A small step to get our ‘own’ back
THE #UniteBehind MARCH in support of the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is due to begin at 3pm on Monday. It will be led by leaders of civil society, including those of the religious sector, from District Six to Parliament.
It is unlikely that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be there in the way that he was on the occasion of the procession of witness of Holy Saturday, April 19, 2014. Those who saw our prophetpriest walk up the incline of the road outside the Muir Street Mosque at that procession had a sense he was handing the baton of the Struggle to another generation.
At the end of that march, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba stood on a flatbed truck outside Parliament. There were at least 6 000 people present and the question: “Where do we go from here?” lay heavy on their hearts and those of the millions who watched the event.
The World Bank, in its purview of central Asian economies in 2000, observed a unique and rapid accumulation of wealth, corrupt in its outcome but seemingly within the ambit of the law. State bureaucracies and strategically placed political mandarins were coerced by private individuals and firms into making decisions, within the framework of existing policies, to benefit their interests.
This corrupting demon, named state capture, would enter and possess key sectors of the South African state and individuals including our president, Jacob Zuma. Referring to the plundering of the nation’s Treasury, Makgoba asked whether, if Zuma had not broken into the house containing the nation’s silverware, “had he held the step ladder?” With the damning precision of the Prophet Amos, Makgoba pronounced: “If he did, sadly, he’s as guilty as the person who climbed through your window.”
Yet, O people of the land, where were we when our house was invaded by political skollies and their conniving associates? The wealth of this land is ours by virtue of the sweat of our brow and there should be equity in sharing it. This land is yours, whether you stood on the sideline while others went to jail, or fled into exile.
There is no natural entitlement, a hierarchy of privilege in terms of who should benefit from the fruits of freedom. The land belongs to God and the people whom he loved into creation. Our response to the gift of life, ours and that of others, is to ensure all are free, fed and sheltered. At the conclusion of the Christian Eucharistic service, we say: “The mass is ended. Go in peace and love to serve the Lord.” We do so by the act of discipleship which simply means living lives in praise of God by contributing to an efficacious quality of life for all.
The march on Monday is a small step in the huge struggle to reclaim what we have allowed to be stolen from us. On Monday of this week I, along with my friend Father Richard Cogill, visited the home of Mama Leah and Father Desmond Tutu. Later we had a joyously rowdy meal in a restaurant overlooking Hermanus Harbour. With us were Thandeka and Mthunzi TutuGxashe who on Friday celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary. Life goes on, sometimes in necessary defiance of that which in life is lamentable.
Our prophet showed us how to live in dark times… Purple is beautiful Beautiful in the way you knew our anger was love curled fierce around the trigger of fear. And now Egyptian geese on holiday from up north, you say, commandeer the sunscattered paving outside the front-room door. Waiting for Mama Leah to feed them. Now that the days seem less dark we seldom see you in purple but we still long to give you, as you gave us, all our love. And a little bit more.
Any struggle for whatever cause begins on the prayer mat where we bow our heart to God, the heart of love. And in gratitude we say “baie dankie” for your son and servant, Desmond, who guided us so
to this point along the way of freedom.