A small step to get our ‘own’ back

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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