We live in a beautiful country! My Christian orientation tells me that God, in his sovereign will, orchestrated the birth of our democratic dispensation. Out of a divisive past and disjointed history, we emerged in 1994 as a people bound by the common vision of building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic country that is prosperous in character, benevolent in spirit, and united in diversity. The hopes of many, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, were raised high as a promise for ‘a better life for all’ became the mantra of the day.
So, I woke up in a new South Africa that had the potential to be great among the nations; led by imperfect, and yet determined leaders, seemingly willing to put the people first (Batho-Pele), and above their personal interests. As Church communities, we pray for righteousness that exalts the nation, for shared moral values that shape a people, and integrity that defines servant-leadership. We believe hard work and honesty, along with faith in God and commitment to serving the people, are essential traits in those who represent us in public service.
Today, however, our country is at the crossroads. Never did I dream that I would, so soon in our democratic order (23 years to be exact), find myself among concerned citizens and leaders of civil society, gathered in a conference to reflect on the future of South Africa. Weeks later I joined a #no-confidence-march to parliament in Cape Town. Somewhere along the journey, erosion crept in and we lost the plot. Values we purported to uphold no longer seem to apply.
Ubuntu, the sheer principle of recognising the worth and the dignity of fellow human beings, is sacrificed at the altar of “me first.” The pervasiveness of corruption both in the private and public spheres, is not only shocking, but evil and an affront in God’s eyes. Lack of a high code of ethics and morality required for public servants is a serious indictment.
The Church is again required to stand up for what is right. We cannot afford to be silent and complacent in the face of the scourge that ravages our nation and steals our future. Yes, we must fast and pray! And at the same time – be ready to speak truth to power!
Nkos’ sikelel’ izwe lethu (God bless our nation).