed the Transjordan commercial highway to rob the traders and merchants of their goods and food. These goods ended in the markets of Jerusalem. Some of the commodities inescapably ended up in the worship and service of God in the Temple.

One begins to understand; the Essenes, a religious separatist ascetic and pietistic renewal group which settled in the desert waiting for God’s eminent intervention in the situation. They rejected the sacrificial worship of the Temple together with priests and Aristocrats. They simple said that the whole process was profane. Theissen says:

“The Zealots murdered large numbers of Temple Aristocrats” (1974: 54); so was the depth of hatred, discredit and disregard for these Temple leadership among the revolutionaries and revival movements in Israel. Jesus prophesied about the Temple and its status quo that it will soon be destroyed (Mt.24: 1-2; 26: 61-63; Mk.13: 1-2; 14: 56-59; Lk. 21: 5-6).

Jesus’ prophecy was rather radical. The prophecy did not suggest a renewal of the Temple per se but a total destruction of the whole institution as it stood and what it stood for at that time in history. You remember that the Jesus movement was a
countryside group. There it operated successfully and had a large support from the local communities. The ‘sympathisers’ as they were called were people in the countryside who supported the Jesus movement. These were people to whom economic pressure was the greatest (Lk. 18: 1-3).

As a response to the burdens the workers, country side people, and sympathisers had to bare (Mt. 11: 28; 23: 1-39), they used absenteeism and blatant rebellion against ‘absentee landlords’[10] of whom some were Temple Aristocrats and priests (Mk. 12: 1ff; Lk. 13: 6ff; 19: 11-27).

Way forward: As a way forward, Jesus announced an apocalyptic vision which will culminate with the inauguration of the eternal Reign of God which is perfectly egalitarian, universal, inclusive, pure and just (Rev. 22: 1ff).

4.1.3. The socio-political factor as a phenomenon

The ideal theocratic rule is the best expressed in the words of Psalm 47. The Jesus movement idealised it and vehemently worked for it. The Jesus movement is better described as radical theocratic movement. It was a very controversial movement as too. It was inconstant in its dealing with people, issues and situations. At one point this movement was conciliatory at another it was provocative and yet at another it was moderate and radical in other situations.

This Jesus movement can be described as a prophetic movement (Mk. 16: 15ff), a resistance movement, and a renewal movement (Mt. 19: 28). As a prophetic movement it was expected to challenge the ruling status quo head-on. As a resistance movement it was expected not to hesitate in taking up arms against the oppressors of the time. As a renewal movement it was expected to bring spiritual revival and a new social order for all in Israel.

Expectations: The Jesus movement raised expectations of the end of Roman rule, the end of the Temple Aristocracy, and the end of the traditional theocracy which was in fact a representative [11] theocracy in which the Priests who turned to be corrupt, governed in the name of God, collected tithes in the name of God, and must now be removed in the same name of God and no longer be replaced until the full Reign of God is put in place according to the impression that Jesus gave. Jesus was now going to be the High Priest forever and will appoint all believers to be priests unto God together with him (Rev. 1: 6). His disciples were promised to occupy 12 seats of the government and will judge the 12 tribes of Israel (Mat. 19: 28; Lk. 22: 30).

Jesus’ teachings raised expectations of imminent eschatology which must came through a cataclysmic [12] intervention of God using charismatic and mythical figures depicted by Jesus movement whose word of prophecy must not be despised whatsoever (Mt. 12: 31, 32). These were expectations raised for the imminent establishment of the Reign of God (Mt. 8: 28; Mk. 9: 1; 14: 25; Lk. 14: 15; 22: 29f).

The political crises Jesus was addressing: A complex of political crises were plaguing Roman Palestine. These crises had accumulated over the years. One could mention chronologically form the establishment of theocratic Israel which collapsed to give way to a period of monarchical rule which landed to Assyrian and Babylonian captivity. The Persians then the Greeks ruled over Israel which was struggling since, then to establish a strong and a respectable autonomy under a legitimate priesthood.

The Roman rule increased and deepened these crises more than they were before. The Roman introduces a system of both indirect rule from the Roman capital itself and direct rule on the ground by foreign representatives of the Roman government with the help of collaborating individuals, institutions and groups within Israel itself. The Roman exacerbated the problem by introducing both a centralised form of government which was controlled from Rome and a decentralised form of a local government which was ruled on the ground at regional level which caused a proliferation of taxations in the form of local, regional, national, religious and
commercial taxations. It was the poorest and hard working communities of the hinterland which felt the pain and the weight of this system more than the others in this type of social arrangement.

Moreover, there was a crisis of ethnarchy; another crisis was that of a constant state of constitutional instability which was a result of rulers who did not say long to stabilise the situation in Israel so that with every new person coming into power and leadership there would be constant change to the way Israel must be ruled. Each person who came in to rule was interested in making money through taxation as soon as possible before their turn was over.

Israel was the most resistant and the most unruly and troublesome among all the provinces under Roman Rule. The Israelites were always unwilling to be ruled by foreigners, and because of their disposition, Rome would not give them the latitude to rule themselves because there was always a potential for revolution and resistance or even defiance and cessation from the Roman rule by Israel.

The crisis was further increased by the tripolar rule of the Herodian dynasty, the Hasmonian dynasty which was supposed to be the legitimate successor to the Davidic dynasty, and the Priestly Aristocracy which was by now completely sold out to the present status quo which they hoped to get the best of the worst deal. Whilst there were crises, the messes suffered the consequences spiritually, politically and otherwise. Jesus mentions some of these problems which faced His movement in Lk. 4: 18-28.

Way forward: Jesus did not give a political prescription as a solution to the problem. Sadly, he was arrested, tried, not found guilty, not given justice ironically in a system that became reputable for its justice ironically in a system that became reputable for its justice, executed as a religio-political insurrectionist, a bandit, a robber, an unturnable hardened criminal, and a dreaded revolutionary. He left His disciples with a parable (Lk. 19: 11 -28), especially the words of mission remain a challenge to those who want engage in transformative and developmental actions in their situations.

4.2. Liberty to the captives.

Among the captives were those who were foreigners and strangers to Israel who came in either as a victims of the circumstances, who were allocated duties in the palaces, working in the fields owned by Priests, Kings and well to do people or those who were imprisoned because of their radical action against the status quo. Some worked as farm labourers, and some as domestic servants. Like all other poor people, these labourers looked for the redemption of God.

Other poor captives and prisoners who needed release, freedom and redemption were those who were created by the industrialisation and the urbanisation which came with the Hellenistic city states. Among these are those who may be called common criminals of the modern time. In Jesus’ time these were the bandits, robbers, revolutionaries, radicals, rascals. These people were locked up by the army in its endeavour to keep he ‘pax romana’ (peace of Rome/ law and order), to protect the property of the retainers, landlords, traders, Kings and Priests.

Some of these poor people and captives were locked up and punished for socio- pathological, socio-psychological and socio-dissonant behaviour which was a result of the social conditions and not their own deliberate making. The response of the poor prisoners was actually an expression of the general social disintegration and social revolt of which they were helpless victims (Mk. 5: 1-20).

Another category of captives of captives covers the realm of those possessed and oppressed by evil spirits, the sick, the lepers and all those who constituted the rubble of society. For this group, in a very specific way, Jesus calls the disciples, ordains them, equips them with the power of the disciples of the Holy Spirit and anoints them to heal the sick and to cast out devils (Mk. 3: 14- 15). The Jesus’ healing ministry was part of the redemption programme which will culminate in the introduction of the reign of God.

Typical to oppressive social and spiritual structures, evil spirits flourish, people get mentally disturbed, some became completely despondent and so desperate in life that they abandon friends and families. When Jesus came in the scene, he healed the sick,
brought the insane to their senses, healed the broken- hearted and set the captives free (Lk. 4: 18- 20).

4.3. Release to the poor and oppressed

In the context where there are the oppressed and the oppressors, a bipolar analysis is revealing. A bipolar analysis referred to here has to with looking at a situation to the division of issues always into two. For example, the first bipolar consideration is that of the Hellenistic cities vis-a-vis the rural hinterland. The second bipolar consideration is that of the Priest and the people who came to them ask for their spiritual services in terms of bringing sacrifices to do religious work. Another bipolar consideration is that which is between the military and the debtors. Another divide is that between the landlords and the peasants who worked on the land.

Reading the ‘gospels’ with a bipolar eye reveal the reasons for the strain s and the tensions between the creditor and the debtors. One begins to appreciate how Jesus had to make difficult choices between estranged parties and how this vividly revealed in some of the parables.

One continues to appreciate the resistance which was mounted by the oppressed group as against the oppressor group (Mt. 23: 13- 39; 24: 1ff; Lk. 6: 20- 26).

Way forward.

In Luk. 4: 18- 20 and in the overall vision of Jesus two important institutions are idealised by the movement and rural communities. The two are the Jubilee and the Reign of God. Jesus calls for the reappraisal of the Jubilee and He promises the introduction of the Reign of God. The former was never ever fully implemented and the latter is a dream yet to be fulfilled.

What the followers of Jesus today (Christians) can best do under the circumstances is to take the struggle for spiritual renewal and political restructuring for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed forward and to do so unrelentlesslly knowing and believing that the Lord is always with them (Mt. 28: 19- 20).

4.4. Tasks for local and regional branches.

  1. Choose any text of the Bible for reading as a group.
  2. Read the text and ask yourselves the following questions: What does the text say? What does the text mean?
  3. Describe the context in which the words of the text were said and describe the context in which your group is reading the text.
  1. Ask yourself the following questions: What did the text mean to the first hearers? What does the text mean to us today? Do this in consideration of the context you have described.

CHAPTER 3

THE DEMONSTRATION OF ENGAGEMENT IN RECONSTRUCTION, DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFORMATION THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST

Education is not a neutral phenomenon. It is based on socio-economic, cultural and political interests. Reconstruction, development and transformation of education has material and spiritual bases.i.e. It has the socio-economic, cultural and political undertones. Transformative and developmental programmes need finances to be
implemented. The scarcity of finances put the economic base at the centre of the effectiveness of transformative actions in education and society at large.

Our context in South Africa has shifted from political struggle to economic struggle. The issues of economic emancipation are holding all proposals for transformation and development at stake. The issues that were raised by the NTCF conference and workshops as reported in chapter 1 and 2 of this booklet cannot take effective root unless they are backed by sound financial base.

The Bible does not leave us without answers. The book of Luke gives insight to the approaches we can take to initiate these programmes. The method of Jesus’ engagement in the socio-economic and political issues of his time help us draw some models of dealing with our own problems. We need to contextualise the book of Luke together and extract these methods and approaches.

The book of Luke addresses a wide rage of issues but all based on economic empowerment. Issues of the empowerment of women (e.g. Lk. 1- 2 et. al), issues of transformation of social structures (Lk. 3), issues of restructuring and equalisation of social relations (Lk. 7; 36-49).

The socio-economic analysis and exegesis of the book of Luke from a contextual perspective with the transformation and development of education in mind (which can be made possible through economic empowerment) needs this special attention.

As a strategy for transformation, Jesus takes the grassroots approach. Jesus works his programme out by engaging with the weak and the powerless in society. Jesus goes out to reconstruct the communities of the weak and the powerless. He works with women, children and social outcasts. He gives them hope and constructs with them the reign of God.

Jesus speaks with the leadership of his time. He raises issues he knows are pertinent to the grassroots communities. He enters places where ordinary people are normally not allowed. He goes in there to make case for them. The authorities of his time did not like him. He was probing and asking a lot of questions. He was committed to both the
spiritual transformation and development of all people. He uses the language the people understood. He was contextual in outlook, in word and in deed. This is what he does in the book of Luke.

5.1. The socio – economic analysis of the book of Luke.

Lk. 1: 48 – 53: The power of God on behalf of God is used on behalf of the powerless to bring social justice by “showing strength with God’s arm – putting down the mighty from their seats” demolishing the power structures upon which socio­economic exploitation is based and upon which the oppression is embedded.

This text vindicates women. Women were one of the most oppressed social groups in the times of Jesus as they still are in modern societies. In this text the women who realised that God has come on their side in the form of the honour of giving birth to Jesus who stands for the new humanity, the new order of human relations, the new order of social relations. God is beginning a new thing and Jesus and women are central in this. The new creation which comes through Jesus, and its promise of the new social, economic and gender considerations of the reconstruction in order to have justice for all humans and therefore salvation for all is born out of the womb of a woman.

One may argue to say in any case there was no way a human, Jesus, could be born on earth except through a woman. On the other hand, yes, it is so and it only vindicates the position that women are human. Only humans can give birth to humans. If not so, how could men be human. In other words the dehumanisation of women like it was in Jesus’ time is the inevitable dehumanisation of men as well.

But on the other hand, no, not so; when God starts new things, God does not depend on humans. For example, the creation of Adam or the beginning of humanity according to the bible did not depend on humans but solely on God and God alone. This could have been the case in the birth of Jesus whom the Bible acknowledges as the new Adam or the new beginning if you the new creation.

So the birth of Jesus by a woman as prophesied and as fulfilled was a deliberate honour and vindication of woman. God chose to use a woman in a socio-religious context where people were convinced that God does not use women especially inn relation activities and religious leadership. In the birth of Jesus, God was witnessing to humanity that woman are indispensable in the economy of God. This init self was too much to contemplate in the Hellenistic Jewish religious world of Jesus.

Surely, women of Biblical times were not among the powerful, the mighty and the strong. This does not mean that there were no women of repute in the Bible. Surely there were, but the general-trend was that men dominated and had preponderance in all important social institutions. Women of the Bible were those among the poor, the oppressed, those of low degree; people who needed a chance of the social setting. Jesus came through them, for them, to save them, to stand by them, to be their Messiah.

Lk. 1: 68 – 72: the power of the God saves God’s people from their enemies and from those who hate them. Apparently these were the political enemies of the people of Israel. The Messianic expectation went beyond John the Baptist to the person of Christ. At that time Israel was looking for political liberation from the Romans both internally and externally. The internal liberation had to do with freedom being ruled by foreigners who came from their immediate surroundings who were representatives of the Roman government. The external liberation had to do with very fact that they are ruled from Rome and not from Jerusalem. The coming o f Jesus as Messiah was linked with the pressing need for political liberation.

One has to be aware that the political liberation of Israel was tied to her spiritual liberation. The same is the case with her for economic liberation. People of Israel had become spiritually dead seeing that they could not sustain their faith financially. This must have been a frustrating experience in a religion that depends so much on financing in terms of buying sheep, goats, doves, flour, oil and bringing harvested produce as part of their religious activity like worshiping and asking for forgiveness of sins time and again.

All potential liberators of Israel treated the theme of political liberation. Up to that time all attempts at liberation had failed. There were times were Israel enjoyed freedom for but a short time. The tradition of revolution or change through which Jesus came fell squarely in the eminent quest for political liberation. So, there was no mistake in visualising Jesus as a political Messiah and as priestly Messiah. Jesus, as the text says; was expected to save Israel from her enemies who then were political enemies. As it is at present, in modern times, the geo-political situation of Israel is volatile.

Luke.3: 7-14: John the Baptist preaches with power demanding radical spiritual, social, and social economic changes. This message was directed to the military who were the watchdogs of the treasures and the pleasures of the rich Aristocracy, the Romans, the Absentee Landlords, and the Herodian Dynasty and all those who collaborated with the socio-political system of the time like these very soldiers John the Baptist is addressing.

The message was also addressed to tax collectors. These were people who were employed by the establishment and some of them came among the Jews. More often than not, these office clerks if you like had the opportunity of making money for themselves through bribery and swelling up the taxes illegally. For them the message from John the Baptist was: “Don’t collect any more than you are required”. This implies that they collected more than it was required.

The message was to tell all other people who came to listen to John the Baptist was that they must share their food and clothing with others. This injunction was concomitant with the communal life which Israel lived before its society was monetarised as it was when John addressed it. Typical of the prophetic tradition was this call of the reverting to the traditional society where Jehovah was King and all other people were equal. They treated each other as brother and sisters. This prophetic trend of John the Baptist is further supported by his call for repentance which was undoubtedly one of the major themes of the prophets alongside themes such as justice, mercy and righteousness.

All in all, John the Baptist announces judgement upon the whole socio-political and economic situation of the time. The text we are looking at the addresses all the religious (repent), the economic (share), the political (taxes), and the military (soldiers) aspect of that society, challenging it to make radical changes; if not, they are facing the judgement of God.

Luke. 4: 16 – 19: See Chapter 4.

Luke. 6: 30 – 38: The language Jesus is using in this portion of scripture is typical of the economic nature of the book of Luke. Jesus uses words like credit, reward, payment, lending and giving. The teaching of Jesus on the issues of loving your enemy, loving your neighbour, loving those who love you, landing to those whose you love are expressed in economic turmoil and struggle. These people it seems can better understand the principle Jesus is teaching through the words that dominate the context in which they are immersed and through a context that concerns them most.

In this text, prosperity is taught that it comes not through capitalising on the ignorance of one another. It is taught that prosperity comes from not through making profits but underpaying the worker. Rather, prosperity comes through sharing with one another. This may not sound economically unreasonable to those who are convinced otherwise. The conclusion of the matter is that those who are convinced otherwise are prone to undermine what Jesus taught in this text. On the other hand, what Jesus is teaching is contrary to the methods of prosperity advanced by those who want to prosper at the expense of others.

If not, one may argue that what Jesus taught then does not apply to he demand of economic life today. This argument may as well mean that the whole of the bible does not apply today. Most Christians may not support the position that the Bible is redundant and obsolete as far as the economics of the modern age are concerned. In most cases the Christians will want to agree that the teachings of the Bible hold even today.

Luke. 7: 36 – 49: Jesus forgives the sins of a woman alleged to have lived a sinful life and turns to illustrate this forgiveness with a story of a creditor and a debtor. In terms
of this story the explanation of sin is illustrated in terms of the money and power, and in concrete financial terms. Consistent with the context and the language of the book of Luke, forgiveness of debts and lack of forgiveness to others is expressed in financial terms.

Simon the Pharisee in whose house Jesus was must have understood more clearly about sin an forgiveness put in financial terms. The Pharisees have always been around the Temple and must have seen how money has become more important than people. It is likely that some of the Pharisees might have been involved in doing business around the Temple. This illustration of a woman whose sins are forgiven expressed in financial terms was relevant in the lives of the Pharisees who might have known some these moneylenders as well. Somehow, the Pharisees did not do much about the unfairness that went on between the moneylenders and the debtors. What could have been more revealing to Simon Pharisee, than an illustration, which puts issues in monetary terms? See how much Jesus gives praise to the women. Religio- culturally, it was unthinkable for such vindication to go towards women. The whole religious and social environment in the house of Simon would have rejected a woman of this calibre who came to kiss and wash the feet of Jesus with her tears. Note that she is a woman; here gender is not religio- culturally acceptable, even to Jehovah in social context.

Moreover she is a filthy woman; an adulteress. She makes the situation worse to come, in the house of a Pharisee especially when meals were to be offered. At this point the Pharisees have washed themselves ritually to prepare themselves for the meals and she is not washed to make matters worst. She comes in with long hair depicting her socio-ethnic behaviour and her standing in society, and uses the very hair, a symbol of her adulterous behaviour to wipe the feet of one who is alleged to be the saviour and the liberator of Israel, and this liberator does not react according to expectations of the holy Pharisees at table but instead accepts this woman’s offering. How can he be the holy prophet of God? How can he be the promised Messiah?

To illustrate this point further, lets look at how Jesus dealt with one woman during time in the house of Simon the Pharisee. The point we are making here is that the message of Jesus is that of social transformation and spiritual transformation. Jesus
chooses to explain these issues in financial or money terms so that he can be able to speak to the heart of the context directly.

5.2. Table manners for social and spiritual transformation.

I propose that we look at this input under the theme: Table manners for social and spiritual transformation ( Mt 15: 1 – 20 Mk 7: 1- 21 Lk. 7: 36-49)

Delimitation: For the sake of focus, this input is not dealing with official religious festivities and meals, it is not dealing with the elaborate and expensive banquets and meals of ancient Mediterranean communities. It is not dealing with the common everyday meal, how it was overburdened by the traditions of the Fathers or Elders, how the spiritual and social division of the ancient Mediterranean society plagued it, and how Jesus responded to that situation. This input confines itself to the events in the house of Simon, illustrating how Jesus called for socio religious change using the notion of open commensality or open table if you like.

Customs at mealtime: In ancient times, the washing of hands before eating was appropriate. Concave basins which had holes beneath or had an open button to allow dirty water to flow out of sight as water was poured out on the hands of the one who is washing were used (II King 3: 11) At the time, it was unthinkable for people to wash their hands in their own dirt. That is why this shape of washing dishes.

Common people of the Bible (Old Testament) days ate on the floor at a low table with legs folder or legs thrown back as in the act of kneeling (II Kings. 4: 38). A typical table was a ” Shool-khawn” made of leather and would be spread on the floor.

Usually there would be plates to each person. Dishes put on the table contained food out of which all people around the Shool-khawn would eat with their clean hands (Mt. 26: 23; Mk 14 : 20 ; Jn 13: 1ff) This table would depict an egalitarian community ; a community where all people have equal dignity and respect.

It was customary to say grace before and after meals (Jn; 6: Mt. 15: 36; Dt 8: 10) Compelling guest to attend was in keeping with oriental customs. This was an
indication of hospitality and desire to have a meal with others. (Gen. 18:2 – 7;Lk 7: 36; 14:23; Acts 16: 15) People of the East derived job in entertaining visitors with meals so much that it was unspiritual, anti- social and unethical to have meals alone (Job. 31: 17) When Job suffered at one stage he wandered whether it was as a result of having had a meal alone. People of the East then would expect God to punish those who do not go to an extent of compelling others to come to their meals.

Traditions of the Fathers: Over a long time, ancient cultures were intruded, corroded, influenced, changed and restructured as a result of a long history of cross cultural and intercultural interaction and exchanges. At one point, measures were taken to preserve spiritual cultures that promoted holiness and cleanliness. It became inevitable to introduce traditions, which were not necessarily required by Yahweh the God of the Hebrews.

These requirements are the ones, which became the traditions of the Fathers. These traditions were not meant for ill at all. They were meant for good; meant for preserving that which was valuable for the people at that time in point. As time went on, these traditions obscured the ‘true’ intentions and meanings they stood for; intentions such as social equality, communality, and mutual support (Mt. 15: 1-2f; Mk. 7: 1 -6)

Socio-spiritual transformation: Jesus propagated a message of open commensality which means; an open and an all-inclusive table. Jesus introduced a reordering of the table to include those who were excluded from it through the alleged traditions of the Fathers, which went along with the required ceremonial cleanliness, which the majority of the poor and the marginalized during the time of Jesus could not afford. In other words Jesus was saying no one must be excluded from the table just as it was not short of; Jesus aspired for the good old past when Yahweh was still King and when people were still equal even as it was depicted through the arrangement of the table at mealtime.

Crossan says:

… miracle and table constitute such a conjunction and that it is the heart of Jesus program. That intersection of (healing)/miracle and meal, miracle and table is pointed directly and deliberately at the intersection of patronage and client age, honour and shame, the very of heart of ancient Mediterranean society (1991:304)

In other words one has to look at the actions and the words of words of Jesus at Simon’s table with Mediterranean society in min. Put differently, the actions of at Simon’s table were meant to be a testimony and a demonstration that no one must be excluded from the company of people especially when it comes to meal time. Whether a person is a woman or not is inconsequential. Whether one has followed all the rules and the laws of cleanliness is inconsequential. The table must always affirm that all humans are equal before the eyes of God.

With Jesus at the table, many barriers and gaps were closed. The strong and the weak, men and women, Jew and Gentile, wealthy and poor, clean and profane, tax – collector and Zealot, patron and clientele, all must share the same table, all are equalised around the table. Around the table all are levelled, all are equal, all had to fellowship, all had to share their plight, their concerns, their status and their destiny as humans. Everyone had to be entangled around the table like it was in the olden days.

Commensality was rather a strategy for building or rebuilding peasant community on radically different principles from those of honour and shame, patronage and clientele. It was based on an egalitarian sharing of spiritual and material power at the most grass roots level (Crossan 1991: 344)

In the words of our texts (Mt. 15: 1 – 20; Mk. 7: 1 – 21; LK. 7: 36 -49), Jesus raises the standards of the commandments of God to equal and supersede those of the traditions of the Fathers or the Elders. Secondly, He recommends the cleanliness and the holiness of the heart unequally to ceremonialism at the table.

He continues to appraise worship of the spirit that emanates from faith in God rather than ceremonial worship, which does not transform human sinfulness. Most important, he is protesting against the traditions of the Fathers, breaks them and opens up equal opportunities for all to attain to holiness.

Conclusion: Lk. 7: 36 – 49 is a classical illustration of how Jesus reinterpreted the socio-spiritual presumptions around the meal by ultimately extending forgiveness to a woman who entered through an open door made possible by Jesus.

Socio – economic analysis continued

Luke. 9: 51 – 56: Jesus rebukes James and John for wanting to misuse power. Jesus would rather use it to save them. It would have been expedient for Jesus to have acted against Samaritans. They had already indicated that they would not have Jesus have his way to Jerusalem. The reason for this attitude adopted by the Samaritans was historical and was traditionally and politically correct. Jesus would have acted accordingly to affirm that traditional cultural and racial attitudes between these people but he chose not in order to change these hostilities and to show the alternative way of peace and reconciliation.

Luke. 10: 29 – 37: The Good Samaritan kept the spirit of the law and power of love. Those who kept the letter of the law, namely the Priest and the Levite had no compassion to a person dying on the roadside. But one who had no ‘law’ to guide him but was only guided by the spirit of love responded to this who needed one who had the right attitude not only to God but also a right attitude to money, power, prestige, prosperity, privilege and neighbour to come down at a point of human need, spend his money for a stranger for that matter and still be prepared to spend more on this person.

The Good Samaritan shared with a destitute neighbour. He was commended for his right attitude towards money and neighbour. He showed mercy.

Luke. 11: 42: The Pharisees kept the law and were tithing on things not required by the Torah like tithing on the grain of grass but neglected the weightier matters of the law like doing justice and showing mercy and were therefore discredited and condemned. All this shows people’s attitude towards money. Jesus uses this money issue to measure how much people are spiritual. In this case the Pharisees were found wanting.

Luke. 12: 13 – 21: in this parable a selfish rich man is depicted as a fool. So are people who lay treasure (power) for themselves and are not rich towards God and neighbour. In this parable this rich person could not share the inheritance (goods, power) with his very brother. Seemingly the brother had rightful share to the inheritance but this selfish one does not give the other his rights to the inheritance. Selfishness and greed have no sharing and mercy even among brothers.

Luke. 14: 12 – 12: Expect your reward at the resurrection of the dead. Don’t invite your rich neighbour to dinner; rather invite the poor, the maimed the lame, the blind, the homeless, and you will be blessed. if you identify with the powerless.

Luke. 15: 11 – 32: the father shared generously, the prodigal son complained greedily. This parable illustrates attitudes towards money, riches, power and wealth.

Luke. 16: 13 – 15: No one can serve two masters; money and God. God is one power, which requires total surrender total obedience. Money is power, and can do anything. Its nature has a tendency of demanding and commanding total control. Money and god are both demanding total control. Once you have both of them you suffer the problem of split personality and alienation of self. Until you resolve whom to give total obedience you remain divided in your loyalties.

Luke. 16: 19 – 31: The rich man ends up in hell. The price of misusing power and denying others access to it is so fatal that one ends up being doomed forever in the sight of God.

Luke. 17: 7 – 10: The right attitude towards work is not making profit or making money as such. Money comes as a reward and not as a source of power or as another god.

Luke. 18: 18 – 30: How hard it is to enter the reign of God with riches. At one point, one has to choose between wealth and God. Some find it difficult to make such a choice. They find themselves unable to enter the reign of God because they cannot make up their mind when it comes to choosing between God and money.

Luke. 19: 1 – 9: A rich man demonstrates repentance by showing a commitment to reverse exploitation. Not many rich people are able to make such a decision when it comes to make it against relinquishing their riches. Yet, it is possible to choose the reign of God against wealth.

Luke. 19: 45 – 47: Jesus undermines business at the temple to the dislike of the religious-political leaders. Jesus did not align himself with exploitation of the poor at the Temple. He showed a clear dislike for the system of commercialising the forgiveness of sins. From that point onwards he was determined as ever to give up his own life for the liberation and redemption of the poor and the oppressed and for those who will align themselves with his programme of liberation.

Luke. 20: 9 – 18: The husband -man craves for the inheritance (power) and is condemned. These workers had lost a vision of the reign of God. Finally, they planned to kill the son of the absentee Landlord for a wrong purpose. They wanted to gain the inheritance (power) and that in the eyes of Jesus was not good enough. One interpretation is that this son of the vineyard owner was Jesus himself. Jesus used this parable because it spoke directly to the context in which he was ministering.

Luke. 20: 19 – 26: Jesus is tempted on the question of taxes (money/power) paid to Caesar have the taxes (money). Actually this was a trap for Jesus. “They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent”. Jesus could not be a victim of what he preached against. Jesus was genuine. He had no vested interest on the power of money nor he had hidden agendas on this matter.

Luke. 21: 1 – 4: Jesus praised the offering of a poor widow. Two mites. He said the poor widow gave everything she had to the Lord. She was a free person; she had no other money; she could now trust wholeheartedly on the providence of God and entertained no worry about tomorrow.

Luke. 22: 24 – 30: Chose to be a servant than to be a ruler who lords it over his people. Better serve on the table than eat on the table only to be filled for condemnation both of your belly and your soul.

So what? The socio-political and economic analysis of the gospel according to Luke illustrates that Jesus was addressing the question of power, prosperity, property, prestige, and privilege. This economic approach of Jesus sets a premise for addressing our commercialised and exploitative contexts in financial and economic terms without feeling that the language we adopted is unbiblical. Right through the book of Luke as we have seen, Jesus uses a commercial language and illustrations to speak directly to his situation where people were opposed by profit greedy systems. This sets the evangelists of our time free to address the questions of poverty and homelessness especially when the poor and the homeless are going to be the object of our preaching. The plight of the poor must be the central concern of a contextual evangelist.

In South Africa, the material and the spiritual condition of the poor and the homeless is a result of the industrialisation, commercialisation and capitalization of our society. The monitarisation of our formally egalitarian society resulted in the impoverisation of the workers the majority of whom are black. These are people who constitute the poor and the homeless in our situation.

This leads us to an observation that wherever there is an unequal distribution of power, property, prestige and privilege, there will be poverty and homelessness on the side and on the other, affluence, riches and surplus e.g. In 1985 there were 300000 surplus houses for white people and about 600000 shortage of houses for black people. Moreover, roughly 7 million black people are residing in squalid informal settlements, and the number is increasing daily. The major cause of these disparities especially in South Africa is socio-economic oppression which legacy it will take a
little more than a decade to correct and only when a government can have a political courage to introduce a socialist economic system in the midst of the possible opposition by western economic powers.

Consequently the social stratification is the result of unequal access to education, wealth, and skills. This is further exacerbated by unequal treatment of population groups, class, gender, class, gender, and religion inequality.

Therefore, a relevant contextualisation of the gospel among the poor and the homeless must take cognisance of the racial, the economic, the social and the political inequalities especially in south Africa. The newly formed democracy has not removed these inequalities. These evils will plague our newly born democracy for a longer unless we deal with them deliberately and effectively.

The relevant contextualisation spoken about her must be deliberately introduced as calculated socio-economic challenges which must be consciously challenge the established functioning of the present capitalist inclined socio-economic system. The contextual challenge must introduce new sources of economic power which is in favour of the poor and the marginalized. It must also strengthen the traditional struggles of the workers and the unemployed and learn from these experiences of the past. The new challenge must pressurise the government and the financial institutions to promote creation of work of the grassroots people, for the grassroots people, and by the grassroots people.

Consequently this will call for the relaxation of qualifications for loans. Subsequently, it will simultaneously call for the relaxation of the repayment of loans. The new challenge must influence the way interest rates are determined and are collected. As many grassroots people as possible must be encouraged to take up the opportunity to own the power and access to prosperity and property; to own jobs and to create jobs; and as soon that these people must be helped to sustain these small initiatives. In a reasonably short time there can be some amazing challenges in South Africa especially.

Those proposed new sources of power can be created by organising the poor as a resistance block like unionisation, politicisation and the formation of financial support
groups. A relevant contextualised evangelism for the poor and marginalized must opt for economic emancipation as the hearer of their message. This will be good news to the poor. This is what Jesus was doing in the book of Luke, which is the gospel which understands that money is power.

Otherwise, what is good news to the sinners? Is it not to know that their sins are forgiven? And to the blind; that their sight is restored? And to the poor; that their spiral of poverty is broken? And to the margilised; that there is equal opportunity for all? And to the homeless; that there is land available on which they can build their houses?

Indeed, this led us to the radical reidentification of Christianity and the great commission. Formally, Christianity was identified with:

Laissez fair capitalism, individual initiative, fear of government control of the market, the power of the power of consumer in social and economic change, the upward mobility of class structures, democracy as the most suitable (biblical form of government, organisation as the key to maximum development, the inevitability of progress, the middle class as a source of class and the progress in society (Sider 1981: 64).

But, contextual theologies have made their point clear that according to their reading of the Bible, Christianity was a grassroots movement. The gospel was addressing social problems in the same strength as with all other concerns especially those that were affecting the poor and the marginalized directly. Jesus did not mince his words when it came to giving support and being in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed of his time. He set an example for us to be concerned about the plight of the poor and oppressed of our situations.

When the capitalist market forces are unleashed and are left unchallenged and unchanged, the people run a risk of perpetuating oppression. Capitalist market forces have no human face nor are they able to take up the social responsibility of caring for the poor. Actually they are the ones who perpetuate poverty in the world. Wherever they have been introduced, they have created gaps between the haves and the have not.

A consumerist Christianity with its concomitant individualism and materialism has left us with 7 million homeless people, 5 million employed people, 19 million people without earning wages in a capitalist wage in a capitalist wage earning economy, only 20 families with a personal income of R 14 billion a year, only 5 companies controlling 70% of the stock exchange namely Rembrandt, Sanlam, Barlow Rand, S. A Mutual and Anglo-American, 86% of the top occupations in medicine, architecture, management and administration filled by white people and 86% of the population 35 million without land.

What is even more serious is that with the advent of a consumerist Christianity are experienced as experienced in South Africa, the people of South Africa were left without tradition, culture and religion. All these institutions were under great attack by the Christian gospel and were ultimately so undermined that the indigenous people of South Africa began to despise their past, history, culture, tradition, religion and communal identity.

The African religio-communal society was grossly tempered with. African family life was undermined. Contextualisation must consider that we are going to work among people who have experienced a segregationist Christianity. The preaching of this must take into account that the people of South Africa have not yet seen the gospel, as Jesus himself would demonstrate it.

5.3. Evangelism and development

According to Reynolds:

The concept of development used must treat as an integral process a widening of opportunities for individuals, social groups and territorially organised communities at local and intermediates levels and the mobilisation of human capabilities and resources for common social, economic and political benefit (in Wilson et .al 1989: 285)

Put in Sider’s words, he says:

We recognise that the Bible teaches the mission of the church Includes the proclamation of the gospel and the development a and the development and social change (1981)

Here we are speaking about development, which brings transformation of the communities of the communities of the poor and homeless to become communities of self-sufficient which strengthen their grip on the economic system which promotes equability and equal opportunities for all in a way that the image humanity is not reduced to a sum of its biological components and its contribution to economic affluence but, an image of humanity which bears the image of God which is constituted by divine properties of justice, mercy, love and community.

The is a transformation that merits the word development in that it seeks the unfolding and preservation of structures that unleash and achieve equal opportunities for all citizens of the world under humane and equitable conditions and equitable conditions (King Moshoeshoe II quoted in Wilson et. al 1999: I).

Hand -out and temporally relief work is desirable but we realise that they do not give lasting solution. The welfare mentality among the Christian social and relief agencies must be radically transformed to become empowerment and enabling activities.

Relevant contextualisation for transformation in the times of transition must encourage the mobilisation and organisation of the poor and homeless which initiate activities like housing projects, jobs creation, co operation production, preventive health care, animal loan projects, business management training and organising the unemployment to discuss alternatives.

The major cause of poverty, homelessness, and conditions of destitution is and has been socio-political and economic oppression lack access to education, exploitation, and large-scale industrialisation at the expense at the expense of labour. This is the situation, which faces the preaching of the gospel today. These issues are affecting the social and the spiritual condition of the congregations. The implementation of the method of contextualisation will bring the differences in this situation in favour of the marginalized populations of our society.

Relevant contextualisation must deal with implication of the gospel relating to money, power, privilege, prestige, property and prosperity just as much as Jesus was concerned and dealt with these issue in his time. Concerned Christians must concern themselves with equitable distribution of material goods and privileges especially for those people who were left out in the past. As shown in the Book of Luke, one can have clue going about with these issues according to how one reads and interprets them.

The “word and the ” works” must not be separated. The word must be able to produce the works and the works the works must be a demonstration of the word. Evangelism and development must be consciously held together more than ever before. By development we must mean what has been proposed in this section, which means the enablement of the poor to break the spiral of poverty in a world dominated and controlled by capitalists.

It will not be an easy struggle. It has never been an easy struggle for liberation in this world has been that the oppressors will always choose war and violence. Otherwise, the oppressors are not easily convinced by logical discussions and negotiations. They only come to negotiate when blood has been shed and they make sure that the blame is not put on them. What happened to Jesus? He was violently murdered by nailing on a tree.

Therefore, contextualisation must call for a transformation of the welfare mentality to a development mentality. The preachers of the gospel must learn to put on their work clothes and become community builders and bricklayers, or at least they must be able
to mix cement and building sand as well as reading and preaching from their Bibles when they do ministry among the poor and marginalized.

CONCLUSION

The first series of workshops on contextualisation gave us an insight and training in contextualisation. We were able to take scriptural section and read it politically, economically, socially, culturally, and in terms of gender. We were trained in the interpretation of scripture using a chart, which laid before us the various dimensions of our interest. We could also assess if the potion of scripture selected is relevant to our questions. This has been an empowering exercise in that we began to raise our own questions and looked into the scriptures for possible answers.

In the second series of workshops, which were run parallel in the same conference, we dealt with the problems in education contextually. We raised our own concerns about education. We were conscientised to look at educational matters from the national level to the local level. In many instances people look at local problems and fail to see these problems in relation to national and regional repercussions. These charts help us see our context holistically. We were enabled to look at our context comprehensively.

It was very interesting to grapple with the concept of contextualisation and its methodology. It is very practical concept. It works marvellously with research topics. It is easily to follow and to transfer to other people. The core of the concept is that you must start with the analysis of the situation in contextualisation takes place. Then you can proceed to apply your discoveries to whatever you want to critique or contribute to. Many problems remain unresolved because of lack of the – depth study of the constitution of the problem and its inner workings. Should the nature of the problem be understood it becomes much more easier to see the solutions.

The book of Luke is rich with context. The sociological reading of Jesus and his understanding of his context has been exciting. Going through the book of Luke and trying to extract model and methods of engagement with context has been an journey
full of treasure and adventure. But, what is even more important is that we have learned how to walk a contextual journey. We can take another route should it become the most pressing issue of context, e.g. the culture route. We can begin to make a cultural reading of the book of Luke for example and it can be very enriching and educative. There is no end in the contextual reading of the scriptures.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Balcomb, Anthony O. 1993. Third Way theology: Reconciliation, revolution and reform in the South African Church during the 1980’s. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster.

Challenge. 1997. A great new campaign: Building a culture of teaching as well as learning. Challenge: Church and people. No 41 April/May 1997 p.2-3.

Crossan, John D. 1991. The historical Jesus: the life of a Mediterranean Jewish peasant. New York: Harper.

De Gruchy, John W. 1987. Theology and ministry in context and crisis: a South African perspective. London: Collins.

Evangelic witness in South Africa. 1986. Evangelic witness in South Africa: Evangelics critique their own theology and practice. Dobsonville: concerned Evangelicals

Henriot, P. and Hollard, J. 1983. Social Analysis: linking faith and justice. Maryknol: Orbis.

Institute for contextual Theology. 1987. Contextual Bible Study workbook I. ICT: Braamfontein.

Kairos Theologians.1986. The kairos document: Challenge to the church, a theological comment on the political crisis in South Africa (Revise second edition). Institute for Contextual Theology: Braamfontein.

Magethi Pule B. and Thula, M. Nkosi. 1991. God and Apartheid: A challenge to South African Adventism (African Adventist theory thought series number two 1991). Institute for Contextual Theology: Braamfontein.

Natal Teachers’ Christian Fellowship. 1997. NTCF brochure. Scottville: NTCF.

Relevant Fellowship of Concerned Christians. 1987. The Apostolic Faith Mission Church: A Challenge to action by the RCFF. Institute for contextual theology: Braamfontein.

Sider Ronald, J. (ed) 1981. Evangelicals and development: a theology of social change. Exeter, Devon: Paternoster.

Theissen, G.1987. The first followers of Jesus: a sociological analysis of the earliest Christianity. London: SCM.

_________ 1978. Sociology of early Palestinian Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress.

_________ 1991. The Gospels in context: social and political history in the synoptic

tradition. Minneapolis: fortress.

Wilson, F. and Ramphela, M. (eds) 1989. Uprooting poverty: the South African Challenge. New York: Norton.

[1] See, The Apostolic Faith Mission Church: A Challenge to Action by the RFCC document (1987). Anthony Balcomb, Third Way Theology (1993: 86-97). Evangelical Witness in South Africa: Evangelicals Critique their own Theology and Practice document (1986). Pule B. Maagethi and Thula M. Nkosi, God or Apartheid: A Challenge to South African Adventism (1991: 8)

[2] Reference to the soul is holistic. The soul is equal to the whole human experience and not only one part of it. The theology of contextualisation believes that human is an indivisible person.

[3] Unofficial teachers are ordinary people; the very group of locals who have come to contextualise. In the contextualisation process they learn from each other; meaning that they are teaching each other.

[4]   Theocratic = rule or govern by God.

[5]  Ethnarchic = rule or government by your own ethnic community.

[6]  Eschatology is the doctrine about the things to come or about the future or life after death.

[7] The urban population was tax with these tithes too. At the time of Jesus most of Palestine was rural. It was the rural communities from whom Jesus came which felt the sting if the tithing system.

[8] In the replacement system the seeds needed for the next round of ploughing and sowing were kept for that purpose. There would be no time where there is insufficient seed to continue the system. But, because of over taxation and oppression, people could no longer sustain the system. The system needed enough land and human power to keep up with the needs of consumption and retention/replacement.

[9] Cynic philosophers were people who went from place to place teaching. They were generally poor. They depended on the gifts of people in cities for survival. At times Jesus was mistaken as one of them.

[10] The absentee landlords were the new owners of the land. Most of the time they were not present in their plots. They were absent. Their property was used by the peasants who were people who owned the land at first but were now bought out. The absentee landlords came seasonally to collect rentals and tithes.

[11] It was the Priests who represented God in that theocracy. The Priests as civic rulers governed on behalf of God. God did not rule Israel directly.

[12] God or Jesus will come through the skies to save the situation on earth in a dramatic manner. That is what cataclysmic intervention means.

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Children Research on African Models of Caring for Vulnerable

The Children’s Amendment Bill: Does it Protect the Children? Presentation to be Made at the Democracy Development Programme Political Forum – 30 August 2007

Dr Lucas Mogashudi Ngoetjana

Abstract

The portfolio committee of Social Development handling the Children’s Amendment Bill, 2007, at the writing of document has not resolved the questions of full consultation with provinces which had no public hearing. The committee has not begun to deal with the content of the Bill yet. This paper has observed that the most haunting areas of concern regarding the Bill are around clauses that deal with age of consent, HIV/AIDS testing and access to contraceptives without parental consent. This paper further argues that if the bill claims to be concerned with vulnerable children, it must consider African models of caring and raising of children.

The following is the discussion on the Children’s Amendment Bill, 2006

The latest handling of the matter regarding the Children’s Bill, 2006, was the meeting of the Social Development Portfolio Committee, which was held on the 22 August 2007. The committee members raised concern that the public hearings did not cover the rural areas. It was raised as a concern that the public hearings did not cover all the provinces, that there were time constraints considering that the bill has been under construction for 9 years. One member of the committee said that the resources for doing the work of the bill were depleted and the only further income they may ask for to do the work is for collating the submissions, making summaries, clustering the issues and consider making suggestions for amendments in some parts of the bill. Advocate Masutha’s proposal was that the committee must now proceed with the work of the bill without further public hearings whether in rural area nor in the provinces where the public hearings were not done. He felt that consultations done so far are sufficient and no further waist of time and resources may be considered (Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) Minutes of the Social and Development Portfolio Committee, 22 August 2007: 1 – 5).

“Mr B Mkongi supported Adv Masutha, and suggested that the Committee needed to do two things. Firstly, this meeting needed to take a resolution on the way forward. Secondly, that decision must address specifically whether to complete public hearings in provinces or conduct a national and final public hearing in Cape Town. He said that he was raising this possibility to cater for shortages of resources and time. He did not think that this meeting should discuss a strategy how to organise public hearings, nor how to deal with the media. He proposed that this meeting adopt Adv Masutha’s proposal, and ask the parliamentary researchers how long they would need to collate the information from the submissions. Secondly he believed that that a final public hearing be called in Cape Town, to finalise all matters and ensure that the Bill could be finalised this year.

Everything that the Committee should do must be in the best interest of the children” (PMG 2007: 3)

At this point, the committee has not begun to look at the submissions. They are still awaiting the summary of submissions from their researchers. By the next meeting of the 29th August 2007 the researchers would not have finished their work of doing summaries and submitting to the portfolio committee. Should the final public hearing be conducted in Cape Town, means that interested bodies will have to travel there to make their final submissions. The issue of the media was raised because one of the committee members Mr B Solo felt that it is misinterpreting the facts or misreporting certain issues. So the impression is given that the portfolio committee must speed up the process before the begins to criticise them.

As such, “Adv Masutha therefore called upon the Committee to be realistic and think forward on this issue. He urged the Committee to consider the public hearings duly conducted and concluded, and said they should now move on to collation of the submissions and consideration of them. He suggested that the research unit of parliament should be given at least two weeks to process and organise the information. He suggested that the next meeting should focus on the issue of resource provision for the legislation. He reminded the Committee that before the last recess there was discussion as to whether the word “may” or “must” should be used in the Bill when referring to provision of resources. The Committee would have to get input from National Treasury in order to formulate these clauses, and this matter should be discussed next week”

“Ms Bogopane-Zulu then proposed that at the meeting on 29 August the legal opinion on visit to all provinces should be discussed from 09h00 to 09h30. The Committee could then take a resolution whether there was a need to visit the remaining provinces. The National Treasury must then address the Committee on the costing of the Bill. At the meeting on 5 September, the Committee should receive the collation of the submissions, and should also discuss the matter with the Departments of Labour and Provincial and Local Government. On 12 September, the Committee should engage with the Department of Social Development and go through the Department’s responses to the submissions”.

Having seen how far the portfolio committee is with the process, and also knowing that the members do not know even who made submissions this tine round this may be an appropriate time to discuss what the churches in the province of KwaZulu-Natal have submitted.

Submission:

Children Amendment Bill, 2006 and Children’s Act, 2005

Preamble

■The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) is the provincial body of the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

■The KZNCC (hereafter referred to as the Council) has 17 member churches and 17 member Christian Organizations.

  • The Council speaks for approximately and conservatively 3 million people in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
    • This submission is a product of a provincial consultation on the Children’s Act, 2005 and the Children’s Bill, 2006 which was attended by 50 representatives from member churches, Christian Organizations, Church Leaders Group, Ecumenical Organizations and civil society interest groups.
    • In general the Council acknowledges the resources and time Government has spend over the years to come thus far with the bill
    • The Council appreciates most of the sections of the bill and the effort of Government to protect the child and prevent offences against such.
    • Nevertheless, we want to present our proposal for reconsideration of some sections and clauses of the bill.

Presentation

The Churches Provincial Advocacy Office (CPAO) presents the views of the participants of the consultation on the Children’s Act, 2005 and the Children’s Bill, 2006, which was held on the 15th August 2007, to the National Parliament Social Development Portfolio Committee Secretariat

Children’s Amendment Bill, 2006

Clause: Children’s Amendment Bill, 2006 Amendment Discussion Proposed Amendment
Title of Act 38 of 2005: On Amendment of long title “… and to create certain new offences relating to children …” The phrase, “creation of new offences” gives an impression that the bill is deliberately made to offend where there was no offence before “… to promote the general welfare of children …”
135(1)(a): On Application to terminate or suspend parental responsibilities “suspending for a period, terminating or transferring any or all of the parental responsibilities and rights .” The possibility of the interpretation of the permanent ‘termination’ of all parental responsibilities and rights’ is gruesome and excessive. Adjust the succeeding and affected “suspending for a period or

transferring any of the parental responsibilities and rights which that person has in respect of a child.”

 

clauses considering our proposed amendment.
136 (3)(c): On administration of money ” . for administration of any money received on behalf of the household” Use an inclusive term such as resources instead of ‘money’. Children need more than money can always offer or afford. According, replace the word ‘money’ with the word ‘resources’ ” … for

administration of resources received on behalf of the household”

136 (5): On

child-headed

families

“The child heading a child-headed household may take all day-to-day decisions relating to the household and the children as if that child is an adult” Clause 136 (5) Completely, undermines the place,

responsibilities and parental powers of the care-giver.

“The caregiver of the children in a ‘child-headed household may take all day-to-day decisions relating to the household and the children as an adult”
139 (1): On reference to the

Constitution

Clause 139 (1) refers to the Constitution’s section 12(1)(c – d) and is good except that we would also include (a) – (b) and specify that in the case of children (b) does not apply Add, “Section 12(1)(b) does not apply to children”. We suggest that we enter a process of discussing what can be done with offending children – i.e., revise the criminal justice system in regard to children.
170(2)(3): On warrant of arrest ” . without a warrant, enter and search the premises for the purpose of apprehending the child … including braking of any door or window of such premises .” If the authority has any reasonable ground to enter premises to search or apprehend a child we suggest the person must have a warrant of arrest. ” … with a warrant, enter and search the premises for the purpose of apprehending the child . including breaking of any door or window of such premises …”
191(1)(g): On

arrested

children

“the reception, development and secure care of ‘children awaiting trial or sentence” If children are what they should be – dependence – the law of South Africa should not be contemplating that such Delete the clause and correct succeeding clauses such as (i).

 

can be housed for awaiting trial or sentencing in jail. Children must be corrected and not jailed. This clause is out of order.

 

Children’s Act, 2005

Clause: Children’s Act 2005 Amendment Discussion Proposed Amendment
129(1)ff: On consent to medical treatment In all the sections such as clause 129(3)(c) the child we propose must always be assisted by her parent, guardian or foster parent and have consent of such an adult or the state should provide the assistance of an adult such as a social worker, a magistrate, or a doctor etc. Even if a child of 12 years has a child, the 12 year old must be duly assisted by and adult. We propose the consenting age of a child be 18 years. Review the whole of section 129. Reopen section 129 for public debate to reach consensus.
130(2)(a): HIV- testing consenting from the age of 12 A child of 12 years must not be allowed to give consent and take responsibilities of an adult or what the state should provide. We propose the consenting age of a child be 18 years. Review the whole of section 30. Reopen section 130 for public debate to reach consensus.
130(2)(a)(ii): HIV- Please, a child under We propose the

 

testing consenting under the age of 12 the age of 12 despite what the legislation says should not be given the

responsibility of an adult or what the state should provide

consenting age of a child be 18 years. Review the whole of section 130. Reopen section 130 for public debate to reach consensus.
133: On

confidentiality of information on NHIV/AIDS status of children

Consider comments and suggestion made in regard to clauses 129 and 130. Apply the same with clause 133. We propose the consenting age of a child be 18 years. Review the whole of section 133. Reopen section 133 for public debate to reach consensus.
134: On access to contraceptives Consider comments and suggestion made in regard to clauses 129, 130 and 133. Apply the same with clause 134. We propose the consenting age of a child be 18 years. Review the whole of section 134. Reopen section 134 for public debate to reach consensus.

 

 

16 August 2007

This task has given me an opportunity of presenting some little work I have done two years ago on African Models of Caring for Vulnerable Children. Here is what I have to say about it. The Children Amendment Bill, I suggest should be further informed by such models as well.

Research on African Models of Caring for Vulnerable[1] Children in Traditional Communities: Towards a Proposal for Caring for Vulnerable Children in Modern Communities

Introduction: The denunciation and denigration of African traditional wisdom and caring lifestyle through modernisation and departmentalisation of life is continually denying modern humanity of the wealth of models of caring especially for vulnerable children. Digging back into traditional African wisdom, in search of the relics of manners and customs of caring, is the task given for this continuing research. This document is a perpetual investigation for African model of care for vulnerable children. It is discovered that some reminiscent tokens of caring for vulnerable children in African communities have been insulated African proverbs and philosophy of life concerning children. The one difficult aspect of this exercise is the application and the implementation of such remains of traditional communities on caring in our modern society. And yet modern society is searching for caring models to vulnerable children. “Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance”[2]

The African Family and Care of Vulnerable Children

The Model 1: The Notion of the Entire Community as Family

Hardly a century ago, before the emergence of the city states of Kimberly (Diamond) Johannesburg (Gold), African society was not yet reduced to the social anthropological understanding which popularised the notion that it was composed of just extended families and polygamy. That the African family comprised of the entire village or community has been underplayed and undermined, and this has diminished the efficacy of the entire community as a caring community especially for vulnerable children and people. A person who had some form of vulnerability was called: Motho wa Modimo (a person of God). This person would also be called: Motho wa Kgobe (a person of God). At times not in a misunderstood diminutive sense, this person would be politely called: Segole (a cripple), a person to be cared for even when that person was not paraplegic (cripple) the word segole applied in a caring manner. This was one attitude that was practiced to a person from childhood up to adulthood.

“Such a family comprised an entire village; the husband, his wife or wives (six or seven of them for those who could afford them) and his children. According to Laydevant (mentioned in Chihota 2003: 31), sometimes the children continued to live with their parents even after they got married, each having their own huts cattle and fields.

However, they allowed people from other villages to join them and share their work, their feasts and funerals” (2003: 31)[3]

“Communal responsibility in raising children is seen in Sukuma proverb, One knee does not bring up a child, and the Swahili proverb, One hand does not nurse a child. Everyone in the extended family participates, especially the older children, aunts and grandparents and even cousins. Children are considered a communal blessing from God” (Healey and Sybertz 1996: 114). One more Sukuma proverb: It takes the whole village to raise a child

“The family, nuclear or extended, provides shelter and a sense of belonging for members; gives legal rights and responsibilities; allows money and property to pass to next generation; teaches patterns of behaviour and traditions of culture; provides loving environment for children; provides loving environment for elderly; provides care for the sick people; controls sexual behaviour” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 20)[4]

Caring for Children in African Proverbs and Philosophy of Life

Vulnerable children, in physic, psychologically, parentally, because of illness and so on, had a special place in the heart of the African communities, traditional political and social institutions, in the family and among individuals, parents, relatives and friends. For ages this caring for vulnerable children has been expressed in African wisdom texts (proverbs, customs, traditions, culture, philosophy, sayings, religion and law). Each of these wisdom expressions provided the African community and person with a model of caring especially for vulnerable children up to their adulthood.

Proverbial Models:

The Model 2: The Mother Model

Intandane enhle ngu makhothwa ngunina

No African children must have no mother. No African child must have no family. No African child must have no food and shelter. And no African child must lack respect and discipline or someone to guide in the norms and values of respect and discipline. The following proverb from IsiZulu has the potential to riddle and transpose those who have no socialisation touch of the inner idiom and codification of African linguistics. Some European employers in the modern capitalist city states such as Johannesburg have asked their African employees with amazement – how many mothers do you have; because some African people perhaps to the detriment of business have been away from work to

bury their mothers. In an African setting, ideally everyone of the age of your parents, uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters is your parent and so on. This is even more so and strictly so within the family. When it comes to the caring and protection of vulnerable children it is said: Intandane enhle ngu makhothwa ngunina (lit. it might riddle more – A cute orphan is licked by its mother – better interpreted that an orphan has a special place of care and protection in the family). The African mother is extended to the entire community. An orphan may have no biological mother. But that orphan has aunts, grandmothers – people in and out of the family who have a responsibility to play a mother role especially to those who are vulnerable.

“An inspiring Sukuma proverb on sacrifice and self denial is: The hen with chicks doesn’t swallow the worm. Its main theme is “Parental Care”. The mother hen thinks of her children’s needs first. The proverb portrays a mother’s self-sacrificing love (see Is 49: 15 – 16[5]). The proverb is used of parents who take very good care of their children – providing them with food, clothing, and other needs” (Healey and Sybertz 1996: 113).[6]The Lord God of Israel uses a metaphor of a woman to explain, love caring and protection.

Following is some more enlightening African wisdom on caring for children. “When a woman is hungry she says: “Roast something for children that they may eat” (Akan, Ghana) (Ibid. 113)

“No matter how skinny, the son always belongs to his father (Galla, Ethiopia)(Ibid. 113) The Model 3: Unity and Sharing

Caring and sharing, and the recognition of the humanity of special people such as vulnerable children cannot escape a traditional African setting which values, humanity, nature, children, the elderly, respect, unity, sharing and divinity. The African traditional community is characterised by the sanctity of humanity, unity and sharing. African cosmology[7] is anthropocentric[8] (Kamalu 1990: 14; Ngoetjana 2002: 169). Humans[9] are dynamically engaged in the world. Humans are completely absorbed and embedded within the world. Humans and nature are one and are in harmony (Bediako 1995: 212). Nature cares for humans and humans mutually care for it (Setiloane 1976). African cosmology is monistic[10] and this monistic experience and human survival depends on the maintenance of an equilibrium or harmony in relationship with other life-forms.

One other saying about vulnerable children and adults goes: Ke motho (Is human – according to the inner nuances of African linguistics this phrase carries a special meaning
when applied to vulnerable children/ people) and Ke motho wa badimo (He or she belongs to the ancestors). In application to vulnerable children, as: ‘they are humans’ – remember how much African communities value humanity. Humanity is respected to an extent that humans are said to be divine. In a monistic and holistic cosmology there is no divide between the divine and the mundane. All humans are by nature divine. The whole of creation is by nature also divine. The human community is also extended to the ancestors. Remember ancestors were held with awe and respect in traditional communities and so will be people such as some vulnerable children who were believed that they are people of ancestors and to some it was also believed that they were possessed of ancestors.

“In Sotho-Tswana experience, society consists not only of men, women and children organised in hierarchical groupings. It consists of badimo, the living dead, whose intimate involvement in the details of daily life is taken as much for granted as that of an all-pervasive central government in a contemporary welfare state (Setiloane 1976: 20).

Following is some more proverbs on unity, cooperation, sharing: Unity is strength, division is weakness, sharing is wealth: (A Swahili proverb). I wonder how much of this proverbs could have been influenced by modern philological[11] expressions. It is very common in modern societies to hear about unity and strength in political circles especially of the liberationist type.

One finger does not kill a louse(Common in East and Central Africa) or One finger nail does not crush a louse (Ganda). Or One finder does not kill a flea (Maasai, Kenya/ Tanzania) (Ibid. 114).

The Model 4: Inclusion of Vulnerable Children in African Initiation Institution

“The ancient Basotho, initiation rites were among the most complicated rituals and ceremonies. They marked the transition from childhood to adulthood with formal course of instruction. Separate institutions existed for both boys and girls. However, it is not easy to take up a study about them because of the secrecy that surrounds their celebration. … Basotho believed that people who had not undergone rites of initiation were not capable of performing rational acts in life. … The Basotho, like the Xhosa people,

believe that the initiation school makes men out of boys and women out of girls” (Casalis 1993: 326 – 327 paraphrased by Chihota 2003: 32).

Vulnerable children would not be exempted nor excluded from participation in African institutions of passage. Besides the semblance of the romantisisation of African traditional communities, though there was a level of marginalisation and negligence of vulnerable children on the part of some, it was not the norm. Vulnerable children in African stories are portrayed as saviours and heroes of their people[12].

“Those who evaded initiation school lacked knowledge of the mysteries of life, human production and the implication of conjugal life. .those who evaded Lebollo/initiation School were forbidden from getting married. The mystery of the sacred was one of the motives for initiation because it introduced the candidates of initiation into the zone of the holy. Therefore, boys and girls who evaded initiation school, received psychological persecution and were looked down upon until they joined the school” (Manyeli 1966: 68, paraphrased by Chihota 2003: 32).

What is a Family For

It is intended that the family provides a stable background. It helps people cope with problems. It prepares children for adult life. In the family children are taught the ways in which society expects them to behave. This is called ‘socialization’. A family should cater for all its members. This includes bringing up children and looking after their spiritual and emotional needs as well as physical needs. A strong relationship between the married adults results in a more loving environment for children. This means that everyone is able to develop their talents and interests and to find their place both in the family and in society” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 21).

When Things Go Wrong

“Ideally a family provides support for all its members. Sadly, things can go badly wrong. When this happens it is often the children who suffer most. Family frustrations are sometimes taken out on the children. This can result in child abuse, especially when the adults involved were abused as children themselves. The abuse may take the form of physical violence, physical and emotional neglect, or sometimes emotional and sexual abuse” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 21).

“When marriages break down the children are likely to suffer. However carefully the parents explain what is happening, children can be confused. Many of them feel it is their fault that things have gone wrong. Sometimes they are very good at hiding their feelings. They seem to cope well and people fail to give them the support they need during the crisis. For example, they may be torn by loyalty to one parent or another, and need a great deal of understanding. Sometimes the problems are to do with money. Courts do their best to ensure the financial support of the children, but sometimes the parent who takes on the care of children is left with little more than state benefit. Sometimes the other partner may have to pay so much to support the children that he or she is left hardly able to cope” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 24 – 25).

Upbringing of Children

I also had an opportunity of documenting the work of Mama Grace Masuku, of Lefatlheng at the North West Province. This is what she had to say about the upbringing of an African child. Though the children’s Bill is not about the African child per se it has a concern for vulnerable children the majority of whom by far happen to be Affrican in South Africa. Therefore, I thinlk this input is relevant in terms of saying portfolio
committees making laws in Africa for whom the majority is African must consider Afrcan ideas and wisdom. Here is what she has to say:

In the olden days, newly born babies and little children were loved and cared for. “Re ne re tshasiwa Letshoso (mafura a mafsi) gore re sole renne le letlalo le lentle le le redimogang, le phatsimang ke gore ‘to have a nice soft skin'”. The young’s bodies and skins were treated with Letshoso [processed milk cream] so that their outer skin should fall off and allow a new inner skin to emerge and make one look soft and beautiful. During winter times, we were smeared with ‘Waskerese’ (borrowed from Afrikaans, meaning ‘processed candle-wax’). We used Mosidi (ash) for washing out teeth and used Letlatswa (some granules made from a white soft rock) so that our teeth may not decay.

In those days, we used to oil our ears with the fat which was dropped from a hung Setlhong (Mafura a Setlhong a logetsa ditsebe – the fat of Setlhong (ground squirrel) is ointment and heals the ailments of the ear as well. For the healing of our eyes we used a certain plant which produced white flowers. This plant grows during the rainy seasons. For the healing of headaches, we used a plant called Mopipi (shepherd bushtree) which was burned so that we could inhale its smoke.

When we grew older and were able to wash ourselves, we used to smear ourselves with Ratsuku (Lemon). Ratsuku was special for anointing the legs. O bonagale gore o ngwana wa mang (it must be evident whose child you are or – O tlare o ngwana wa mang?) If not, how will it be known whose child you are?

At the age of nine, boys are separated from the girls. If possible, they would be placed in different huts. If this was not possible, they were not allowed to share the same blankets when sleeping. This is the time when the girls and boys could be clearly distinguished from each other. At this time, girls developed breasts. Usually one small breast will develop first. The elderly women would direct the girls to face east. The small breast would be ‘swept away’ with a broom (leswielo). The following morning, that breast would not show. The girls would be as plain as the boys. The kind of small breasts, which grow on girls at this time, are called (diolamolora). These are not fully developed breast but are of childhood (Diolamelora ke matswele a ntlha).

Some of the young girls would emulate in the manners and traditions of our ancestors to a stage where they would, for instance, go to schools and colleges far away from home. Whenever they come back during school holidays their parents would send them to go and see or greet or stay with the grannies. The reason for that is that parents knew that grannies had been tutoring the children and that they had more experience of detecting whether any thing has gone wrong with the children when they were away at school. One of the things grannies and parents would notice among many others is that the breasts of young girls are not in their usual shape. Matswele a seke a dira meriti (Breasts must not make a shadow). A tswanetse go emella (They must protrude upright).

It is at this time where girls would be encouraged to eat boreku (some whitish yellowish gum that protrudes on the tree bulks usually a tree called Mongana). The consistent eating of boreku at this time of girlhood delays the menstrual stage. The delay of the
menstrual stage would prospone interest in sexual interest and engagement. Thus, the girls would only begin to have interest and of sexual engagement at a reasonably late stage of their lifetime. Thus, the girls would customarily have some sexual awareness and interest at a fairly mature age.

In terms of the upbringing of the girls, they learned by observation. It is at this stage of the age of nine that the young girls were introduced to some of the homestead chores they could manage. However, firstly, they must just be very close to their mothers but especially their grandmothers who will kindle their interest in doing as they do – observe and practice. Why the grannies? Most probably in traditional communities their mothers would be entangled and preoccupied with family, matrimonial and community chores, keeping them slightly away from the homestead where granny would always available to guide the young girls properly as they would soon enter the teenage stage. Girls could begin to accompany the young adults and learn how and when to fetch water for cooking and washing and hew wood for making fire.

Some of the chores the young girls would be learning is threshing and winnowing (gophotha). In addition, learn how to produce or get pure grain (goolosa). Winnowing was done through leselo pictured below.

By the time, the young girls entered into the early teenage stage they would have learned to wash mogopo (wooden plate) very well. Mama Masuku gives the impression that girls took pride in this to an extent that they would compete about whose was the cleanest.

racteristic of the manner in which the young girls mogopo, as to demonstrate from which family a young girl comes from and this was indicated by the way her mogopo (a wooden bowl) is clean. The significant that was attached to the cleanliness of the mogopo was that it was also a reflection of the family from which the young girl came.

The principle taught through the inculcation of the pride of young girls in the way they wash mogopo is an exemplification of the Tswana people hold hygiene, sanitation, purity, wholesome-ness and cleanliness in very high regard.

This mogopo is washed by spinning. The outsider has to learn how to handle mogopo in order to wash it in a manner that befits a girl who comes from such and such an honourable family.

The Batswana young girls were taught responsibility. From a young age, the children had to learn to be responsible in terms of homestead chores and looking after their own belongings and the things they use such as their bedding and clothes. The girls were taught to use Leshaba (a form of Tswana cleaning agent) to wash traditional kitchen utensils. “. We were taught to harvest morogo (traditional spinach growing widely in the veldt and which could be cultivated at home as well. We were also taught to wash morogo at least thrice to ensure that it is clean, that it is without soil and it is ready for cooking.

At thirteen years of age, we were taught to faga pitsa (to cook porridge). We were trained at the beginning to cook from a small pot. The key lesson we were to learn was to use our hands to cook this porridge so that all the ingredients were well mixed and mashed. We would also be shown and practice how to cook Mothlodi (soft porridge). In our cooking, we were not allowed to have dibise/ potsa (lumpy or underdone porridge).

It was at this stage of thirteen years where we are taught go alola dikobo (make our bed). Even then, when a young teenager had made her bed it was expected to be so proper that the supervising adult cannot fault her and make the girl to redo it or do it herself. Should that happen, it would indicate that you are taking too long to learn and that is not good to hear or to know. Young teenage girls, in principle in Tswana culture, were inculcated with the value of doing their outmost best in whatever they do in life. The Tswana young people were taught that what they do must be pleasing, aesthetically appealing, commendable, upright, accurate, and immaculately clean.

It was at this young teenage stage when we were taught go fiyela (to sweep). The initial lesson or beginning part of it would be go fiyela lebala (to sweep homestead yard/outer court). “When you graduate you could fiyela lapa (sweep the inner homestead court). When that is done, you would then be introduced into beginning go kgopa lapa (to smear the inner court with, usually cow dung). As has been mentioned earlier, cleanliness is supreme in Tswana life” (Masuku 2006: November the 8th, Interview).

“After that you were qualified to dig letsopa (clay) and goleduba (to mash it or make it elastic” (Masuku 2006: November the 8th , Interview). Letsopa was used to make utensils for kitchen use such as the calabashes (dinkgo) to store milk for instance; for outer homestead use such as to store water, for ceremonies such as to bury the dead; for artefacts of arts and creativity and for toys to play with such as making cattle and play homesteads.” (Ibid.) Some of the utensils mentioned in this paragraph are pictured below.

The fact that the Batswana are conscious of cleanliness and purity cannot be overemphasised, and that their worldview, as shall be documented later, is monistic and holistic presupposes that consciousness of virginity permeates all facets and phases of the upbringing of girl children in all of life. Inclusively, concern about virginity should be
central or key to the upbringing of nubile girls and boys as Mrs Masuku would also concede.

In relation to the time when teenagers shall have been allowed to work with clay, creating all sort of traditional artefacts, Mama Masuku says that a tell-tale sign that a young girl has broken her virginity would be reported by when her clay pot cracks instead of becoming dry and strong.

If that was the case the necessary social, cultural, manners, customs and traditions shall be followed to mend the situation – meaning the young girls had to reveal what happened so that her relatives, sent by he parents, would notify the family of the male partner and find out whether there was any intention to marry her or not. If not, they would be obligated to pay for ‘damages’, i.e. paying for impregnating a nubile.

In those days re ne re thlatlhobiwa (in the past we underwent virginity testing). Gone go se ope a batlang go tlhabisa motsadi wa gagwe kgala (no one wanted to put his or her parents to shame). Gonna legama (to be a virgin) was very important. Ga one o fumanega ole lethari ( when if was found that you lost your virginity) we would ostracise or marginalise you. Our age group would really make you feel unwelcome. It was as if to be in lethari’s company is to approve her deeds and behaviour.

So, all of us would be careful not to be ostracised. Moreover, in that manner, society was coherent and organised in circuits and circles which respected wholeness and wellbeing. In those days by your way of standing, sitting and walking, we would realise whether you were sexually active or not. By the time one entered the teen stage, and as soon as they began to speak, understand and follow instructions, girl children were taught how to stand, t o sit and to walk.

The teenagers were admonished by the elderly and warned that soon, o tla bona moeng (lit. you will see a visitor – meaning you might begin to menstruate. The elderly warn – oya bosading o kanna wa tshola ngwana mosimane a seke a go kgoma (you will soon be a woman – you will have the capacity to have children – a boy (male person) must not
touch you (figuratively). In those days of old, the estimate and average age of menstruation was at eighteen to nineteen (18 – 19) years.

Today the estimate and average age of menstruation has gone down to 12, laments Mama Masuku. In the olden days, young people were not pressured by mannerisms and expectations, which burden them with adult life prematurely. The young people were very conscious to do good and well like their peers as befits their parents and families. The young feared the question that: Batho ba tla reng? (What will people say?). The young and the old treasured the value of respect for parents, the elderly, society, traditional leaders, people in leadership positions and the expectations of what people in heir age group are expected to behave like in society.

In the yester days, it was common to know that: Ngwana wa mosetsana ga a arabe motho o mogolo (a girl child does not answer back to an elderly person). The principle was that society was ruled by the virtue of respect for one another, young and old together mutually and reciprocally.

During our time, a woman was not allowed to drink liquor. It was a shame to see a drunken woman and no woman would have liked to be such a person. Yet, in some cases with old women, here and there sporadically and infrequently, you might have some of them having had some liquor and would have no social nor peer problem. However, the rule was no woman was allowed to drink liquor.

Mama Masuku describes her own old age life as a ‘pleasant surprise’. “I find fulfilment in all what I do everyday. I am passionate about educating children, telling them of the old villages, sacred places, human sexuality from an African perspective and this taking me again and again down memory lane cherishes my heart. I am thinking about children all the time. I feel they deserve the heritage due to them. I am ready and prepared to sacrifice my time and energy to go out there to be with them and connect with nature as we always have done. Before the Pilanesberg National Park was fenced we had pleasant times living freely with a variety of wild animals also living freely alongside communities.

Conclusion

As said in the abstract and content of this paper, it was a discussion on the Children’s Amendment Bill, 2007. We conclude that since the drafters of the law are far from finished, they may want to consider the African wisdom on caring and raising Children.

[1] The definition of vulnerability in this research seeks to include the physical, the psychological, the spiritual and sociological aspects. Should there be other relevant aspects of vulnerability, this research will endeavour to include them, more so as they relate to vulnerable children.

[2] www.unicef.org/voy/explore/rights/explore 157.html, 1989, Convention of the Rights of the Children.

[3] Chihota, D. T. 2003. Funeral Rituals Among the Basuto: A Study of the Encounter Between Christianity and Basotho Traditional Religion. Unpublished Masters Thesis: University of Natal.

[4] Windsor, G and J. Hughes. 1991. Exploring Christianity: Christian Life, Personal and Social Issues. Oxford: Heinemann Education.

[5] Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for her child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

[6] Healey, J (MM) and D. Sybertz (MM). 1996. Towards an African Narrative Theology. Faith and culture Series. New York: Orbis Books.

[7] Worldview

[8] Human centred

[9] Humans include vulnerable children as well.

[10] As opposed to dualism – the division between this world and the other.

[11] Philology is the science and study of the source or origin of languages or words.

[12] Conversation with Dr. D. Dziva, Programmes Director of the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council on the 01st March 2005. The researcher is looking out for such African stories on vulnerable children.

Research Report On HIV and AIDS And Plwha 2009

A FOLLOWUP RESEARCH ON EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV AND AIDS (PLWHA) 15 March 2009

Executive Summary: The general findings of the research presented a positive picture. The interviewees it is revealed are happy in the manner in which they are personally living with HIV and a adhering to the ARVs. They paint a very positive picture about the change in attitude of the places of worship and fellow worshippers. They are elated by the way in which households and members of the households are supporting and journeying with them and the same positive feeling is expressed concerning the health institutions and practitioners who have created a caring atmosphere for PLWHA and people of ARVs.

The researchers decided to report openly by presenting the questionnaire and data coding, collection, capturing and interpretations as is. The interpretations presented the findings, the reason behind the findings and recommendations on what needs to be done.

Introduction

Institutions from government, business, donors, civil society and religious bodies have jointly and severally made their contribution on attending to the scourge of HIV and AIDS. Research institutions from such contributing organisations keep on giving us information on how humanity is doing in relation to HIV and AIDS. This research done by the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) seeks to make a contribution in giving one measurement on how individuals living with HIV, households, places of worship, health intuitions are doing in terms of the perception and experiences of dealing with the issues of HIV and AIDS.

A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Researchers went to do field work at health care centres, support groups and house-to-house visitations randomly. In order for this research to measure the improvements or retrogressions done, the same type of target group like the one visited in 2006 was targeted. As a result in comparison with the 2006 results a measure of improvements or retrogressions was done. This research was done as a follow-up on the measurement of the impact and changes of the perceptions and experiences of people on antiretroviral treatment and people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) in 2009

Problem Statement

How far has the experiences and perceptions of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) and people on Anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment have changed since 2004 and 2006. In 2004 and 2006 the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) conducted a research on the attitude of the churches concerning people living with HIV and AIDS and another on people on ARVs. In 2009 a question of revisiting the research came about challenging KZNCC to go back to those very people and similar sample of people and find out how much change has happened since five years ago. The research which was undertaken in 2009 was based on the quest for finding out whether a difference and impact has been made.

Research Process and Methodology

Recruitment of Researchers

The first group of researchers was from among those who were involved in the 2006 project which was a team of 29 people who did the research in parts of the whole province of KwaZuluNatal (KZN) according to the demarcation of the ecumenical movement’s regions. The second line of recruitment was among members who worked for the organisations in which the first group of recruits were active leaders since 2006 to date – 2009. The third line of researchers was recruited from those who are associated with the original researchers who are in the field of the work of HIV and AIDS. The fourth and the last line of recruitment was done among those who are acquaintances with people living with HIV and AIDS and those knowledgeable and conversant with the sensitivities on dealing with research on the subject related to HIV and AIDS issues and complexities.

Review of 2006 Structured Questionnaire and Training on How to Handle a Questionnaire

As part of training on how to handle a questionnaire and how to conduct an interview session, the recruited researchers were subjected to the reviewing of the 2006 questionnaire. The reviewing of the 2006 questionnaire considered the new situation and context in which PLWHA and people of ARVs are living. In that consideration only 10 questions divided into 5 sections in which 2 questions each were considered was constructed. The questions were structured in the manner that they could provide verification and falsification of responses by asking the carefully selected opposite question immediately, so that contradictions may be avoided or explained voluntarily by the interviewee. This the researcher did by simply asking the questions again for the respondent to reconsider the clarification of the contradiction.

Qualitative Fieldwork Research

“Field work is a general descriptive term for collection of raw data. The term is mainly used in the natural and social sciences’ studies, such as anthropology … It is more technically known to scientific methodologists as field research. In public health the use of the term field work refers to epidemiology or the study of epidemics through the gathering of data about the epidemic …” (Wikipedia.org).

Though this research was not about the study of the epidemic/ pandemic of HIV and AIDS, but was about the description of the experiences and perceptions of PLWHA and people on ARVs through the use of a structured questionnaire and that researchers went out to the field to do one-on-one and group interviews qualifies this research to be categorised as qualitative field work research within the social science research discipline.

Data Capturing, Coding and Analysis

“In general, qualitative data coding entails identification of the themes contained in specific text passages or segments []. Themes may include beliefs, experiences, or opinions that the respondent was trying to communicate in response to the interviewer’s questions. Different respondents may express the similar themes but state their ideas in different ways, or they may hold entirely different ideas. The qualitative data coding process requires that coders accurately read and comprehend similarities and differences across various text passages, regardless of the way respondents express themselves. Text passages containing identical themes are coded the same way and passages containing different themes receive different codes” (Statistical and Surveillance – “CDC EZ-Text”)

The researchers were trained and with the assistance of a closed and structured questionnaire, were able to easily mark the responses and enter them in correct response boxes provided in the questionnaire. The sections of the questionnaire classified the responses into the personal, household, religious places and health institutions.

Raw Data Weighing and Interpreting the Extremes

The raw data scale in this research is arranged in ascending order/strength = 1 (weak) to 5 (strongest). The reposes entered under the block 1 earned one mark and those marked under 5 earned 5 marks/points each. The significance of weighing is to consider the feelings of the minority (those who feel differently). Say the majority respond that all is well and score 80% which is entered into the one point earning block, and the minority say it is not, scoring 20% which is entered into the 5 points earning block. If the multiplication of their box (5 for strong = 5 x 20% = 100%) is almost matching the weighing of the 80% it means the 20% have a case to be considered. Meaning a recommendation must be made to deal with the minority.

One more example – if 30 people are interviewed, and 25 entered into the block marked one (1) will earn just 25 marks. And the remaining 5 all entered into the block marked 5 will earn 25 marks, which means the case and concerns or responses of the minority must be equally considered to. Translating into saying a recommendation of further action must be done in consideration of the minority.

Researchers Male and Female Recruited: Ten (10) Females and Six (6) Males = 16 = 62. % female plus 38.8% male researchers.

Total Number of People Interviewed: 1099

Places where Interviews were Conducted

BB Imbali

Boom and East Street Clinic

Caluza Township

Catholic Church Support Group (Pietermaritzburg)

Central Hospital (Pietermaritzburg)

Durban Institute of Technology Campus (Imbali)

Edendale Hospital

Elandskop Village

France Township

Gezubuso Village

Imbalenhle Clinic

Kwapata Location

Lutheran Church Support Group

Mafakatini Village

Mpumuza Village

Northdale Hospital

Oribi Village

Riverside Campus

Siyaphila Support Group

Sondelani Clinic

Sweetwaters Support Group

Taylors Village

Willowfontein Location

Total Number of questionnaires Classified by Age Group: 1081

Eighteen (18) questionnaires which were excluded did not have the age group marked for cultural reasons. One more observation was that there was resistance from interviewees to reveal that they were on Antiretrovirals ARVs) or not.

Comprehensive Report

Practicable Key Recommendations

  1. Though the majority of the people interviewed feel that PLWHA and being on ARVs is not a punishment from God the 11% which feel it is so need attention as well. The message of the grace, the love and care of God must be presented with more vigor and urgency. Conduct Bible studies, theology of HIV, gender and care.
    1. Teach people about the importance of discloser so that they can be supported properly.
  2. Give attention to a remnant of nurses who still make stigmatising comments regarding PLWHA and people on ARVt. These nurses, some of them are not educated about this challenge. They comment negatively about PLHWA and on ARVt saying in public at a place of health service – why do you cough so much? Why do you always have a running tummy? What are you eating? These comments are suggestive. Pay attention to the nurses who have stigma. Pay attention to the promises of giving food parcels in vain. Patients need to be honest to nurses about their status. One must not say I have a headache without saying at a properly demarcated place I have this condition – either living with the virus or on treatment. Begin an investigation on the allegation that some health workers still people’s CD4 counts from files for ulterior motives. Organise an exposure visit by the church – pastors.
  3. More support groups must be initiated in places of worship. The pastors still need education and information on HIV
  4. KZNCC must extend this research to the whole province and compare regional findings, reasons and recommendations.
  5. KZNCC must conduct provincial workshops with this research methodology to empower regional emerging researchers
  6. Increase more awareness in churches by having a systematic programme of PLWHA and people on ARVt to address the churches on Sunday services.
  7. KZNCC must have along side with HIV education and exposure a programme of distributing food parcels especially to people of ARVt.
  8. Continue doing workshops to educate the religious sector on HIV and AIDS. Encourage churches to form support groups. Churches must be encouraged to visit people at home. Churches must be encouraged to give both spiritual and material support.
  9. This report must be made available to traditional leaders, political leaders, implicated government departments and churches to implement recommendations best suited for them.
  10. Individual fellow worshippers must be encouraged the more to give and make an added effort to support PLWHA and those on ARVt. The churches must run workshops on awareness of the myths and forms of denial some people are entangled in and try to dispel such myths.
  11. The churches who are working in the area of HIV and AIDS must seek to be in partnership with the health care institution and contribute their share of the fight against HIV and AIDS.
  12. Equal emphasis and effort must be given to attending to the elderly people when it comes to dealing with the issues of HIV and AIDS. Conduct family camps of HIV and AIDS including and involving the elderly as well.
  13. Run workshops for nurses to help them create a situation where people can easily disclose their status. The same workshops could be run for families and doctors.
  14. KZNCC commence with food production projects – fruit and vegetable gardens etc.

General Report Section 1 – 5 All Age Groups

SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION

ISIGABA 1: IMINININGWANE YAKHO

Q1.1. Are you on ARVt. Kungabe ukuma [ ]

or a PLWHA. Noma uphila negciwane kuphela? [ ]

Q1.2 Which age group do you fall in?

Ingabe iminyaka yakho iphakathi kuka?

1.2.1.: 14 – 25 1.2.2.: 25 – 35 1.2.3.: 35 – 40 1.2.4.: 40 – 45 1.2.5.: 45 – 50

Answer the questions scaled from 1 to 5. Mark with X, where applicable.

Scale codes: 1- Never, 2 – Rarely, 3 – Sometimes, 4 – Frequently and 5 – Always

Phendula lemibuzo elandelayo ngokufaka inombolo eyodwa phakathi kuka 1 kuya ku 5. Beka uphawu X maqondana nenombolo efanele.

  1. Akukaze, 2. Nje, 3. kuyenzeka, 4. Njalo, 5. Njalo njalo.

SECTION    2:   PERCEPTIONS   AND   EXPERIENCES   IN   RELATION   TO YOURSELF1

ISIGABA 2: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO

Interpretation on Perceptions and Experiences in Relation to the People Interviewed Themselves.

Q.2.1. Finding(s): The findings of this research generally after interviewing 1099 people discovered that 68% of them said being a PLWHA and being on ARVt is not a punishment from God. Only 11% of the people responded by saying that they always feel that being a PLWHA and being on ARVt is a punishment from God.

Reason(s): The 68% of people interviewed say it is written in the Bible that a time will come when diseases will increase. What is happening is the fulfillment of the scriptures. The 11% who responded that they feel like being punished by God reason that they are separated from God and that they are being punished because they have not fulfilled the Ten commandments.

Recommendation(s): Though the majority of the people interviewed feel that PLWHA and being on ARVt is not a punishment from God the 11% which feel it is so need attention as well. The message of the grace, the love and care of God must be presented with more vigor and urgency. Conduct Bible studies, theology of HIV, gender and care.

Q2.2. Finding(s): Only 39% of the people interviewed felt living with and being on ARVt is a blessing from God. They say people who go for HIV testing shows that they are very brave.

Reason(s): The reason they put forward is that HIV has brought them closer to God. They say that they now have the fear of God in them – meaning that they feel the awe and the presence of God.

1 Scale is ascending in strength = 1 (weak) to 5 (strongest)

2 The significance of weighing is to consider the feelings of the minority (those who feel differently). Say the majority respond that all is well and score 80% and the minority say it is not scoring 20%. If the multiplication of their box (5 for strong) is almost matching the weighing of the 80% it means the 20% have a case to be considered. Meaning a recommendations must be made to deal with the minority

Recommendation(s): Positive feelings and experiences must be encouraged all the time

SECTION 3: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY

ISIGABA3: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO KULABO OHLALA NABO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q3.1. During taking treatment do members of 85 69 142 436 371 1099
your household give you support when needed?
Or do members of your household support you
as a PLWHA
Ingabe abomdeni bayakulandela ukwelashwa
kwakho bakunike usizo lapho kudingeka? Noma
abomdeni baya kusekela nje ngo PLWHA
Q3.2. Have you ever felt as if anyone in your 610 182 198 54 48 1099
household does not want to get involved? (For
both ARV person and PLWHA)
Kuyekwenzeke kube khona emndenini
abangathandi ukuzibandakanya nokwelashwa
kwakho? (Kubobonke abaku ARV / PLWHA
Weighing 3.1. 85 138 426 1744 1855
Weighing 3.2. 610 364 594 216 240
3.1. % 8 6 13 40 34 %
3.2. % 56 17 18 5 4 %

Interpretation on Perceptions and Experiences in Relation to the Members of the Household.

Q3.1. Finding(s): Household members are very supportive. They have learned about HIV. Disclosure is very high. They are supportive because they realise that “once goes around comes around” – meaning that they are conscious that they can be infected too as they are affected.

Reason(s): There is decrease of the belief that HIV is a curse. They are aware that all people are prone to be infected with HIV.

Recommendation(s): Encourage the households to be supportive as they do.

Q3.2. Finding(s): Those who are not supportive do not know much about HIV.

Reason(s): In some households which are not supportive it is so because households do not know what a person is suffering from to those who have not disclosed at home. Some households are given too much to drinking and therefore do not care. Some people who are infected stigmatise themselves. They discriminate themselves and do not want to socialise themselves.

Recommendation(s): Teach people about the importance of discloser so that they can be supported properly.

SECTION 4: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP

ISIGABA 4: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO ENKOLWENI YAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q4.1. Do you feel discriminated in a religious 682 129 205 49 42 1099
situation? (both ARV and PLWHA)
Uzizwa ubandlululwa yini endaweni
okukhulunywa ngezenkolo? (kubobonke – ARV/
PLWHA)
Q4.2. Do people in your place of worship 146 95 234 284 333 1099
encourage you to adhere to ARV? In a religious
situation do you feel encouraged to adhere to
ARV or live positively with virus?
Endaweni okukhulunywa kuyo ngezenkolo
uzizwa ukhuthazeka ukuthatha imishanguzo
ngendlela ARV? Noma endaweni okukhulunywa
ngezenkolo uzizwa ukhuthazeka ukuba
nemicabango emihle?
Weighing 4.1. 682 258 615 196 210
Weighing 4.2. 146 190 702 1136 1665
4.1. % 62 12 19 4 4 %
4.2. % 13 9 21 26 30 %

Interpretation on Perceptions and Experiences in Relation to the Places of Worship or Religious Settings

Q4.1. Finding(s): The response on whether people interviewed felt discriminated against in places of worship or where issues of religion are discussed, 62% said no they have not felt segregated nor isolated nor uncomfortable but 4% said yes they felt discriminated and uncomfortable.

Reason (s): The application of the scriptures has turned to be positive since pastors have been informed about HIV. But there is a remnant of pastors who have not been educated on HIV yet.

Recommendation(s): More support groups must be initiated in places of worship. The pastors still need education and information on HIV

Q4.2. Finding(s): On being encouraged to adhere on ARVs, 56% said yes who go to places of worship have been encouraged and supported. Some respondents said they don’t go to church and could not comment on the question. Some sane the situation at places of worship has drastically improved in that the challenge of HIV is spoken about. The churches have accepted that their members do get infected and affected including the pastors and ministers. The churches have come to terms with the fact that anyone can be infected and affected. In-fact all humanity is infected and affect potentially and actually.

Reason(s): Pastors also disclose that they personally are infected and affected with HIV. Sermons on HIV have become positive and supportive. Positive living foe all people is being preached.

Recommendation(s): The 4% which is still negative in terms of supporting PLWHA and people on ARVt negligible as it is need serious attention for them to get information and education on the subject

SECTION 5: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO HEALTH CENTRES

ISIGABA: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAZO EZIKHUNGWENI ZEZEMPILO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q5.1. Do you experience discrimination by the 690 105 199 42 29 1099
health care system? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyahlangabezana nokubandlululwa
ezikhungweni zezempilo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Q5.2. Do you get the required help by the health 73 103 189 339 353 1099
care system, when needed? (to both ARV and
PLWHA)
Ingabe uyaluthola usizo ezikhungweni zezempilo
ngesikhathi oludinga ngalo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Weighing 5.1. 690 210 597 168 145
Weighing 5.2. 73 206 567 1356 1765
5.1. % 63 10 18 4 3 %
5.2. % 07 09 17 31 32 %

Interpretation on Perceptions and Experiences in Relation to the Health Care Centres

Q5.1. and Q5.2. Findings: Responding to whether PLWHA and people on ARVs experience discrimination when visiting health care centers, 63% said no they are not being discriminated against. There are special places for positive people in health care centers and anyone who is allowed for services there would have the challenge of dealing with issues relating to PLWHA and people on ARVs. The people affected, those living with the virus and those on treatment have their own designated doctors. Some of the nurses are infected as well. Society does give support as well.

Reason(s): The health sector is no longer in denial. The health sector disseminates information through pamphlets, leaflets and posters

Recommendation(s): Give attention to a remnant of nurses who still make stigmatising comments regarding PLWHA and people on ARVt. These nurses, some of them are not educated about this challenge. They comment negatively about PLHWA and on ARVs saying in public at a place of health service – why do you cough so much? Why do you always have a running tummy? What are you eating? These comments are suggestive. Pay attention to the nurses who have stigma. Pay attention to the promises of giving food parcels in vain. Patients need to be honest to nurses about their status. One must not say I have a headache without saying at a properly demarcated place I have this condition – either living with the virus or on treatment. Begin an investigation on the allegation that

some health workers still people’s CD4 counts from file for ulterior motives. Organise an exposure visit by the church – pastors.

General Recommendations

  • Government must do private investigation on the allegation that officials are stealing ARVs and distribute ARVs inequitably

■  Government must increase mobile test apparatus/ equipment

■  KZNCC must extend this research to the whole province and compare regional findings reasons and recommendations.

  • KZNCC must conduct provincial workshops with this research methodology to empower regional emerging researchers
  • Increase more awareness in churches by having a systematic programme of PLWHA and people on ARVs to address the churches on Sunday services.
  • KZNCC must have along side with HIV education and exposure a programme of distributing food parcels especially to people of ARVs.
    • MTCP (mother to child prevention) must be promoted through educating pregnant women

■  Patients must be taught to report the staff when they are mistreated,

Reflective Report by Age Groups

Rationale for Interpretation by Age Group: This research wanted to investigate how various age groups are responding and experiencing living with the virus as individual persons, at home, in places of worship, and health service institutions. It would have been unwise to stop at the interpretation of the finding from a general group which included everyone. The researcher felt is would be wise to see whether there could different experiences and perceptions related to each age group. The research has discovered that 43% of the people reached which is the largest group encountered are between the age of 25 – 35. Following is the presentation of the actual research reported on the questionnaire by age group.

Age Group 14 – 25

Number of People Interviewed: 246

SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION BY AGE GROUP

ISIGABA 1: IMINININGWANE NGEMINYAKA

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q2.1. Have you ever felt that being on ARV/PLWHA 144 13 37 5 47 246
is a punishment from god.
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisijeziso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Q2.2. Have you ever felt that being on ARV/PLWHA 128 34 39 16 23 246
is a blessing from God
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisibusiso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Weighing 2.1. 144 26 111 20 235
Weighing 2.2. 128 68 117 64 115
2.1. % 59 5 15 2 19 %
2.2. % 52 14 16 7 9 %

Q1.1. Are you on ARVt. Kungabe ukuma ARVt [ ]

or a PLWHA. Noma uphila negciwane kuphela? [   ]

Q1.2 Which age group do you fall in?

Ingabe iminyaka yakho iphakathi kuka?

1.2.1:14 – 25 %

Answer the questions scaled from 1 to 5. Mark with X, where applicable.

Scale codes: 1- Never, 2 – Rarely, 3 – Sometimes, 4 – Frequently and 5 – Always

Phendula lemibuzo elandelayo ngokufaka inombolo eyodwa phakathi kuka 1 kuya ku 5. Beka uphawu X maqondana nenombolo efanele.

  1. Akukaze, 2. Nje, 3. kuyenzeka, 4. Njalo, 5. Njalo njalo.

Q2.1. and 2.2.

Findings: The responses of this age group 14 – 25 as far as living with the virus and being on ARVs as supposedly a punishment or a blessing from God is almost similar to the general findings of the comprehensive report. This is the case up to the age group of 35.

 

Reasons: Once the young people have discovered their status, they are more careful to leave positive lives. Accessing ARVs is a blessing – it’s like finding a second chance to live again.

Recommendations: Though those who feel that for example being a person PLWHA is punishment from God are few that 19% is sizable enough to be given attention towards possible change of perception

SECTION 3: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY

ISIGABA3: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO KULABO OHLAL NABO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q3.1. During taking treatment do members of your 33 20 37 80 75 246
household give you support when needed? Or do
members of your household support you as a
PLWHA
Ingabe abomdeni bayakulandela ukwelashwa
kwakho bakunike usizo lapho kudingeka? Noma
abomdeni baya kusekela nje ngo PLWHA

Q3.1. and 3.2

Finding(s): Families are supportive. Individual family members are also supportive.

Reason(s): Families encourage PLWHA/ and those on ARV to take their treatment. They remind them of the time to take drugs. Families’ support where more than one person is living with the virus and or is on ARVS. Families tell encouraging statements like for these young people, to take their treatment because they still have a long life go leave.

Recommendation(s): Family camps it is recommended must continue.

SECTION 4: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP

ISIGABA 4: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO ENKOLWENI YAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q4.1. Do you feel discriminated in a religious 150 29 57 10 8 246
situation? (both ARV and PLWHA)
Uzizwa ubandlululwa yini endaweni okukhulunywa
ngezenkolo? (kubobonke – ARV/ PLWHA)
Q4.2. Do people in your place of worship encourage 20 33 36 61 104 246
you to adhere to ARV? In a religious situation do
you feel encouraged to adhere to ARV or live
positively with virus?
Endaweni okukhulunywa kuyo ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuthatha imishanguzo ngendlela
ARV? Noma endaweni okukhulunywa ngezenkolo
uzizwa ukhuthazeka ukuba nemicabango emihle?
Weighing 4.1. 150 58 171 40 40
Weighing 4.2 20 66 108 244 520
4.1. % 61 12 23 4 3 %
4.2. % 8 13 15 25 42 %

Q4.1. and 4.2.

Finding(s): Religious Institutions are found to be supportive by 61% and people at places of worship are found to be always encouraging by 42%

Reason(s): The church has discovered that it infected and affected. People on the pews and ministers are also infected and affected by the virus and some are on ARV treatment. Sermons on HIV and AIDS have changed from the negative to the positive. Tent evangelists pray for PLWHA and for healing from God. Tent evangelists are giving hope. The church is now beginning to understand and get education on HIV and AIDS and on how to care for people living with the virus and those on treatment.

Recommendation(s): Continue doing workshops to educate the religious sector on HIV and AIDS. Encourage churches to form support groups. Churches must be encouraged to visit people at home. Churches must be encouraged to give both spiritual and material support.

SECTION 5: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO HEALTH CENTRES

ISIGABA: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAZO EZIKHUNGWENI ZEZEMPILO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q5.1. Do you experience discrimination by the 125 32 63 12 5 246
health care system? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyahlangabezana nokubandlululwa
ezikhungweni zezempilo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Q5.2. Do you get the required help by the health care 23 45 37 57 81 246
system, when needed? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyaluthola usizo ezikhungweni zezempilo
ngesikhathi oludinga ngalo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Weighing 5.1. 125 64 189 48 25
Weighing 5.2. 23 90 111 228 405
5.1. % 51 13 26 5 2 %
5.2. % 9 18 15 23 33 %

Q5.1. and 5.2.

Finding(s): 51% of the young people say they have never experienced any discrimination from the health institutions. And 33% say they always find the help they need and 23% say positively they do frequently get the help they need.

Reason(s): The nurses are educated on HIV and AIDS related matters and sensitivities. Some nurses are also infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. There are special and privately demarcated safe spaces and places for PLWHA and those on ARVs.

Recommendation(s): We recommend that health institutions continue improving on the good work they are doing. Encourage more health institutions to take the queue from those who are doing well in handling the situation of HIV and AIDS.

Age Group 25 – 35

Total People Interviewed: 465

SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION BY AGE GROUP

ISIGABA 1: IMINININGWANE YAKHO NGEMINYAKA

Q1.1. Are you on ARVt. Kungabe ukuma ARVt [ ]

or a PLWHA. Noma uphila negciwane kuphela? [   ]

Q1.2 Which age group do you fall in?

Ingabe iminyaka yakho iphakathi kuka?

1.2.4: 25 – 35 [■] %

Answer the questions scaled from 1 to 5. Mark with X, where applicable.

Scale codes: 1- Never, 2 – Rarely, 3 – Sometimes, 4 – Frequently and 5 – Always

Phendula lemibuzo elandelayo ngokufaka inombolo eyodwa phakathi kuka 1 kuya ku 5. Beka uphawu X maqondana nenombolo efanele.

  1. Akukaze, 2. Nje, 3. kuyenzeka, 4. Njalo, 5. Njalo njalo.

SECTION    2:   PERCEPTIONS   AND   EXPERIENCES   IN   RELATION   TO YOURSELF3

ISIGABA 2: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q2.1. Have you ever felt that being on 319 27 47 19 53 465
ARV/PLWHA is a punishment from god.
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisijeziso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Q2.2. Have you ever felt that being on 166 56 116 78 38 465
ARV/PLWHA is a blessing from God
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisibusiso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Weighing 2.1. 319 54 141 76 265
Weighing 2.2. 166 112 348 312 190
2.1. % 69 6 10 4 11 %
2.2. % 36 12 25 17 8 %

Q2.1 and 2.2.

Finding(s): 69% of the age group 25 – 35 feel that living with the virus and being on ARV treatment is not a punishment from God. And 36: feel like it is a blessing from God. This group which was categorised for their level of maturity indeed gave a balanced view between the polarities of punishment and blessing from God as shown by the matrix above

 

3 Scale is ascending in strength = 1 (weak) to 5 (strongest)

 

Reason(s): The 68% of people interviewed say it is written in the Bible that a time will come when diseases will increase. What is happening is the fulfillment of the scriptures. The 11% who responded that they feel like being punished by God reason that they are separated from God and that they are being punished because they have not fulfilled the Ten Commandments

Recommendation(s): As a matured group they should be encouraged to keep on taking positive decisions. This group, we realise are at a marriageable age. They comprise the working class or economically active class. They are very sexually active. They are at the prime of their lives. And bout 50%, reside presently in rural areas or areas under tribal authority. From this background we recommend: This report must be made available to traditional leaders, political leaders, implicated government departments and churches to implement recommendations best suited for them.

SECTION 3: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY

ISIGABA3: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO KULABO OHLALA NABO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q3.1. During taking treatment do members of your 24 25 58 192 165 465
household give you support when needed? Or do
members of your household support you as a
PLWHA
Ingabe abomdeni bayakulandela ukwelashwa
kwakho bakunike usizo lapho kudingeka? Noma
abomdeni baya kusekela nje ngo PLWHA
Q3.2. Have you ever felt as if anyone in your 266 80 81 17 21 465
household does not want to get involved? (For both
ARV person and PLWHA)
Kuyekwenzeke kube khona emndenini
abangathandi ukuzibandakanya nokwelashwa
kwakho? (Kubobonke abaku ARV / PLWHA
Weighing 3.1. 24 50 174 768 825
Weighing 3.2. 266 160 243 68 105
3.1. % 5 5 12 41 35 %
3.2. % 57 17 17 4 5 %

Q3.1 and 3.2.

Finding(s): Clearly families and members of households do support. A record of 76% for household support combining those who frequently and always get it is commendable. 57% have scored that they have never experienced lack of support from individual members of the households.

Reason(s): The 5% – 10% who feel no support from the households and its individuals are those who have not disclosed. They are those who stigmatise themselves. They are those who have communication breakdown in the family. They are those who do not take care of themselves. And Some who mix treatment and do not disclose.

Recommendation(s): Emphasise the importance of disclosure. Create more awareness. Conduct family camps.

SECTION 4: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP

ISIGABA 4: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO ENKOLWENI YAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q4.1. Do you feel discriminated in a religious 290 47 83 29 18 465
situation? (both ARV and PLWHA)
Uzizwa ubandlululwa yini endaweni okukhulunywa
ngezenkolo? (kubobonke – ARV/ PLWHA)
Q4.2. Do people in your place of worship encourage 84 36 101 117 129 465
you to adhere to ARV? In a religious situation do
you feel encouraged to adhere to ARV or live
positively with virus?
Endaweni okukhulunywa kuyo ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuthatha imishanguzo ngendlela
ARV? Noma endaweni okukhulunywa ngezenkolo
uzizwa ukhuthazeka ukuba nemicabango emihle?
Weighing 4.1. 290 94 249 116 90
Weighing 4.2. 84 72 303 468 645
4.1. % 62 10 18 6 4 %
4.2. % 18 8 22 25 28 %

Q4.1 and 4.2

Finding(s): 62% of the people answered that they never felt discriminated by their place of worship and 28% answered that the churches encourages them. That means there is less discrimination experienced in places of worship.

Reason(s): People at churches have more knowledge about the disease compared to the past. Ministers have also been exposed to begin to understand the workings of the disease. There is an increased understanding of what and how the virus works.

Recommendation(s): Continue and encourage positive preaching in the churches. The church must continue with prayers to encourage people to live positively.

SECTION 5: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO HEALTH CENTRES

ISIGABA: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAZO EZIKHUNGWENI ZEZEMPILO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q5.1. Do you experience discrimination by the 305 61 74 12 10 465
health care system? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyahlangabezana nokubandlululwa
ezikhungweni zezempilo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)

Q5.1. and 5.2.

Finding(s): 65% of the people in this age group say they do not experience discrimination and lack of cooperation in the health institutions. And 32% say they do receive the help they need from the health system whenever they need it. 5% say they do get some unconstructive criticism at the health institutions.

Reason(s): Some nurses are not informed about the sensitivities of working with PLWHA and those on ARVt. Some nurses like to make remarks to embarrass patients and find joy in doing so.

Recommendation(s): The patients should expose such health care givers to their superiors. Continued education on how to treat PLWHA and those on ARVt should be done incessantly.

Age Group 35 – 45

Number of People Interviewed: 281

SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION BY AGE GROUP

ISIGABA 1: IMINININGWANE YAKHO NGEMINYAKA

Q1.1. Are you on ARVt. Kungabe ukuma ARVt [ ]

or a PLWHA. Noma uphila negciwane kuphela? [   ]

Q1.2 Which age group do you fall in?

Ingabe iminyaka yakho iphakathi kuka?1.2.5: 35- 45 [■] %

SECTION 2: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOURSELF4

ISIGABA 2: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q2.1. Have you ever felt that being on 220 12 18 7 23 281
ARV/PLWHA is a punishment from God.
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisijeziso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Q2.2. Have you ever felt that being on 82 25 74 72 27 281
ARV/PLWHA is a blessing from God
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA
kuyisibusiso esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Weighing 2.1. 220 24 54 28 115
Weighing 2.2. 82 50 222 288 135
2.1. % 78 4 6 2 8 %
2.2. % 28 9 26 26 10 %

Q2.1. and 2.2.

Finding(s): 78% say it is not a punishment from God to them as PLWHA or people on ARVt. 8% say it is a punishment from God. 28% say they never saw their status as a blessing from God against 10% who say it is a blessing from God to be PLWHA and being on ARVt.

Reason(s): The interviewees say understanding being PLWHA as a curse is religiously ignorant. They say there is no verse which says in the Bible disease is a blessing from God. Many of them who think so insist this disease is a curse from God.

Recommendation(s): More preaching must be done in order for all people to understand that living with HIV is not a curse.

SECTION 3: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY

ISIGABA3: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO KULABO OHLALA NABO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q3.1. During taking treatment do members of your 14 12 33 126 96 281
household give you support when needed? Or do
members of your household support you as a
PLWHA
Ingabe abomdeni bayakulandela ukwelashwa
kwakho bakunike usizo lapho kudingeka? Noma
abomdeni baya kusekela nje ngo PLWHA

Q3.1 and 3.2.

Finding(s): 5% of the people in the age group 35 – 45 say they have never experienced discrimination or not being supported by their families. 34% say they always get help from their families. Combined with those who say they are frequently getting help from households they add up to a remarkable 79%. Concerning care from individual household members, 60% say they have never felt neglected and only 5% say they always felt neglected by the individual household members.

Reason(s): For those who are married or have relationship, they are afraid to disclose to the partners and to the children. They are afraid to turn and ask help from the household. But those who have disclosed and asked for help they do get it and are in most cases not discriminated against nor neglected.

Recommendation(s): The key solution here is discloser to the loved ones. People must be encouraged to swallow their pride and disclose. The churches can run workshops of awareness and the importance of disclosure. Workshops on the importance of communication and openness in the household must be run.

SECTION 4: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP

ISIGABA 4: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO ENKOLWENI YAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q4.1. Do you feel discriminated in a religious 203 20 42 4 12 281
situation? (both ARV and PLWHA)
Uzizwa ubandlululwa yini endaweni okukhulunywa
ngezenkolo? (kubobonke – ARV/ PLWHA)
Q4.2. Do people in your place of worship encourage 19 20 69 91 82 281
you to adhere to ARV? In a religious situation do you
feel encouraged to adhere to ARV or live positively
with virus?
Endaweni okukhulunywa kuyo ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuthatha imishanguzo ngendlela ARV?
Noma endaweni okukhulunywa ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuba nemicabango emihle?
Weighing 4.1. 203 40 126 16 60
Weighing 4.2. 19 20 69 91 82

Q4.1 and 4.2.

Finding(s): The religious communities are put in a good light emerging from this research. 72% of the people interviewed said that they have never felt discriminated at places of worship. And those responded concerning individual fellow worshippers giving support and encouragement frequently and always combined add to 55%.

Reason(s): Some of the people who do not get sufficient help say they are bewitched. These people do not want to accept that they are infected with HIV or that they are sick. Other churches do not believe in medicine and therefore would not bother to look up to medical or health institutions for assistance. These churches which do not believe in medicine insist that prayer for healing is the only solution.

Recommendation(s): Individual fellow worshippers must be encouraged the more to give and make an added effort to support PLWHA and those on ARVt. The churches must run workshops on awareness of the myths and forms of denial some people are entangled in and try to dispel such myths.

SECTION 5: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO HEALTH CENTRES

ISIGABA: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAZO EZIKHUNGWENI ZEZEMPILO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q5.1. Do you experience discrimination by the 199 27 42 6 7 281
health care system? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyahlangabezana nokubandlululwa
ezikhungweni zezempilo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Q5.2. Do you get the required help by the health care 6 20 67 108 80 281
system, when needed? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyaluthola usizo ezikhungweni zezempilo
ngesikhathi oludinga ngalo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Weighing 5.1. 199 54 126 24 35
Weighing 5.2. 6 40 201 432 400
5.1. % 71 10 15 2 2 %
5.2. % 2 7 24 38 28 %

Q5.1 and 5.2.

Finding(s): The health care centres are seen in a good light as revealed by this research. 71% of the respondents said they have never felt discriminated in the health care places. Combined together those who say thy frequently get help when need (38%) and those who say they always get help when required (28%) add to 66%.

Reason(s): The health care personnel have come to terms with the fact that HIV does not discriminate by age, gender nor profession. The professionals having discovered that they are also infected and affected are beginning to handle the situation differently and in a positive and supportive manner. They have come to realise that HIV is a common disease

– a pandemic. Health facilities have more accommodation and spaces for PLWHA and those who are on ARVt.

Recommendation(s): The churches who are working in the area of HIV and AIDS must seek to be in partnership with the health care institution and contribute their share of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Age Group 45 – 50

Number of People Interviewed: 89

SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION BY AGE GROUP

ISIGABA 1: IMINININGWANE YAKHO NGEMINYAKA

Q1.1. Are you on ARVt. Kungabe ukuma ARVt [ ]

or a PLWHA. Noma uphila negciwane kuphela? [ ]

Q1.2 Which age group do you fall in?

Ingabe iminyaka yakho iphakathi kuka?

1.2.7: 45-50 [■] %

Answer the questions scaled from 1 to 5. Mark with X, where applicable.

Scale codes: 1- Never , 2 – Rarely , 3 – Sometimes, 4 – Frequently and 5 – Always

Phendula lemibuzo elandelayo ngokufaka inombolo eyodwa phakathi kuka 1 kuya ku 5. Beka uphawu X maqondana nenombolo efanele.

  1. Akukaze, 2. Nje, 3. kuyenzeka, 4. Njalo, 5. Njalo njalo.

SECTION    2:   PERCEPTIONS   AND   EXPERIENCES   IN   RELATION   TO YOURSELF5

ISIGABA 2: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q2.1. Have you ever felt that being on ARV/PLWHA is a 68 4 8 4 5 89
punishment from god.
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA kuyisijeziso
esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Q2.2. Have you ever felt that being on ARV/PLWHA is a 48 1 17 15 8 89
blessing from God
Ucabanga ukuthi ukuba kuma ARV/PLWHA kuyisibusiso
esivela kuNkulunkulu.
Weighing 2.1. 68 8 24 16 25
Weighing 2.2. 48 2 51 60 40
2.1. % 76 4 8 4 7 %

Q2.1 and 2.2.

Finding(s): The age group of 45 – 50 responded on the questions of punishment and blessing from God for being PLWHA or being on ARVt, 76% said it is not a punishment from God but only 54% responded it is on the other hand not a blessing from God against 9% which responded is a blessing from God. This group by observation almost canceled out that as PLWHA and on ARVt, God is not to be blamed (76%) and yet they have never felt it a blessing from God (54%)

Reason(s): This group responded it is a blessing to get ARVs but it is not a blessing to be HIV positive. They responded God is not punishing them but is giving them a second chance to consider their relationship with God and helps by providing ARVs.

Recommendation(s): Equal emphasis and effort must be given to attending to the elderly people when it comes to dealing with the issues of HIV and AIDS. Conduct family camps of HIV and AIDS including and involving the elderly as well.

SECTION 3: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY

ISIGABA3: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO KULABO OHLALA NABO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q3.1. During taking treatment do members of your 8 6 11 33 32 89
household give you support when needed? Or do
members of your household support you as a PLWHA
Ingabe abomdeni bayakulandela ukwelashwa kwakho
bakunike usizo lapho kudingeka? Noma abomdeni
baya kusekela nje ngo PLWHA
Q3.2. Have you ever felt as if anyone in your 57 10 16 2 4 89
household does not want to get involved? (For both
ARV person and PLWHA)
Kuyekwenzeke kube khona emndenini abangathandi
ukuzibandakanya nokwelashwa kwakho? (Kubobonke
abaku ARV / PLWHA
Weighing 3.1. 8 12 33 132 160
Weighing 3.2. 57 20 48 8 20
3.1. % 9 7 12 37 36 %
3.2. % 64 11 18 2 4 %

Q3.1. and 3.2.

Finding(s): As it was the case with other age groups, the households and individuals in households give a lot of support according to the age group of 45 – 50. Combining that they frequently get support (37%) and that they always get support (36%) this group feel supported 73% than otherwise. And 64% of the time they feel individual members paying attention and considerately giving support.

Reason(s): More people are becoming aware of the disease which is affecting the whole community, parents, children, workers, breadwinners and professionals. That you find at times more than one family member infected gives reason that there is no point for others who are affected not to give help and support.

Recommendation(s): Educate communities continually. Assist people to disclose to families. Do more family camps. Do door-to-door campaigns.

SECTION 4: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO YOUR PLACE OF WORSHIP

ISIGABA 4: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAKHO ENKOLWENI YAKHO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q4.1. Do you feel discriminated in a religious situation? 56 13 12 7 1 89
(both ARV and PLWHA)
Uzizwa ubandlululwa yini endaweni okukhulunywa
ngezenkolo? (kubobonke – ARV/ PLWHA)
Q4.2. Do people in your place of worship encourage you 7 5 20 23 34 89
to adhere to ARV? In a religious situation do you feel
encouraged to adhere to ARV or live positively with
virus?
Endaweni okukhulunywa kuyo ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuthatha imishanguzo ngendlela ARV?
Noma endaweni okukhulunywa ngezenkolo uzizwa
ukhuthazeka ukuba nemicabango emihle?
Weighing 4.1. 56 26 36 28 5
Weighing 4.2. 7 10 60 92 170
4.1. % 63 15 13 8 1 %
4.2. % 9 6 22 26 38 %

Q4.1 and 4.2.

Finding(s): Once more about the places of worship it is by the respondents, 63% of them that they never felt discriminated due to them being PLWHA nor being on ARVt. And that 38% of individual members at places of worship always give support and 26% frequently give encouragement.

Reason(s): The churches have a clear picture of the situation and are beginning to respond responsibly

Recommendation(s): Attention should be paid to individual members to wake up to the call to give support to PLWHA and those on ARVt.

SECTION 5: PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN RELATION TO HEALTH CENTRES

ISIGABA: IZIMVO NOSUKE WAHLANGABEZANA NAZO EZIKHUNGWENI ZEZEMPILO

1 2 3 4 5 Total
Q5.1. Do you experience discrimination by the health 58 8 17 6 0 89
care system? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyahlangabezana nokubandlululwa
ezikhungweni zezempilo? (Kubobonke ARV/ PLWHA)
Q5.2. Do you get the required help by the health care 1 8 13 38 30 89
system, when needed? (to both ARV and PLWHA)
Ingabe uyaluthola usizo ezikhungweni zezempilo
ngesikhathi oludinga ngalo? (Kubobonke ARV/
PLWHA)
Weighing 5.1. 58 16 51 24 0
Weighing 5.2. 1 16 39 152 150
5.1. % 65 9 19 7 0 %
5.2. % 1 9 15 43 34 %

Q5.1 and 5.2.

Finding(s): Once more the health care institutions are spoken well of by the age group of 45 – 50. 65% said they have not felt discriminated against by the health care practitioners. Combining those who are frequently getting the help they need (43%) and those who always get the help whenever they need it (34%) the health care system is servicing people and 77% are satisfied.

Reason(s): The reasons mentioned by the other age groups hold – that there is sufficient privacy and protection, and that is a high level of understanding how to handle PLWHA and those on ARVt. This age group is more matured. They are responsible family people. They have a lot a stake in terms of their estate, their dignity and position of being role models. This group is conscious of the fact that they still wan to make a contribution in raising children and help with raising probably grand-children.

Recommendation(s): Run workshops for nurses to help them create a situation where people can easily disclose their status. The same workshops could be run for families and doctors.

Names of Researchers

  1. Benedict Dube…….……………………0722604606
  2. Biyela Nokuthula ………………………0846032427
  3. Dlamini Thami …….………………….0725677368
  4. Jila Zandile…………………..………..0788833613
  5. Khanyile Ntombifikile ………….…….0847476895
  6. Khanyile Sbonelo ……………….……0833472155
  7. Kitengie John………………………….0765547021
  8. Kubheka Sbongile ………………..…..0764275890
  9. Mhlongo Lucky……………………….0728901345

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summary Report for the KZNCC Executive, November 2011

Summary Report for the KZNCC Executive, 30 November 2011

28 November 2011

Introduction This summary report to the KZNCC Executive meeting of the 30th November 2011 is on the ongoing work of KZNCC programmes in the last quarter of 2011.

Lobbying and Advocacy COP17: The 17th Conference of Parties is now held in Durban, KZN, SA. KZNCC has been part of organizing some events around COP17. The Climate Justice Rally Concert was attended by about 400 people from KZNCC alone. The rally which was held at Kings Park Stadium was attended by approximately 2 000 people from the province of KZN.

Teenage Pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, Substance Abuse Campaign: Led by uMgungundlovu District Mayor, to be honoured by the Minister of Education, the Department of Health and KZNCC as implementing and participating partner will be hosting a Rally on Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy, HIV and AIDS and Substance Abuse. The occasion will be on the 30th November 2011, Blackburn Stadium, Pietermaritzburg, from 09h00 – 15h00. In the very rally will be an exercise of Community Dialogue on the main subject of the day – Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy.

Provincial and District Council on AIDS (PCA and DCA): The District Council on AIDS (DA) held on the 17th November 2011 and the Provincial AIDS Council (PCA) held on the 23 November 2011 where KZNCC was 2 represented included the Head of Advocacy of KZNCC as deputy chair of the prevention programme and representative of the religious sector respectively. KZNCC is making inroads of including the SAVE Strategy in the Provincial Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS.

Partnerships and Networks: The latest development is that of partnership with the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. The uMgungundlovu District Municipality has approached KZNCC and asked for the partnership in the implementation of the programme of feeding and clothing the poor in their area of jurisdiction. The campaign will be commenced in the festive season and will be an ongoing programme. Further KZNCC is pursuing the possibility of conducting Community Capacity Enhancement (CCE) Methodology or Community Dialogues with the Department of Education (DoE) in their My Life My Future Campaign. The training manual on the CCE methodology is in place (Manual Available)

Public Participation, Public Hearings and Submissions: KZNCC members, lobby groups, support groups and partners such as the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), Rural Network (RN) and cooperating organisations have been attending public hearings on ‘Land Administration and Immovable Assets Bill., 2011 in Newcastle, Portshepstone, Richardsbay and Pietermaritzburg. Led by KZNCC a submission was made in the legislature (document available). KZNCC held a discussion of the Green Paper on Land Reform. Consultations and discussions are going on.

Development of Regional Christian Councils: KZNCC has been approach by the church leaders of Ugu municipality who are proposing to establish an ecumenical structure in their area. The matter was discussed with the leadership of SKZNCC. Formative meetings are lined up.

Land Matters Project The Provincial Land Summit was successful. It was held at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary. Representatives and donors from Meserior and FELM were present. The delegation of donors was exposed to the work of KZNCC on Land Matters in the entire province of KZN (Annual Report is available). KZNCC now sits in the Ugu District Farm-workers’ Forum. The presentation on the Theology of Land was done and theologizing on the issues of land continues.

KwaZulu-Natal Church Aids Network (KZNCAN) The regional Male-Care-Givers were held at TAMCC and SKZNCC. A paradigm shift is inculcated that whether a stipend is attached to Male-Care-Giving work or not it must be held as part of the ministry of Male-Care-Givers. The provincial Male-Care-Givers meeting is postponed to February 2012. The SOFIA consultations are going on in TAMCC and SKZNCC.

Healing of Memories and Reconciliation (HoMaR) The Healing of Memories and Reconciliation (HoMaR)Consortium meeting will be held early in 2012. The HoMaR meeting will be on evaluation of the programme and planning for 2012.

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Succession Debate Research

SACP wades into succession debate

Leon Engelbrecht | Johannesburg, South Africa For Mail & Guardian,6 May 2007

The South African Communist Party (SACP) would not be an absentee participant in the election of a new African National Congress president, the organisation’s deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said on Sunday. He said the SACP was planning to uphold the values of the liberation struggle in the debate rather than act as a campaign manager for any one personality. Cronin was speaking at a press briefing on this weekend’s meeting of the party’s central committee. He said a key issue in next year’s election of a new leadership for the ANC would be the struggle against corruption, and key to this was the unhealthy link between big business and politicians. SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande said the intersection between business and the state was the root of many of the problems the ANC and government faced. “We must disrupt this relationship,” he said. “If you decide to serve the public, serve the public. If you decide to make money and go into business, go into business, but don’t mix the two,” Nzimande argued. He added that for many the public service had become a station “where you wait for the next [gravy] train.” Asked about President Thabo Mbeki’s recent statement that his successor should be a woman, Cronin responded to laughter that “our position is that the next president will be a man or a woman”. Commenting on perceived political factions within the ANC, Cronin said these were “often business factions operating through our structures”. Nzimande said the atmosphere surrounding the succession race had become poisoned. There was a dire need to “de-individualise” the succession debate. In addition, the ANC’s national executive committee had ruled that the election of a new leadership team had to be left to internal constitutional processes in the run-up to the 2007 conference. “We agree with that,” Nzimande said. However, the party wanted an ANC leadership that valued the ANC-SACP-Congress of SA Trade Unions alliance and valued the values of that alliance. He added that the party was committed to gender equality and the emancipation of women, but then Mbeki had raised the issue in a “rather difficult” atmosphere and the call could have the unintended consequence of hindering, rather than advancing the cause of women. Nzimande said the entire matter, therefore, had to be handled in a disciplined and inclusive manner, but without stifling democracy. 2 Mbeki said on Saturday that while there might be “squabbles” or “fights” within the ruling party particularly about the succession, the objective of the ANC is to address the needs of ordinary South Africans. “What are the principle tasks of the ANC? The principle task is not to be fighting over leadership. We should be concentrating on improving the lives of our people … positions are not decided by the ANC president or the secretary general. “I can understand that people are ambitious to become leaders — that shouldn’t surprise anyone. If they want to become a leader — it has to be within the confines or the rules and regulations that govern the country. “Some people want to have a seat for the presidency and some want to take over. What South Africans are saying is: ‘However you resolve your squabbles in the ANC, this is the direction we want for our country to take.'” – Sapa

Sexwale’s name thrown into succession debate

07 January 2007, Mail& Guardian

Businessman Tokyo Sexwale has been approached by senior Cabinet ministers to run for the position of African National Congress (ANC) president later this year, a move which would pave the way for him to become the president of South Africa when Thabo Mbeki retires in 2009, the Sunday Times reported. Sexwale himself has been talking to both of the ANC factions, whose loyalties are split between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, the Sunday Times said. Part of Sexwale’s strategy appears to be to seek former President Nelson Mandela’s endorsement of his candidature, which his backers believe would constitute a great boost for his campaign. Turbulent year In December it was reported that 2007 promises to be the most turbulent in South Africa since apartheid’s demise, with an already acrimonious battle for the leadership of the ANC set to spill out into the open. Mbeki, not due to stand down as state president until 2009, is set to relinquish his post as ANC supremo at a December conference with Jacob Zuma, the man whom he sacked as his number two, looking to place his foot on the traditional stepping stone to the highest office. Mbeki will also face a new opposition leader when the Democratic Alliance chooses a successor to the outgoing Tony Leon. “I would say it will be the most divisive year” since the end of the whites-only regime in 1994, said Cape Town-based analyst Daniel Silke. “The battle for leadership in both spheres has the potential to create internal ructions.” The last succession contest a decade ago, when Mbeki replaced Nelson Mandela, was not without bitterness but the divisions this time have raised questions about whether the ANC can stay in one piece. 3 In line with ANC tradition, Zuma has not declared his candidacy but there is furious lobbying behind the scenes. Fundraising dinners have been held to build up a war-chest while Zuma supporters have been fingered for a string of humiliations heaped on Mbeki, such as heckling one of his speeches. The contest will play out a decade-long battle between supporters of Mbeki’s privatisation agenda and those who feel he has ignored deep-seated poverty. Adam Habib of the Pretoria-based Human Sciences Research Council said Zuma had positioned himself as cheerleader of the have-nots. “He agreed to represent that faction, he articulated that unhappiness,” he said. Zuma kept in the race after being cleared in 2006 of rape and having a corruption case thrown out of court. But the threat of new graft charges and damaging revelations in the rape trial have left a shadow over his head. A recent poll in the Sunday Independent showed 60% believe Zuma has disgraced the country while half believe he would be a disaster as president. The survey also highlighted ethnic divisions, with Zuma’s main support base among Zulus and Mbeki’s support at its highest among Xhosa-speakers. Nearly 80% of those from Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal want him as president compared with 31% of Xhosa speakers. “For the first time within the succession stakes there is inter-ethnic conflict,” said Silke. While Silke doubts the succession battle will scare off investors, “anything that smacks of emergence of tribalism within South Africa would be of major concern to the international community”. The potential for division has led to speculation the party will seek a compromise candidate. — Sapa, AFP

Khumalo challenges Mbeki on succession debate o

The Mercury on May 11, 2006 Sipho Khumalo May 11 2006 at 09:34AM

An ally and confidante of embattled ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma has sneered at President Thabo Mbeki’s statement that the next president of the country should be a woman. 4 Elias Khumalo, a businessman, said on Wednesday that Mbeki should resign now and give his position to a woman to show his commitment to the statement he made at the weekend. The statement has been viewed with suspicion by those backing Zuma, who feel this is a plan by Mbeki to personally appoint the next president and prevent Zuma from ascending to the position. Khumalo said it was baffling that Mbeki was opening a debate on the presidential succession now after commenting that the time was not right for such debate when the issue was raised by the ANC Youth League in 2005. Khumalo, a former business associate of Muziwendoda Kunene, who has been implicated in the hoax email scandal connected to the ANC’s succession battle, said Mbeki’s comment ran contrary to ANC policy. He is also a leading figure in the Friends of Jacob Zuma organisation, which is responsible for mobilising financial support for Zuma’s legal defence. “It has never happened in the ANC that you have a president deciding unilaterally on his preference (of a successor). This is a sign of autocracy,” said Khumalo. He said he feared that Mbeki’s call could be viewed by some people as an attempt to ensure that whoever succeeded him, whether male or female, was more “docile and controllable”. “If the president is so passionate that the next president should be a female, he can actually demonstrate that by resigning now to give the chance to a woman. I do not think anybody would oppose that because he would be practising what he is preaching,” said Khumalo, adding that empowering women was a policy of the ANC and not of an individual in the party. Mbeki’s call for a woman president has also been criticised by Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal, with its Secretary, Zet Luzipho, saying the timing of the call raises many questions. He warned that “women should not be used for selfish political agendas” hidden in campaigns for women empowerment. He asked why Mbeki was so confident that the next president would be a woman. Luzipho has been at the forefront of pro-Zuma campaigns in the province.

Union slams Mbeki over succession debate

May 26 2006 at 12:27AM

By Leon Engelbrecht African National Congress leader and president Thabo Mbeki was lambasted by the Congress of South African Trade Unions on Thursday for campaigning for a successor while preventing others from doing the same. Its Central Executive Committee (CEC) criticised Mbeki for opening the debate on who would succeed him while he presided over an African National Congress National Executive Committee that condemned the ANC Youth League for doing the same. “It cannot be correct that others’ hands are tied by protocol while the president declares his own candidature and then consistently calls for a woman president in public instead of using the ANC structures,” Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said at a media briefing on the CEC’s behalf. Equally it is wrong to mobilise non-ANC members to decide on who must be the next president, more so when the South African system lets the president be elected by the ANC rather than the whole electorate. It is the ANC that was elected by the citizens not any individual. “Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was brutally and rudely reminded that he was not an ANC 5 member when he ventured to make comments about democracy in the ANC. Now, in contrast, everyone is being mobilised to decide on internal ANC matters,” Vavi said of an attack on Tutu last year and an invitation to the public earlier this month. Vavi said Cosatu and the South African Communist Party believed this was just another tack by a grouping within the ANC that was, as he put it, carefully and skilfully pursuing a project to shift the ANC and the national democratic revolution from its radical character into a moderate, centre-left political party beholden to capital. “The key feature of this strategy is low intensity democracy which includes marginalisation of the ANC mass base together with all formations of the mass democratic movement,” Vavi charged. He added that the ANC’s NEC had become a club of cabinet ministers and business interests, and therefore it came as no surprise that big business was now openly attempting to influence the succession. “Equally we are not surprised that some of businesses have joined the tune that we now need a women president,” Vavi said. “Every class, even those who have historically sought to destroy the ANC, will seek to influence this discussion, using every means in its possession, from money to the media.” At the weekend the SACP said the intense and early interest in who would next year succeed Mbeki as president of the ANC and as head of state in 2009 was the direct result of the over-centralisation of power in the Union Buildings and Luthuli House. – Sapa

Succession Debate by Zwelinzama

The succession debate Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, COSATU – September 7, 2006

Dear friends and comrades, Thank you for the opportunity to speak on the important issue of the succession debate. This is a particularly welcome chance for us because, for all the media noise about COSATU’s views and positions, we have seen very little willingness to actually listen to us. As usual, we are producing volumes of documentation on our work and ideas for the upcoming Congress, and it would be a useful exercise if our friends outside of COSATU took the time to look at them. We thank you for the chance to speak directly and openly on this complex and politically contested issue. Let me start by asking why we need a succession debate at all. For COSATU, the process is meaningless if it becomes a mere beauty contest, a debate on the pros and cons of individuals. In any case, from experience, even if we think we know a person, she or he is likely to surprise us once they come to power. Rather, COSATU must use this opening to ask what changes are needed in the ANC as an organisation in order to improve the position of workers and the poor. The succession debate must open up an analysis of the ANC’s role in the current phase of our revolution. The succession debate is about how we take our NDR forward. Only then can we set parameters for the way forward. We have to start by evaluating how conditions have changed since the democratic breakthrough in 1994. For COSATU, the main shortcomings today lie in the economy and how we have conducted our politics. Since 1994, we have seen extraordinary high levels of unemployment and poverty, with precious little improvement for the majority of our people. True, government has done a lot to extend services and social grants our communities. But the benefits have been offset by the job-loss bloodbath. We watch our members turned onto the street every week, while their children spend years after leaving school with little prospect of a paying job at all. Today, years after we won democracy, inequalities in income and wealth remain virtually unchanged. Black communities still lag far behind historically white suburbs in access to services. The lines of inequality still run between a small group of predominantly white rich people, on the one hand, and the vast majority of mostly black workers, the unemployed and the informally self-employed, on the other. At the same time, a small group of black people has managed to get a foothold in the economy. Black capital has made increasing efforts to use the state to drive its own limited demands, rather than to ensure transformation. A right-wing political-economic elite has begun to consolidate itself, with close ties between some in government and business. This situation runs the real risk of establishing a kleptocracy, where our leaders judge development by their ability to consume as much as the rich in the North rather than by improvements in the position of the majority. It is this situation that led COSATU and the SACP to agree that capital was the main beneficiary in economic terms from our first decade of liberation. That’s a heavy statement we have made with profound implications on the direction of our NDR. Our NDR was never about a narrow replacement of the white with the black oligarchy. Our NDR is about tackling all three forms of oppression – the national, class and gender oppression simultaneously and not one after the other. The situation where the main beneficiary of economic transformation is white capital cannot be allowed to persist. It was from this analysis that these leading working class formation declared the next decade must be a workers and the poor’s decade. In this context, the failure to transform the state means that it remains more responsive to capital than to the majority, despite efforts to improve public services for the poor and some progress on economic policy in the past few years. Our democratic government inherited a state full of closed and hierarchical processes designed to exclude the majority. Despite huge improvements, embodied in Parliament and NEDLAC, most people are still shut out of key government decisions. The result has been an increase in unrest, as local governments in particular seem unresponsive to people’s needs. At the same time, the failure to transform the state means that many people who dedicated their entire lives to our liberation remain excluded from political power. Most long-term activists have been marginalised, and they are increasingly bitter about it. This situation points to the need to refine COSATU’s long-standing call for a strong developmental state. A strong state that is controlled by capital is not in the interests of the working class. Rather, we need a democratic developmental state that drives policies in the interests of workers and the poor. That, in turn, requires inclusive and accountable policy-making processes. The voice of communities, working people, and the historically marginalised must dominate in the development of government programmes and policies. Implementation must be powered by the mobilisation of our people, not just deals with big business. Only in that context do we call for a state with the power to co-ordinate around key projects, find the necessary resources, and manage both local and international situation appropriately. What do we need from the ANC to address the challenges that have arisen over the past 12 years? Above all, the ANC must give the majority power over the state in between elections. The ANC has always been our organisation, our best hope for bringing together the progressive forces in our country to drive transformation and a better life for all. We will not give it away to capital without a fight. But we have to admit that from the standpoint of an ordinary worker, it has today largely become only an elections machine, mobilising our people to vote and ineffective in between. We need to turn that around. Revitalising the ANC faces three challenges. First, the huge power of the state has tended in itself to demobilise the ANC at all levels. Given the capacity of the state to churn out policy proposals, the ANC can easily be left behind. The NEC and the NWC have virtually no poor people or workers left, and are dominated by government leaders. The result is that the real policy discussions take place within government. There is a dearth of debate in the ANC – we are lucky if there’s a meeting once or twice a year to reflect on policy issues. ANC branches are largely shut out from policy processes. At my last branch meeting, the main policy question was how to take forward the municipality’s anti-litter campaign. This situation means the ANC has become little more than a rubberstamp for government decisions. In the process, it has developed a culture of intolerance, where power determines the outcome of policy discussions, rather than facts and the experience of all participants. Second, in the context of growing class formation in the black population, the ANC has become a centre for contestation and lobbying. It has always been open to anyone who accepts its ideals and objectives. That openness can now be abused by people who pay lip-service to improving conditions for the majority, but in fact seek opportunities to enrich themselves. Capital always has time and capacity to lobby the powerful (as well as money for elections). Black capital may be small in numbers and economic power, but it certainly has time to contest the ANC. Now we also see big white companies taking an interest. At 8 the same time, the opportunities for politicians to enter business have multiplied, and they are increasingly drawn into the business class. The results of deepening class differences in political terms are clear to see. Large ANC meetings that include representatives of the branches reach very different conclusions from the closed-door NEC and NWC meetings. The outcome is instability, conflict and, for COSATU, repeatedly re-awakened hope that we can revive the old, democratic ANC. In our 2015 Plan we committed to rebuilding the ANC from the bottom up, by encouraging our members to revitalise their branches. If we do not deal with the log-jam on internal democracy, however, that proposal is not going to work. Third, we have to take into account the international context. We have been tremendously encouraged by the recent successes of mass mobilisation around the WTO, as well as by the victories of the Left in Latin America in recent years. Obviously these victories are offset by the horrors of U.S.-led aggression in the Middle East. Still, they point to the potential for galvanising local and international forces to confront American aggression and economic hegemony. The succession debate has to help us analyse and develop proposals for dealing with all these challenges. Again, the question is how to revive long-standing ANC traditions in the face of contestation by business and the power of the state. Those traditions are, above all, The bias toward the working class and the poor, based on internal democracy, not closed decision-making in smoky back rooms, A commitment to ANC leadership in policy issues in the spirit of the Ready to Govern Conference and the RDP, based on mass consultation and open debate, and The culture of public service, collectivity and open debate, rather than individual careerism and competition over 4 by 4s. In sum, the succession debate, for us, must not deteriorate into squabbles about the merits or shortcomings of individuals. Rather, it must discuss programmes of action and the leadership collective as a whole, at all levels. The succession debate must help us think through our analysis of where we are in our political and economic programme, and where we want to be. Only on that basis can we position the ANC for its centenary in 2012 and beyond as a true liberation movement, one that can free our people not just of the oppression of apartheid, but of the tyranny of joblessness, poverty and powerlessness. 9 The Herald, 07 November 7, 2007 Patrick Cull on Monday Ramaphosa bid seems to be wishful thinking THE most intriguing question in the “succession” debate at present is whether Cyril Ramaphosa will, despite his denials, enter the presidential race. On two occasions Ramaphosa‘s name has been mentioned, and on both occasions he has issued a statement denying that he has any aspirations to serve either as president of the ANC or head of state. Yet the suggestions persist that he will step forward at some point, Tokyo Sexwale will withdraw in his favour, and Ramaphosa will be hailed as the man that can heal the rifts and destroy the factionalism that has become an integral part of the ruling party. It all sounds as if it is the product of wishful thinking on the part of those within the ANC who resent the manner in which the organisation is being torn apart and would like both ANC president Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, to withdraw from the fray, and those fearful of the effect on the country if Zuma were to be elected. Until Ramaphosa does emerge as a candidate – if it ever happens – we are left with two candidates that appear to have run out of steam with Sexwale waiting in the wings, although there has been a prolonged silence from that quarter as well. In the meantime slates have now been published by the rival camps for the top six positions that will be decided at national conference at the end of the year. There is some overlap, although whether that is because there is consensus or because the people represent key constituencies is another matter. Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Zuma‘s name, for example, appears on the slate of both those supporting a third term for President Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader and those backing Zuma. Apart from the speculation around Ramaphosa, the only other development has been ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota‘s criticism of Zuma‘s trademark battle cry on the grounds that phase of the struggle had ended and songs should reflect today‘s challenges such as those around development. Lekota later denied that he was referring to Zuma. Perhaps the saddest aspect of events over the past month has been the way that Mbeki has appeared in a new guise. Rather than the “philosopher king” image that he appeared to cultivate, we see a man who appears to have become obsessed with the loyalty of those around him rather than the best interests of the country. And that has seen him launch attacks on the media and his henchman, Essop Pahad, even proposing government should withdraw its advertising support from the Sunday Times following its expose of Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang‘s criminal record in Botswana. Mbeki‘s actions at times have appeared almost irrational, the dispute over conditions at East London‘s Frere Hospital being the prime example. Mbeki must know that there are significant problems with state hospitals. Reports of the conditions that prevail appear almost daily along with those that record staff shortages, lack of security and a host of other problems. And he must surely also be aware of the fact that some provinces are not spending the conditional grant funds allocated for hospital revitalisation. Yet he is not willing to act against those responsible. Rather, he lauds Tshabalala-Msimang, defends the investigation that was conducted after Frere Hospital knew it was to take place and dismisses deputy minister Noziwe Madlala- Routledge for not working as part of a collective after she had visited the hospital unannounced and declared it to be a “national emergency”. The Daily Dispatch investigation is summarily dismissed and its motives questioned. Yet he visited the Peddie Hospital personally in the election campaign of 1999 and he saw the conditions. Surely he does not believe that in eight years the situation has been magically transformed? What is in the public interest has been simply pushed aside and replaced by what is in the President‘s interests. It is clear that he has become utterly intolerant of criticism and his determination to serve a third term as ANC president and therefore retain power has become an obsession. It is there that the similarity with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is to be found. Both men are intellectuals and remote. Neither is interested in materials things and it has never been suggested of either that they are corrupt. But they are both driven by a desire for power and while Mbeki would never seek to change the Constitution to allow him to serve a third term as head of state because that would reinforce the negative perceptions of Africa, he is seeking to retain ultimate control by being elected as ANC president for the third time. Certainly, the election at the end of the year is about which person will be elected and the policies that they will pursue, although even if Zuma were to be successful it is difficult to see him introducing drastic shifts in fiscal and economic policy. The left wing credentials he proclaims are a convenient tool in the battle for the leadership. More importantly, however, it is about whether we will see Mbeki returned for a third term and whether he will be able to entrench himself as the real power, determining policy and dispensing patronage from behind the throne.

Succession bomb rocks ANC

26/09/2004 13:24 – (SA) News24 Jimmy Seepe Johannesburg

Gauteng ANC leadership has thrown down the gauntlet by requesting discussion with the party’s national leaders about President Thabo Mbeki’s successor in 2009. 11 More than two years before the ANC has to choose a new leader at a national conference, the influential Gauteng district has called on the national leadership to encourage the party’s structures at all levels to discuss a successor for Mbeki. The request upset the ANC because it is in direct opposition to a formal request from the national leadership that such discussions be discouraged. The national leadership requested that the focus must instead be on the challenges facing the country and the party. Gauteng ANC co-ordinator David Makhura confirmed that the provincial executive committee had suggested to the national leadership that discussions should be held about Mbeki’s successor. “We want the issue discussed inside the organisation’s structure, instead of being informally discussed by individuals. We are placing it firmly on the agenda,” he said. The suggestion indicated that it could not be taken as a given that deputy president Jacob Zuma would succeed Mbeki, in the same manner Mbeki, then deputy president, succeeded former president Nelson Mandela in 1997. It seemed as if the ANC could be entering a long and drawn-out process to choose a successor for Mbeki, who must step down in 2009 according to the Constitution. Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Defence Minister and ANC national chairpeson Mosiuoa Lekota have been mentioned as possible successors during the past year. Businessman and ANC heavyweight Cyril Ramaphosa, businessman and former ANC spokesperson Saki Mcozoma and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel have also been mentioned. Ramaphosa, a former secretary general of the ANC, has been denying rumours that he was in the race for the presidency. The ANC in Gauteng brought up the issue of Mbeki’s successor in athe wake of an official document titled Building an protection of the unity of the movement. The document requests an honest discussion on national and provincial levels on issues relating to the succession. The document states that the unity of the ANC will be seriously tested by the critical question of leadership succession on national and provincial level as the 52nd national conference and the 2009 election approach. This move by the Gauteng ANC could be regarded as a reverse for the political ambitions of deputy president Jacob Zuma, who would have liked to see a seamless succession from being deputy president to being president. He has said on several occasions that discussion about succession within the ANC was ISS TODAY 18 July 2006: South Africa’s Succession Debate Cheryl Hendricks, ISS

The presidential succession debate continues to pervade the South African media, even though the ANC has noted that it will not engage the issue until the ANC conference next year. The media portrays the ANC as split between Zuma and Mbeki supporters and argues that this has severely impacted on the functioning of the organization. They have suggested a number of possible compromise candidates: Kgalema Motlanthe, Trevor Manuel, Mosioua Lekota and Cyril Ramaphosa. The furthest President Mbeki has gone in making his wishes known is by indicating that he would like to see a woman as the next South African President. His appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as his deputy was seen as a step in this direction. However, from the choice of possible compromise candidates being bandied around, it seems that South Africans are not that willing to consider the potential of women in this regard. What are some of the underlying issues that emerge from the succession saga and that explain its current political centrality? First, the struggle between Zuma and Mbeki supporters is representative of the deeper cleavages within the society. Mbeki has come to represent the urbane, modernist, technocratic, pan-Africanist face of the ANC, while Zuma is seen as appealing to the populists, urban and rural poor, and traditionalist elements. South Africans have largely tended to deny the salience of ethnic politics. Zuma’s political campaign, however, has brought ethnicity squarely into the political arena, and this scares many. This is not an issue that can be neatly swept under the carpet through some form of ‘elite pacting’. It has to be recognized and dealt with appropriately, for it has been the nemesis of most post-colonial African states. Second, the debate highlights the need for a public discussion on how future presidents are to be elected. To date the ANC has retained its liberation movement modus operandi in which secrecy, discipline, internal unity and collective leadership are the guiding principles. It is now confronted with a situation in which there is a competition for power that has spilled over into the public domain. The ANC appears to be caught off guard by these tactics. It has to think through ways in which competitive power politics, with which it will be confronted more and more, can be incorporated into deciding who will govern. Third, though South Africa has one of the most progressive liberal democratic constitutions, we are well aware that there is still a major disjuncture between it and societal norms. It is not surprising, therefore, that though gender equality is entrenched in the constitution, those power brokers viewed as having a chance to become president are all male. A woman president would, regardless of her qualifications, be seen as an affirmative action appointment and the political stakes appear too high for such considerations.

Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s address at the Conference of Knowledge Management Africa, Ceasars Palace, Johannesburg

1 March 2005 13 Mr Mandla Gantsho, CEO of the Development Bank of DBSA, Members of the Knowledge Management Africa Committee, The Honourable Raila Odinga, Minister of Roads & Public Works, Kenya, Vice-Chancellors of institutions of higher learning, Representatives of the Business Community, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Guests,

It is an honour and a privilege for me to be part of this important conference that deals with such a crucial issue of Knowledge Management in our country and the continent. The deliberations and discussions that you will have in the next three days, under the theme, “Knowledge Management to Address Africa’s Development Challenges,” are an important contribution to help our country and our continent to deal with the challenges that face us on the issues of enhancing service delivery and governance. We believe that since the inception of democracy in our country in 1994, a lot of ground has already been covered at the level of knowledge management. However, the most critical aspect remains that of ensuring that such knowledge is accessible to the majority of stakeholders, and also to co-ordinate the efforts that have been made. I am pleased to see representation from academia and the business community from the African continent, to this conference. We need all key sectors to be part of this process of renewal. The challenges that face Africa cannot be solved by African governments on their own, without the participation of all stakeholders in the African continent. As you are aware, there are many challenges that face the continent. At the dawn of the 21st century we declared this century as the African Century. We have every intention of living up to that declaration and need the support of other sectors to make the renewal objectives a reality. In declaring this an African century, we were informed by an experience of many decades of hardships. Due to slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism apartheid and other forms of oppression, our continent had gone through systematic underdevelopment which sowed the seeds for conflict, poverty, instability and suffering over many decades. When Africa gained its independence from colonial powers after decades of struggle, the instruments of control by the colonising powers had been entrenched. A particular culture of public service and governance, which did not put the interests of the indigenous people first, had taken root, which many countries still have to address to this day. We are aware that we cannot blame colonial powers alone for the predicament we found ourselves in, given that after the decolonisation period, some African elites used the opportunity of being in power to plunder resources, and disregarded democratic norms and traditions. The challenge now is how do we work together as all sectors to reverse the socio-economic challenges facing the continent, and to entrench a culture of democracy, good governance and peace. I must reiterate that we view it as the responsibility of every sector within the broader African society in the continent, to work towards the regeneration of Africa and the reversal of stereotypes. Your conference is therefore an important step towards that direction, where we pool our intellectual resources for the betterment of the continent. Ladies and gentlemen, your conference takes place during the season of hope, not only in our country but the continent at large. This is largely due to the enormous amount of work that is being done to rebuild our continent and place it on the path of sustainable development. The various organs and programmes of the African Union are being operationalised, and are geared towards helping the continent achieve the objectives of renewal. On the socio-economic front, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, is being implemented at various levels in various regions in the continent. The NEPAD office will be in a position to provide details and opportunities that are available. The establishment of NEPAD holds the key to solving some of Africa’s problems with its goals of eradicating poverty, enabling sustainable growth and development in the continent and working to end the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process. To boost the NEPAD process, the agenda of our engagement with the developed partners in the North also includes the call for the restructuring of international economic and financial institutions, to create a more just and equitable environment for the developing world. We are saying to the developed world we have heard their declarations of intent, we now seek concrete action plans, with regards to the opening up of markets for our products and other interventions such as the cancellation of debt. Another new way of doing things in Africa, towards the renewal, is the promotion of democratic principles and good governance. We are seeing more and more African countries holding democratic elections and promoting a constitutional and democratic way of taking over power. Successful free and fair elections were held in the continent in the past few months, for example in Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana and Niger. We also welcome the increasing intolerance of the unconstitutional entry into office through coups and other mechanisms within the continent. The African Union objective of ensuring that democratic principles are respected in the whole of Africa has been given a major boost over the weekend, on the issue of Togo, when Faure Gnassingbe vacated office as the self-elected president of Togo. The Constitution of Togo will now give direction on the issue of succession. We are generally encouraged by the progress being made in peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts in various regions. South Africa has played a role in peacemaking and peacekeeping in various parts of the continent. We do this as we realise that we cannot achieve the socio-economic objectives we have set for the continent if there is continuing conflict. You would be aware that a major breakthrough took place yesterday when the people of Burundi voted during the referendum on their Constitution. The referendum will pave the way for the holding of local, parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for April this year. We congratulate the Burundians on reaching this milestone, and wish them all the best in the implementation of the rest of the transitional programme, especially the coming democratic elections. Other important developments that have taken place in the continent have been in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Liberia is ready to hold democratic elections later this year in October, while Sierra Leone has restored its democratically elected leader President Kabbah back to his seat. In Sudan a ceasefire has been signed, thus ending one of the longest conflicts in the continent. The step taken by the Sudanese government to resume talks with Darfur rebels is another positive development. We are also confident that peace will finally be achieved in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we will continue to assist the Congolese people towards holding democratic elections which are scheduled for June this year. The positive developments on peacemaking make us optimistic that indeed a new Africa is in the process of being born, free of conflicts, wars, poverty and hunger. Ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate that we view the restructuring of international institutions as an important part of our strategy of rebuilding our continent, and of ensuring an equitable world political and economic order. We believe that some of the problems that we face as a continent are also due to the fact that we are underrepresented on international bodies such as the United Nations, which make and determine policy on crucial international issues such as international peace and security. The draft African Common Position on the UN Security Council reform includes the following: * Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council. * Full representation of Africa in the Security Council means not less than two permanent seats, and as a matter of common justice, with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto, as well as five non-permanent seats. * Even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, as long as it exists, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council. The African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives in the Security Council. The question of the criteria for the selection of African members of the Security Council should be a matter for the AU to determine, taking into consideration the representative nature and capacity of those chosen. We hope to take our intelligentsia, business community and civil along as we fight this struggle of representation at the UN. We believe our time has come. I wish you well in your deliberations, and hope that this conference will be a success. We look forward to receiving your resolutions. I Thank You

ANC succession race wide open

Sexwale: Leadership and Democracy in South Africa (07/06/2007) Send to Colleague: Print Article: Published: 7 Jun 07 – 14:34 Source: Business Day Title: Sexwale:

Leadership and Democracy in South Africa PUBLIC CONVERSATIONS ON LEADERSHIP AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH AFRICA A more than candid public conversation on leadership in South Africa as we enter the second decade of liberation can only be realistic if it is contextualized. Therefore, what is the context? Firstly, South Africa is not only experiencing the nascent stages of its second decade of national emancipation but finds itself within an increasingly competitive environment in a rapidly globalizing international economic arena, accompanied by a variety of challenging political circumstances. Secondly, at the turn of this century, leaders of the world, all hopefully representing this various peoples, converged at the United Nations Summit to map out the fundamental tasks confronting mankind around global development issues. The Millennium Development goals, aimed at confronting the question of extreme poverty in our world where close to two billion people are forced to exist on fewer than two Dollars per day, were the collective goals chartered by the Millennium summit. These goals, to be reviewed in 2015 and finally in 2025, include amongst others, the following: 1. The eradication of extreme poverty. 2. The achievement of universal primary education. 3. The reduction of child mortality. 4. To improve maternal health. 5. The promotion of gender equality. 6. The combating of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. 7. To ensure environmental sustainability. 8. The development of global partnerships for development. Our country is co-sponsor and signatory to the UN declaration on these noble Millennium goals because not only do we crave to live in a better world, but most importantly, we desire to have a better quality of life for our own citizens. The Electoral manifesto of the ANC, our governing party, was and remains “A better life for all”. A better quality of life, a much better life presupposes sustained economic growth – or better still, sustainable high economic growth rates. In our situation, this implies an economic GDP growth rate beyond the current 4 to 5% to compete with the population growth figures. Notwithstanding that the South African year 2006 – 2007 growth rates are in positive territory, it should be recalled that the envisaged target was 6% for the year 2001. Therefore, there is a deficit in our targets, a situation that will require continuous improvements. Economic growth rates are by themselves meaningless unless they touch the lives of ordinary citizens. Our greatest challenge is therefore that of wealth creation for all. The concept of shared growth after all needs to be understood not in the context of what Karl Marx referred to as “egalitarianism”, but in a situation where, through the creation of equal opportunities, citizens shall prosper to varying degrees of success. In a nutshell, the task is that of growing a strong and sustainable economy and to undertake wealth creation opportunities for all. The poorest of the poor do not wish to remain entrapped in their marginal position for a moment longer; they also need to enjoy material wealth. Therefore, being pro-poor is not about sloganeering or poverty entrenchment but about engaging in strategies for wealth creation and enhancement. While the process of economic growth in our situation is premised upon the uneasy partnership between labour and capital in the production processes, it is nevertheless the function of the State to create the enabling environment for growth. An additional role of government together with its partners in the economy – workers and capital – is to put in place a social plan to support those who are on the fringes of the economy, far away from its centre-stage, and to have a safety net to catch those – the poorest of the poor – who fall through the cracks. This is aimed at providing them with housing opportunities, a public health system, education and skills development, as well as providing electricity, water and other crucial basic social services. But it is the corporate sector that is the primary creator of jobs and work opportunities. The extent to which this sector is treated or maltreated, welcomed or unwelcomed, by far determines their continued appetite and commitment to capital expansion and job creation. It should also be emphatically stated that at the same time, it is the workers who are the primary creators of value, for without them, natural resources, tools and machines cannot by themselves create commodities. It therefore stands to reason, that the capital-labour partnership is uneasy for the reason that it is the quintessential example of the unity and struggle of the opposites – where both are united in the production process and contradictory in respect of the distribution of surplus value. Where labour’s objective is to maximize wages, capital aims at the maximization of profit. Growth of our economy therefore lies in the ability of all parties to manage these production tensions while government develops and maintains the requisite climate. Our country is not an island. It is part and parcel of the globalized world markets, which are highly punitive upon those who place much emphasis on internal feuds where contradictions are left to degenerate into antagonisms. Foreign competitors simply love such nations. The notions ought to change. We need to bear this in mind as we continue to engage with each other.

PROGRESS THROUGH AN OPEN SOCIETY

If it is a given that the national endeavour is that of creating a sound basis for the provision of a better quality of life for all South Africans on the basis of a solid and highly growing economy to create wealth and wealth opportunities for all our people for the elimination of poverty, then it is presumed that these major challenges can only be realizable in a constantly changing and improving climate of freedom. Freedom is indivisible and a more free and more open society is a fundamental pre-requisite. At every twist and turn in the quest to achieve our desired objectives, our best tools or weapons remain more debates, more discourses, more discussions, dialogue – all based on dialectical understandings. In the world of natural science, the strength and quality of one element is usually tested against another in laboratories. On the contrary, in the world of social science – where human consciousness is the highest – the quality of one idea is tested against another idea and the tested method is that of dialectical examination. Thus may the best idea prevail. That is the essence of democratic discourse. The opposite is also true – under the climate of fear, of less democracy, less sincere debates, less frank discussions, less than good ideas prevail and mediocrity wins the day. Fear is a state of mind which can be externally or internally imposed. Relatively, the former is easy to deal with as it is objective and the imposer is known and can thus be challenged. But organic fear, which is self-imposed, is much harder to tackle since it is subjective, corrosive and self- destructive, no matter how much its owner may try to put up a brave face! In an open society, an open democracy where there is a free flow of ideas, one where “a hundred flowers” are blooming, as Mao said, or as one ANC writer intimated, where we ought to be celebrating in a “festival of ideas”, we all must be free to state: I THINK. or I THINK NOT. I THINK SO. or I DON’T THINK SO. The classical example on free thinking and debate is summed up in the discussion between Karl Marx and one of his critics on the question of the causality of poverty. This critic wrote extensively on the theme: The Philosophy of Poverty, arguing that it is as a result of natural differences amongst people. Marx retorted by writing on the Poverty of Philosophy regarding the failure of philosophy in explaining poverty! Hence his classical conclusion that all along philosophers have been busy interpreting the world – the task even of philosophers, is to change it! Therefore in the challenging endeavour to address the issues of providing a better quality of life and the creation of a better country in a better world, a free-thinking, more tolerant and open society is a primary prerequisite, where dissent is never to be regarded as disloyalty. “Thinking requires no one’s approval – implementation may. Be not fearful”.

CHARACTERIZATION OF LEADERSHIP STYLES

Our contribution to this conversation on leadership as provided by the Platform for Public Deliberation led by its executive chairman, Xolela Mangcu, would be incomplete without a word on developments around the ANC, the governing party’s much talked-about forthcoming December conference where a new set of leadership is to be elected. Analysts, commentators and also some of us members of the ANC are missing the point to an extent. More light needs to be shed upon the ANC June conference which shall be engaged on critical policy issues affecting the entire country than the heat being generated under the December conference. In a way, we, the ANC, must first go through the eye of the needle in June in order to see December through. However, it is understandable that there is much being made about the leadership succession issue in December. This is a common phenomenon in the world where policies are seen as less exciting than personalities. The crucial point on this matter that needs to be clearly understood is that the ANC – is not only going to elect one person – in this case the President but it is also an election of the entire leadership of the National Executive Committee. Such a leadership is expected to conduct itself as a collective, mandated to take forward the work of the National Conference for the continued implementation of ANC policies especially as pertaining to government. Such a collective leadership, as always, shall be expected to prioritize the question of political and socio-economic development with special emphasis on the development agenda affecting the poorest of the poor who emanate particularly from the ranks of the working people. This approach, however, does not in the least make the ANC a working class organization. The ANC is a multi-class organization of the people of South Africa. While its policies are biased towards the working people in general and also towards the African majority in particular, it nevertheless caters for all peaceloving, democratic South Africans who believe in its objectives and the National Democratic Revolution for the advancement of the developmental state on behalf of all our citizens – black and white. We go into both conferences with an open mind as exemplified by the various policy discussion documents already distributed to enable robust debates. Contrary to speculation from critics, the ANC is open to acknowledging even some of the most difficult issues around existing antagonistic tensions which threaten to undermine our organizational unity. Let me quote from our organization review vol. 3: “However many challenges remain, across the organization and the broad democratic movement there is a growing tendency to carry out dirty character assassination and (the) dissemination of lies about other Comrades has reached uncontrollable proportions”. A last word on leadership: The essential ingredient of leadership is courage. Hence the saying: “the courage of one’s convictions”. All of us do have, in one way or another, convictions. But it is when courage fails us that convictions never see the light of day. Here a clear distinction on the leadership quality of courage should be made from that of bravado. To be brave is one thing. Bravado is entirely a different story that can lead to failure. Pallo Jordan in his April tribute to Chris Hani said that of all the qualities attributed to Chris Hani, he had one in great abundance, i.e. courage. If we can only learn from particularly this attribute, we shall never fail. It took enormous courage on the part of ANC leaders over more than nine decades to handle various crises confronting the ANC and the people of South Africa. These moments of courage include inter alia; the response to the betrayal of our people at the formation of the Union in 1910 which was followed by the formation of the ANC in 1912, the response to the 1956 arrest of 156 leaders of the Congress Movement, the 1960 banning of the ANC, and the launching of the Armed Struggle, right through to the conclusion of the Armed Struggle via the Codesa Constitutional breakthrough. It took great courage on the part of 20 000 women in 1956 to march on the Union Buildings protesting against pass laws. Malibongwe. It took great courage by the Youth League, particularly under the leadership of Peter Mokaba to stare down apartheid troops as the Young Lions made apartheid unworkable and racist South Africa ungovernable. It took personal courage on the part of OR Tambo to lead the ANC for close to three decades of difficult challenges culminating in paying the highest price with his life as a result of a stroke. It took a great deal of personal courage for the 27 year old Chris Hani, following the Wankie Operations setback in then Rhodesia to put pen to paper in a memorandum to the leadership which culminated in the groundbreaking Morogoro conference – a turning point for the ANC. It took great courage for Madiba isolated and alone in prison, to stare the enemy in the face and call upon him to initiate discussions with the ANC outside prison which led towards the demise of the apartheid regime. It has taken personal courage on the part of President Mbeki to challenge the negative and distorted global perspective on Africa and to identify this as the African Century for the African Renaissance. Leadership is not about walking behind the people, pushing them forward to save one’s skin. This is called tailism. Leadership is not about hiding amongst the people and not taking leadership decisions hiding behind the slogan “the masses say”. Leadership is not about running too far ahead of people where they cannot see or hear you. Such leaders can lose touch with the people and their reality. Leadership is about being sufficiently ahead of the people but near enough to be seen and heard by them, and to see and hear them to coordinate strategy and tactics. At the end of the day, courage is about learning to unlearn our fear. Let me conclude by quoting from a film called “Good Evening and Good Night” which provides us with insight into the United States’ experience of a society which was grappling with its own fears during the era of McCarthyism. I quote: “It is necessary to investigate before legislating but the line between investigating and prosecuting is a very fine one. (Don’t overstep it). We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not truth, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear of one another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine. And remember that we are not descended from fearful men (and women) not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is not time for men who oppose (McCarthy’s) methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the results. We proclaim ourselves and indeed as we are the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” He concluded his comments by quoting Cassius from Shakespeare’s rendition of Julius Ceasar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in our selves”. I thank you for the opportunity to speak. Good evening and good night. The pronouncement by President Thabo Mbeki that he would make himself available for a third term as the leader of the ruling ANC has thrown the succession race wide open. It is no longer a two-man race between Mbeki and his deputy Jacob Zuma, but other big-name ANC members can also come to the party, as was the case with business tycoon Tokyo Sexwale. This was the view expressed by political analysts on Sunday after an interview that Mbeki had with SABC TV at the weekend after the ANC ended its four-day national policy conference in Midrand. The ANC resolved at the policy conference that it would be “preferable” that the leader of the organisation also be the president of South Africa. Professor Adam Habib of the Human Sciences Research Council said: “Both sides (the Mbeki and Zuma camps) are not strong enough to impose their will. They are beginning to explore other options.” There was no significant resolution of the succession question and there were divisions within the rank and file of the ANC, he said. “They are postponing the solution to the issue. It does not resolve the issue,” said Habib, adding that the party was hoping to resolve the presidential question at the December conference. Susan Booysen of Wits University described the ANC’s resolution that it preferred its leader to lead both the party and the state as a compromise. The conference’s resolution was what the Mbeki camp had hoped for, and they got it. “The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his (Mbeki) head. That didn’t happen. “The Jacob Zuma camp had run on this perception of having an alternative moralistic policy. “That is gone. “It will take the opposing camp quite a while to recover from this victory,” said Booysen. Political parties have urged caution after Mbeki’s announcement. Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said her party was opposed to the centralisation of power “in too few hands”. She said: “In theory there should be no problem with a person standing for a third term as party leader, but as the ANC leader will effectively be able to require accountability for the ANC presidential candidate, it will imply an extension of President Mbeki’s term as national president.” This scenario was never intended by the country’s constitution, which limits the presidential terms to two. “We believe it is important for power to rotate and that there was a good reason for the two-term limit,” said Zille. Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said current political events were “a good lesson to South

‘They are beginning to explore other options’

Africa that the president should be elected directly, as in the United States and France.” Having a directly elected president avoided troubles within political parties. “It is impossible with our constitution because it allows the president to be elected indirectly. We support the principle of electing the president directly,” she said. In the interview with SABC TV, Mbeki said that if members of his organisation felt he should continue leading the party, he would stay. Musa Zondi, the spokesperson for the Inkatha Freedom Party, said the issue was an internal ANC matter and whatever happened within the ruling party should be respected by other political parties. He said there was nothing preventing Mbeki from standing for a third term as the leader of the ANC. ANC Youth League spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the overwhelming view within the ANC was that it was preferable that the ANC’s leader was also the leader of the country. SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande said: “We respect the internal processes of the ANC. That is a matter to be dealt with by the ANC. They contest elections.” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said Mbeki had a right to stand, but “Cosatu agrees with the resolution of the ANC that the president of the organisation (should preferably) be the president of the country”.

ANC presidential race heating up

July 01 2007 at 03:03PM By Mariette le Roux

The race is on for the presidency of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress after a party conference left the door open for incumbent Thabo Mbeki to contest a third five-year term. In what some interpret as an Mbeki victory and others a setback amid a divisive succession battle, the ANC expressed a non-committal “preference” at the weekend for the party leader and head of state to be the same person. It did not bar Mbeki from contesting the party’s top job in December, even though South Africa’s constitution precludes him serving a third term as president when his mandate ends in 2009. “The party had to find a compromise, this was the compromise,” University of the Witwatersrand political analyst Susan Booysen told AFP. “Suddenly there was an option worse than the compromise: division in the ranks and acrimony.” Mbeki was quick to respond, announcing on Saturday he would stand for re-election as party head if asked. “If the leadership… said ‘no, you better stay for whatever good reason’, that would be fine. You couldn’t act in a way that disrespected such a view,” he said. Some had expected the ANC to back dual centres of power, which many fear would cause conflict between the country’s next president and the leader of the party that put him in power.

‘The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his head’

Mbeki and his allies are open to the idea but supporters of his main rival, ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, are known to favour the single presidency option. The outcome of the four-day policy conference, which ended on Saturday, was exactly what Mbeki’s strategists would have hoped for, said Booysen. “The alternative was for the guillotine to come down on his head. That didn’t happen.” Also, delegates broadly affirmed the government’s policy direction, making it harder for critics to accuse Mbeki of following an anti-party, pro-capitalist economic route, she said. “The Jacob Zuma camp had run on this perception of having an alternative moralistic policy. That is gone. “It will take the opposing camp quite a while to recover from this victory.” The ANC has governed the country since the end of the whites-only apartheid regime in 1994. Mbeki, often criticised for an autocratic leadership style, is credited with the country’s strong economic standing while Zuma, a populist facing possible corruption charges, is punted as the candidate of the left. University of South Africa political commentator Dirk Kotze said the conference resolution was a temporary reprieve for Mbeki. “His main objective is to keep Jacob Zuma out of the race for president,” he said. If chosen party head, Mbeki would have a key influence on the ANC’s nomination of a presidential candidate for elections in 2009. Mbeki may opt to retire as ANC leader in 2009 if the nominee was one he trusted. But if he didn’t, having dual centres of power may not be such a bad thing, said Booysen. Delegates welcomed the outcome, saying it affirmed the ANC’s core principles. But political analyst Adam Habib of the Pretoria-based Human Sciences Research Council, reads the outcome as a mere postponement of the leadership question. “It demonstrated they are not sure how the succession battle is going to evolve in the next six months,” he told AFP. “Both sides were not strong enough to impose their own will, but strong enough to stop the other side from imposing theirs.” With the two camps effectively neutralising each other, the only solution may be to find a compromise candidate, said Habib. The ANC will elect its next leader at a national conference in December. – Sapa-AFP

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Research on African Models of Caring for Vulnerable Children in Traditional Communitie

Communities: Towards a Proposal for Caring for Vulnerable Children in Modern Communities

Introduction: The denunciation and denigration of African traditional wisdom and caring lifestyle through modernisation and departmentalisation of life is continually denying modern humanity of the wealth of models of caring especially for vulnerable children. Digging back into traditional African wisdom, in search of the relics of manners and customs of caring, is the task given for this continuing research. This document is a perpetual investigation for African model of care for vulnerable children. It is discovered that some reminiscent tokens of caring for vulnerable children in African communities have been insulated African proverbs and philosophy of life concerning children. The one difficult aspect of this exercise is the application and the implementation of such remains of traditional communities on caring in our modern society. And yet modern society is searching for caring models to vulnerable children. “Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance”2

The African Family and Care of Vulnerable Children The Model 1:

The Notion of the Entire Community as Family Hardly a century ago, before the emergence of the city states of Kimberly (Diamond) Johannesburg (Gold), African society was not yet reduced to the social anthropological understanding which popularised the notion that it was composed of just extended families and polygamy. That the African family comprised of the entire village or community has been underplayed and undermined, and this has diminished the efficacy of the entire community as a caring community especially for vulnerable children and people. A person who had some form of vulnerability was called: Motho wa Modimo (a person of God). This person would also be called: Motho wa Kgobe (a person of God). At times not in a misunderstood diminutive sense, this person would be politely called: Segole (a cripple), a person to be cared for even when that person was not paraplegic (cripple) the word segole applied in a caring manner. This was one attitude that was practiced to a person from childhood up to adulthood. “Such a family comprised an entire village; the husband, his wife or wives (six or seven of them for those who could afford them) and his children. According to Laydevant (mentioned in Chihota 2003: 31), sometimes the children continued to live with their parents even after they got married, each having their own huts cattle and fields. However, they allowed people from other villages to join them and share their work, their feasts and funerals” (2003: 31)3

Communal responsibility in raising children is seen in Sukuma proverb, One knee does not bring up a child, and the Swahili proverb, One hand does not nurse a child. Everyone in the extended family participates, especially the older children, aunts and grandparents and even cousins. Children are considered a communal blessing from God” (Healey and Sybertz 1996: 114). One more Sukuma proverb: It takes the wholem village to raise a child “The family, nuclear or extended, provides shelter and a sense of belonging for members; gives legal rights and responsibilities; allows money and property to pass to next generation; teaches patterns of behaviour and traditions of culture; provides loving environment for children; provides loving environment for elderly; provides care for the sick people; controls sexual behaviour” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 20)4

Caring for Children in African Proverbs and Philosophy of Life Vulnerable children, in physic, psychologically, parentally, because of illness and so on, had a special place in the heart of the African communities, traditional political and social institutions, in the family and among individuals, parents, relatives and friends. For ages this caring for vulnerable children has been expressed in African Wisdom texts (proverbs, customs, traditions, culture, philosophy, sayings, religion and law). Each of these wisdom expressions provided the African community and person with a model of caring especially for vulnerable children up to their adulthood. Proverbial Models:

The Model 2: The Mother Model

Intandane enhle ngu makhothwa ngunina

No African children must have no mother. No African child must have no family. No African child must have no food and shelter. And no African child must lack respect and discipline or someone to guide in the norms and values of respect and discipline.

The following proverb from IsiZulu has the potential to riddle and transpose those who have no socialisation touch of the inner idiom and codification of African linguistics. Some European employers in the modern capitalist city states such as Johannesburg have asked their African employees with amazement – how many mothers do you have; because some African people perhaps to the detriment of business have been away from work to bury their mothers. In an African setting, ideally everyone of the age of your parents, uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters is your parent and so on. This is even more so and strictly so within the family. When it comes to the caring and protection of vulnerable children it is said: Intandane enhle ngu makhothwa ngunina (lit. it might riddle more – A cute orphan is licked by its mother – better interpreted that an orphan has a special place of care and protection in the family). The African mother is extended to the entire community. An orphan may have no biological mother. But that orphan has aunts, grandmothers – people in and out of the family who have a responsibility to play a mother role especially to those who are vulnerable.

“An inspiring Sukuma proverb on sacrifice and self denial is: The hen with chicks doesn’t swallow the worm. Its main theme is “Parental Care”. The mother hen thinks of her children’s needs first. The proverb portrays a mother’s self-sacrificing love (see Is 49: 15 – 165). The proverb is used of parents who take very good care of their children – providing them with food, clothing, and other needs” (Healey and Sybertz 1996: 113).6 The Lord God of Israel uses a metaphor of a woman to explain, love caring and protection. Following is some more enlightening African wisdom on caring for children. “When a woman is hungry she says: “Roast something for children that they may eat” (Akan, Ghana) (Ibid. 113) “No matter how skinny, the son always belongs to his father (Galla, Ethiopia)(Ibid. 113)

The Model 3: Unity and Sharing

Caring and sharing, and the recognition of the humanity of special people such as vulnerable children cannot escape a traditional African setting which values, humanity, nature, children, the elderly, respect, unity, sharing and divinity. The African traditional community is characterised by the sanctity of humanity, unity and sharing. African cosmology7 is anthropocentric8 (Kamalu 1990: 14; Ngoetjana 2002:169). Humans9 are dynamically engaged in the world. Humans are completely absorbed and embedded within the world. Humans and nature are one and are in harmony (Bediako 1995: 212). Nature cares for humans and humans mutually care for it (Setiloane 1976). African cosmology is monistic10 and this monistic experience and human survival depends on the maintenance of an equilibrium or harmony in relationship with other life-forms.

One other saying about vulnerable children and adults goes: Ke motho (Is human – according to the inner nuances of African linguistics this phrase carries a special  meaning when applied to vulnerable children/ people) and Ke motho wa badimo (He or she belongs to the ancestors). In application to vulnerable children, as: ‘they are humans’ – remember how much African communities value humanity. Humanity is respected to an extent that humans are said to be divine. In a monistic and holistic cosmology there is no divide between the divine and the mundane. All humans are by nature divine. The whole of creation is by nature also divine. The human community is also extended to the ancestors. Remember ancestors were held with awe and respect in traditional communities and so will be people such as some vulnerable children who were believed that they are people of ancestors and to some it was also believed that they were possessed of ancestors.

“In Sotho-Tswana experience, society consists not only of men, women and children organised in hierarchical groupings. It consists of badimo, the living dead, whose intimate involvement in the details of daily life is taken as much for granted as that of an all-pervasive central government in a contemporary welfare state (Setiloane 1976: 20).

Following is some more proverbs on unity, cooperation, sharing: Unity is strength, division is weakness, sharing is wealth: (A Swahili proverb). I wonder how much of this proverbs could have been influenced by modern philological11 expressions. It is very common in modern societies to hear about unity and strength in political circles especially of the liberationist type. One finger does not kill a louse(Common in East and Central Africa) or One finger nail does not crush a louse (Ganda). Or One finder does not kill a flea (Maasai, Kenya/ Tanzania) (Ibid. 114).

The Model 4: Inclusion of Vulnerable Children in African Initiation Institution

“The ancient Basotho, initiation rites were among the most complicated rituals and ceremonies. They marked the transition from childhood to adulthood with formal course of instruction. Separate institutions existed for both boys and girls. However, it is not easy to take up a study about them because of the secrecy that surrounds their celebration. … Basotho believed that people who had not undergone rites of initiation were not capable of performing rational acts in life. … The Basotho, like the Xhosa people, believe that the initiation school makes men out of boys and women out of girls” (Casalis 1993: 326 – 327 paraphrased by Chihota 2003: 32).

Vulnerable children would not be exempted nor excluded from participation in African institutions of passage. Besides the semblance of the romantisisation of African traditional communities, though there was a level of marginalisation and negligence of vulnerable children on the part of some, it was not the norm. Vulnerable children in African stories are portrayed as saviours and heroes of their people12. “Those who evaded initiation school lacked knowledge of the mysteries of life, human production and the implication of conjugal life. …those who evaded Lebollo/initiation School were forbidden from getting married. The mystery of the sacred was one of the motives for initiation because it introduced the candidates of initiation into the zone of the holy. Therefore, boys and girls who evaded initiation school, received psychological persecution and were looked down upon until they joined the school” (Manyeli 1966: 68, paraphrased by Chihota 2003: 32).

What is a Family For

It is intended that the family provides a stable background. It helps people cope with problems. It prepares children for adult life. In the family children are taught the ways in which society expects them to behave. This is called ‘socialization’. A family should cater for all its members. This includes bringing up children and looking after their spiritual and emotional needs as well as physical needs. A strong relationship between the married adults results in a more loving environment for children. This means that everyone is able to develop their talents and interests and to find their place both in the family and in society” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 21).

When Things Go Wrong

“Ideally a family provides support for all its members. Sadly, things can go badly wrong. When this happens it is often the children who suffer most. Family frustrations are sometimes taken out on the children. This can result in child abuse, especially when the adults involved were abused as children themselves. The abuse may take the form of physical violence, physical and emotional neglect, or sometimes emotional and sexual abuse” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 21). “When marriages break down the children are likely to suffer. However carefully the parents explain what is happening, children can be confused. Many of them feel it is their fault that things have gone wrong. Sometimes they are very good at hiding their feelings. They seem to cope well and people fail to give them the support they need during the crisis. For example, they may be torn by loyalty to one parent or another, and need a great deal of understanding. Sometimes the problems are to do with money. Courts do their best to ensure the financial support of the children, but sometimes the parent who takes on the care of children is left with little more than state benefit. Sometimes the other partner may have to pay so much to support the children that he or she is left hardly able to cope” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 24 – 25).

The Biblical View Point

“Jesus grew up in a family (Lk. 2: 39); children are taught about God in the family (Dt. 6: 4 – 7); family life is created by God (Mk. 10: 6 – 9); families must love each other (I Tim. 5: 8); obligations for parents and children (are clearly stated in the scriptures) (Eph. 6: 1 – 4); special privileges (are) given to newly weds to help them become an established social unit (Dt. 24: 5); laws protected older family members (Dt. 25: 5 – 6)” (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 22).

Needs of Vulnerable Children

Freedom; Discipline and Love (Windsor and Hughes 1991: 22)

Vulnerable Children in Refugee Camps

Article 19; 22 says children in refugee camps must be protected from all forms of violence and must assume refugee status.

Vulnerable Children and Education; Leisure

Article 28; 29; 31says that primary education must be free and compulsory for all children. The education of children must be directed to their holistic development. Children must be afforded the right to rest and leisure.

Vulnerable Children and Employment; Unemployment; Housing; Water, Health and Land

Article 24; 26; 32; 33 says, children must enjoy the highest attainable standard of health and facilities for treatment. They must be given the right to benefit from social security. They must be protected from economic exploitation and must have protection from illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Vulnerable Children and Racism; Peace and War

Article 38 says children must be protected from racism and engagement in armed conflict.

Vulnerable Children and the Right to life

Article 6, 23 says children have an inherent right to life and that there must be decent life for all of them – disabled or mentally disturbed.

Vulnerable Children and Sexual Abuse – Violence

Article 34; 35; 36; 37 says children must be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse. Abduction, sale and traffic in children must be prevented. Children must be protected from any form of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of their welfare and that there must be no torture, cruelty and inhuman degrading treatment or punishment meted out to them. Children must have access to legal assistance.

Conclusion: Research continues.


 

1.The definition of vulnerability in this research seeks to include the physical, the psychological, the spiritual and sociological aspects. Should there be other relevant aspects of vulnerability, this research will endeavour to include them, more so as they relate to vulnerable children.

2. www.unicef.org/voy/explore/rights/explore _157.html, 1989, Convention of the Rights of the Children.

3. Chihota, D. T. 2003. Funeral Rituals Among the Basuto: A Study of the Encounter Between Christianity and Basotho Traditional Religion. Unpublished Masters Thesis: University of Natal.

4. Windsor, G and J. Hughes. 1991. Exploring Christianity: Christian Life, Personal and Social Issues. Oxford: Heinemann Education.

5. Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for her child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

6. Healey, J (MM) and D. Sybertz (MM). 1996. Towards an African Narrative Theology. Faith and culture Series. New York: Orbis Books.

7. Worldview

8. Human centred

9. Humans include vulnerable children as well.

10. As opposed to dualism – the division between this world and the other.

11. Philology is the science and study of the source or origin of languages or words.

12. Conversation with Dr. D. Dziva, Programmes Director of the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council on the 01st March 2005. The researcher is looking out for such African stories on vulnerable children.

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Proposed Steps to an Involving and Empowering Meeting

This material is created for professionals to consider when planning a meeting with individual clients, groups or communities. The principles can also be adapted to other kinds of situations. The basic idea in this document is that the professional makes the invitations and facilitates the meeting. Even if not facilitating, the following steps can be applied in one’s personal action.

  1. The invitation
  • How to invite: The facts of the meeting (who, what, where, when, why) should always be delivered to the receivers on paper. A written invitation gives a common ground for the meeting for all parties. Sometimes a phone call or a face-to-face invitation as a first contact or a reminder is useful.

◦        Language: Make sure the receivers can understand what you are saying/writing. Avoid professional terms and abbreviations. If you must use them, always explain them.

  • Flexibility: In the invitation, tell the purpose of the meeting on your side. Do not create a too specific and filled programme which will exclude the receivers’ ideas and wishes for the meeting. The main thing is to find together the ways of collaboration, not to follow your own agenda. Give the receivers enough information beforehand so that they can prepare for the meeting as well as you do.

◦        Date of meeting: You may suggest a date for the meeting. Still, give the receivers an opportunity to impact it. Do not suggest a date which is too close because the receivers may not be able to attend. They may also feel themselves forced to obey your suggestion. That is not a good ground for collaboration.

  • Hours: Reserve enough time for the meeting so that you do not have to rush. Let the receivers clearly know how much time they have to reserve.
    1. The venue
  • Space: Always choose a place that supports the empowerment of the participants. It may be a neutral place for all the participants or the “home field” for the clients/community. You can also ask the receivers to suggest a place for the meeting,

or to choose from different options you give them. Note that different places raise different feelings. For example, the participants might be ashamed/proud of their own gathering space or be uncomfortable in a conference room / your office.

◦ Furniture: Place the furniture so that their order creates openness and supports the chosen working methods. Talking, writing, movement etc. demand different arrangements. Circle of chairs prevents people from hiding behind their papers but can be frightening for some. Sitting on the opposite sides of a desk may create unnecessary distance. The meeting can consist of different sections, such as discussion and group drawing on paper. In this case the furniture order can be changed for each action during the meeting. Time must be reserved for this.

  1. The facilitators and participants
    • Number of facilitators: Some activities with big groups require several facilitators. Especially in small meetings it is important that there are not too many facilitators. Otherwise the participants might feel less powerful.
    • Number of participants: In a small group the individuals can be noticed better and it is easier to make each participant to speak. However, with a big group you can success as well, as long as you know the methods of involving. Big group can also produce more ideas than a small one.
    • Tensions: Anticipate the tensions between the participants, including you. Think of what kind of people you are about to bring together. Do they have an earlier history together and does it contain good or bad experiences? Picture also yourself in the eyes of the participants. What are the ages and genders, ethnic, educational or socio­economic backgrounds of the participants like? How do these things impact dealing with the matter?
    • Accessibility: Find out beforehand whether any of the participants has disabilities or diseases that need to be taken into account. For example, is the venue accessible with a wheelchair or does a diabetic need something to eat during the meeting.
  1. Starting the meeting

◦ Introductions: Be on time. Begin with introducing yourself briefly. In a convenient

point give the participants the opportunity to introduce themselves. The

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introductions can be made through different games or exercises.

  • Purpose: Always clearly present why the meeting is arranged and what the purpose is from your side. Mention the same purpose as in the invitation. Then give the participants the opportunity to tell their understandings and expectations for the meeting. Conclude with mentioning aloud a joint agenda which takes the ideas of the participants into account. Do not lose your planned purpose but let it be influenced with appropriate additions.
  • Schedule: Mention for how long the meeting is going to take and whether there are planned breaks. This helps the participants to adapt to the situation and relaxes them because they know what is about to happen. Ask if everybody is able to stay for the whole meeting or if someone has to leave early. Knowing this helps you to plan the rest of the meeting.
  • Minutes: Agree on who will take the minutes and in what extent the notes are necessary to be made. Will all the discussion be written down or the decisions only?
  • Presentations: Consider whether presentations of organizations, programmes etc. are necessary. If they are, limit their extent. Long and complicated presentations kill the active atmosphere. Also think of the equality: perhaps the participants would also like to say a few words on their group, community or organization. If they are expected to present, let them know it beforehand (in the invitation). If people have prepared something, honour their effort and make time for their presentations.
  1. Facilitating the meeting
  • Language: Language is power and good communication is the key to a successful meeting. Agree on together which language or languages will be used in the meeting. Avoid professional terms and abbreviations. If you must use them, always explain them. Also explain other key terms used in the meeting, no matter how clear they would seem to you.
  • Supporting methods: People have different ways of receiving information. Some prefer seeing the information, others hearing and for some kinaesthetic means are most effective. When possible, put your message in different forms for different kinds of receivers. Clarify your communication by using sketches, photos, videos,

numbers, charts, drama, music… Also the tone of your voice and eye contact support

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your message. Offer the participants a variety of means of forwarding their ideas to you. Not everybody is a good speaker or a quick thinker!

  • Equality: Give equally turns to speak and make sure you are not the only one talking!
    • Involving: Make everyone to express their views and ideas. There is a variety of methods you can use, called participatory methods.
    • Remember: As a professional you are responsible for making others to understand and to participate. (Even if you were not the facilitator this time.)
  1. Ending the meeting
  • Time: Keep the time during the meeting so that you have enough time to end. A peaceful ending leaves a better feeling for everyone than rushing out of the meeting. Some important things might remain unsaid if the ending is too hectic. Still, honour the length of the meeting which you agreed on in the beginning and end in time.
  • Decisions: Come together to detailed decisions. Plan only things you and the participants have capacity to accomplish. The decisions must be written down to the minutes clearly and mentioned aloud, especially if the minutes will not be soon delivered to the participants.
  • Future: It is crucial to settle the next meeting or contact, or come to a decision that the collaboration will not continue. Also agree on who will deliver the minutes and when and how the minutes can be commented or corrected by other participants.
  • Feedback: Give everybody a chance to give feedback on the meeting. Different situations and atmospheres require different feedback collecting methods. (F. ex. open discussion, nameless written feedback, thumbs up/down can be used.) Always take care of the emotional security and anonymity of the participants. Do not make them say or do things they do not want to, and do not promise the feedback to remain anonymous if you can identify the answers. Some might not want to give any feedback but you must always offer the opportunity for it. As a facilitator you should always give some positive (and critical) feedback on the meeting.
  1. After the meeting
  • If on your responsibility, quickly deliver the minutes to the participants.
    • Mark the agreed things to your and your organization’s calendars and to other activity plans.
      • Accomplish the responsibilities that were addressed to you.

Involving and empowering people are more than a list of separate tricks. It is an attitude. However, it is not always easy. You might constantly need to remind yourself on how you can act so that others could feel being listened to and taken into consideration. Use a lot of questions like: “What do you think?” and “How does this sound to you?” Listen to the others with all your senses and try to understand what they are saying – not just by words. Simply putting yourself into the others’ position helps you to make good choices.

More information and instructions on participatory methods:

Participatory Methods Toolkit. A practitioner’s manual. Published by King Baudouin Foundation and the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment (viWTA). The manual introduces participatory methods in general and gives detailed instructions for 13 different methods. Also includes a brief description of different participatory methods and techniques.

http://www.ezd.si/fileadmin/doc/4_AKTIVNO_DRZAVLJANSTVO/Viri/Participatoty_toolkit.pdf

Participatory Methods. By Dr. Linda Mayoux.

The paper can be read online or downloaded.

Gives background information on participatory methods. By giving information and asking questions it helps to consider when and how to apply participatory methods. http://docsfiles.com/pdf_participatory_methods.html

More information also from the author of this material:

Maria Korkatti

Bachelor of Social Services / Bachelor of Performing Arts maria.korkatti@gmail.com

This material has been authored by Maria Korkatti, who in the time of writing was a student of North Karelian University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The material was produced during an international training period for KwaZulu-Nat