Wednesday, 8 February 2012
St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town
PRESENTATION OF Kairos Southern Africa’s “A Word to the ANC, at this time”, THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE 2012 CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
Today Kairos Southern Africa and the African National Congress met to discuss the letter that Kairos SA offered to the ruling party at the occasion of the launch of its centenary celebrations. We are thankful for the opportunity of this engagement and believe that it helps nurture a necessary national conversation.
The Centenary celebration of any organization will elicit reflections on that organization. So it is with the ANC. Accordingly Kairos Southern Africa has offered this reflection with the hope that it will add to a necessary national conversation about the kind of future we wish to have.
The Church has historically played a significant role in the birth and life of the ANC. During the darkest days of our history and especially when the broad democratic movement was stifled and banned, it was the Churches that often stepped in and kept the dream of a non-racial, just, democratic and united South Africa alive.
The statement we handed to the ANC contains words of congratulations and gratitude as well as words of concern. These concerns are also disappointments since we expected more of a movement that fought for the best values of humanity and for liberation.
But we are also disappointed in ourselves and in the way we have disengaged with this new dispensation and how we have often not exuded hope. The message is therefore directed as much to us as it is to the ANC.
This letter we have handed over to the ANC therefore addresses both the Church and the ANC. It asks if the South African dream of unity and dignity based on justice, peace and righteousness is unfolding in the country. The letter confesses to instances where there have been shortcomings by churches to live according to the values of a just, democratic culture. It expresses concerns with several issues in the country; including among others the challenges of deepening inequality, service delivery and corruption.
The choice for us as South Africans is stark: either we choose life or we choose death. Either we choose reconciliation, justice and friendship or we choose conflict that will engulf us all. Either we choose greed or we choose to share.
We do not regard this letter as complete or perfect, but we hope that it conveys an ethos of constructive self-critique that will help us to refocus our energies on what we really want. We believe that as in 1985 when some South African churches spoke up against apartheid, this moment too is a Kairos opportunity, one that may pass us by if we do not act now. It is a decisive moment that asks for our participation. We pray for courage and transformation.
We welcome today’s meeting. We hope that it contributes to a widening of debate among all South Africans, especially the Churches, who have largely withdrawn from engagement with our unfolding democracy.
Accordingly, we launch the million signature campaign today to get the conversation going particularly amongst those who have been disconnected from the democracy. We think this will be one small, but not insignificant way that we can help to build social cohesion and to mobilize particularly the churches to take our responsibility for this society much more seriously than we have done up to now.
Kairos Southern Africa is committed to the values of justice, peace and righteousness.
ISSUED BY KAIROS SOUTHERN AFRICA
Rev. Moss Nthla +27 (0) 828098533, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Edwin Arrison: +27(0) 847351835, email@example.com
Nearly 1000 citizens have already signed the letter. All South Africans who can associate themselves with this message may endorse the letter with their signatures.
Also on 8 February and immediately before this press release, we met with the ANC and gave them our letter.
The Kairos SA delegation consisted of: Moss Ntlha, Edwin Arrison, Joe Seoloane, Lunga Ka Siboto, Michael Weeder, Mike Deeb, Nkosikhulule Nyembezi, Denise Ackerman and myself.
The ANC delegation consisted of: Gwede Mantashe, Mathole Motshekga, Songezo Mjongile and Moferefere Lekoro Tsoana. We were told that Baleka Mbete was one of the key people who insisted that this meeting should happen.
If you want to sign the Kairos SA letter to the ANC, simply send an e-mail to Edwin Arrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please indicate if you are not a South African citizen (but you may still sign).
To read our letter, choose one of these links:
The complete letter: THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE 2012 ANC CENTENARY CELEBRATION
The shortened version: KAIROS SA WORD TO THE ANC_shortened version