Ndungane: Easter hope for a country in crisis
Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane says there is hope for South Africa in the message of Easter, in spite of the crisis that the country faces.
"While no resurrection is on the immediate horizon under the present South African government, there is hope to be found in civil organisations such as Save South Africa, and in the astonishingly pleasing manner in which political parties of widely differing beliefs and policies – like the Democratic Alliance and EFF – were able to march together this week in a united front," Archbishop Njongo said.
"This movement is clearly gaining momentum, and our prayer this Easter is that those responsible for its organisation and support continue to be involved in mobilising a wide spectrum of people to support their cause," he added.
The full text of the message is:
"On the eve of Easter this year, South Africa stands on the threshold of a new dark time. This is not the same sort of insecurity which faced the country at Easter in 1994, because then we had giant prophets leading our nation and, despite the threats posed by the differences between Mandela and Buthelezi, they were overcome. They were overcome because essentially the leaders of that time were men of stature who saw a vision for this great rainbow nation. So then, ironically, was the leader, de Klerk, of the outgoing government.
"How sad, then, that this Easter, our leaders have taken us to the abyss. Unlike 1994, our leaders are not statesmen, neither are they men and women of stature. Instead, as the Constitutional Court itself has found, we have a President who is content to flout the Constitution. He is economical with the truth. He is evasive. He cares only for his narrow, selfish ends. So too do his acolytes, his fellow servants of the people, who in fact see themselves not as servants but as the Pilates of the modern era who sit in judgement over the people and care not whether 50 000 march in Cape Town, or more than 100 000 to the Union Buildings.
"The people, meanwhile, suffer. This Easter, there will be hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people who, when the long weekend is over on Tuesday, will sit idle and have nothing to do. This myopic government has no plan for them.
"There will be hundreds of thousands of poor people, living in shacks in the cities, and in their homes in rural villages, eking out a living. They too, on Tuesday, will wonder where their next meal will come from. The government has no immediate plan for them.
"Then there are those cases, which come to the fore all too regularly, when it is reported, with evidence, that our education system is collapsing in certain places, and the health system is a mess. Simply think of Esidimeni. There is the terrifying prospect that is innate in the threats from various sources, from a mayor of a huge metro in Gauteng to the ANCYL, to the security of people who dare to oppose the President.
"These are indeed times as scary for us as they must have been for the followers of the person hailed 2000 years ago in the streets of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ, as the King of the Jews. We are at a crossroads indeed.
"Fortunately for us, we know the story of Easter. On Good Friday, the uncaring governors, now hailed by a mob who cared nothing for the people, took an innocent man, nailed him to a cross, and killed him. But we know too, that three days later, he rose from the dead, and is the foundation of one of the greatest faiths of all time. It may have been Friday, but the Sunday of resurrection came.
"That too was the story of South Africa pre- and post-1994. In the apartheid years, we had many 'crucifixions', but in the Mandela and Mbeki eras, there were many 'resurrections'.
"Unfortunately, no resurrection is on the immediate horizon under the present South African government; only more terrible acts seem to await us as our people face the consequences of junk status and the arrogant attitude of men and women in government who are immoral and, in some cases, plain dishonest.
"There is hope, however, and that is to be found in our civil organisations such as Save South Africa, and in the astonishingly pleasing manner in which political parties of widely differing beliefs and policies – like the Democratic Alliance and EFF – were able to march together this week in a united front. This movement is clearly gaining momentum, and our prayer this Easter is that those responsible for its organisation and support continue to be involved in mobilising a wide spectrum of people to support their cause.
"The prophet Jeremiah castigated the rulers of the day for not listening to God and committing outrageous deeds. But he also comforted the people of Israel and promised them that God had not forgotten them and had plans to give them hope and a future.
"Let us renew our commitment to the hope of Easter, praying that God will give us insight and wisdom to take the action needed to bring hope back to our beloved land.
"God bless South Africa."
Ruth Coggin 0829035819