post

Voices from Soweto: Report About KOPANO Freedom for All


unnamed

VOICES FROM SOWETO

Over 100 activists from 11 African countries gathered in Soweto, South Africa, 28–30 September 2015, in a unique strategy space for groups that are working to advance and protect the human rights and social inclusion of homosexual and bisexual women and men, as well as transgender and intersex people.

Breaking away from dreary conference formats, the kopano was purposefully designed as a community gathering. It was defined by collaborative organizing, learning from each other, intense strategy debate, time for remembering those who have gone before us, and great moments to celebrate milestones that have been reached. In addition, high profile panelists helped to unpack the possibilities for alliance building with non-LGBTI groups and challenge participants to re-invent their approaches. Over 4 days of engagement, everyone’s voice counted.

We present this report about the inputs and outcomes of kopano FREEDOM FOR ALL in the same spirit – not as a scripted narrative but in the form of a collection of voices of the participants themselves. Click here to view real time recordings of the plenary discussions and summaries of the outcomes of this historic gathering.

Other Logo

TT1087/2013 / Hugo CANHAM [South Africa] | Miguel DE BRITO [Mozambique] | Isabella MATAMBANADZO [Zimbabwe]
Alice MOGWE [
Botswana] | Xhanti PAYI [South Africa] | Shaun SAMUELS [South Africa]
Patricia WATSON [
South Africa] | Neville GABRIEL (CEO)

Copyright © 2015 – The Other Foundation. All rights reserved.
Contact us at
info@theotherfoundation.org | www.theotherfoundation.org

post

SAFCEI seeks Executive Director

image007

SAFCEI seeks Executive Director

The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), a multi-faith environmental NGO, is looking for an Executive Director to succeed Bishop Geoff Davies, SAFCEI’s founder and patron. She or he needs to have a deep faith and be committed to seeking justice for people and the planet. We are praying for a person of vision who will work with faith leaders, inspire the SAFCEI team and speak boldly to those in authority and power.

SAFCEI believes that justice must underpin all social and ecological interactions in order to build peaceful communities and a sustainable world. In his encyclical, Pope Francis calls on all people to care for “our common home”. The document highlights the unique role for an organisation like SAFCEI in promoting tolerance and cooperation between faith communities and in realising our common longing for the well-being of the community of life on earth.

We ask for your earnest prayers and assistance in finding a courageous leader to take SAFCEI forward. If you know of a person who would want to respond to this challenge and calling, please communicate with our Operations and acting Executive Director, Sean Brown < sean@safcei.org.za >.

Please share this search request in communications with your networks. We would be grateful to hear from you about possible candidates by the middle of August or as soon thereafter as possible.

With our warm wishes and prayers that justice and peace will prevail.

Bishop Geoff Davies Founder and Patron

Bishop Geoff Davies
Founder and Patron

Tahirih Matthee Board Chairperson

Tahirih Matthee
Board Chairperson

 

post

Sixteen Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children

Sixteen Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children:

“Commit. Act. Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women” A Pastoral Letter

Greetings

During these days of the 16 days campaign against violence on women and children the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) brings you greetings. The political and traditional leaders of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Ecumenical Movement in KZN, the churches and communities, let us “Commit .Act. Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women”. This in the international theme of the 16 Days Campaign. Let us join international communities to seek to end violence against women and children

What is the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign?

“The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre” (www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/about.html)

Callousness of Some Men, Stigma and Discrimination

The scourge of HIV and the callousness of some men pose a challenge together with stigma and discrimination in the context we are facing. One of the major challenges which demand the attention of all concerned is that of stigma and discrimination.

“Stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action (SSDDIM) are six related evils that continue to either frustrate or slow down our HIV&AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, and impact mitigation efforts” (Gideon). Seemingly, it is women who feel the shame and isolation of blame and stigmatisation. Insufficient action on the side of communities does not help purge the pain of SSDDIM.

Active participation and involvement of men such as ministers or pastors, elders,

deacons, traditional leaders, political leaders, fathers, brothers and boys is long over due. If men can lead by example, by caring for the sick, caring for women and the girl child, perhaps a transformed and fairly equal society may emerge sooner than expected. The ‘Good Samaritan’ in the Bible (Lk. 10: 25 – 37) went out of his way to help and care for a wounded person. He transported him to a place of care. And he paid for his care – a person he did not know at all. Can’t we take and example?

What is the Purpose of 16 Days Campaign

“The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:

  • raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
    • strengthening local work around violence against women
  • establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
    • providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
    • demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
  • creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against” (cwgl.rutgers.edu/16days/about.html)

Some Encouraging Themes and Slogans in Relation to 16 Days, World Aids Day and International Human Rights Day

In very recent days we have heard some encouraging themes and slogans urging us to keep on going on in our campaign against violence on women and children in the context of World Aids Day and International Human Rights day which read: “Wherever you are, whenever you work, you can make a difference”; “I don’t suffer with HIV, I live with it”; Right to health; I am accepted; I am living my rights and I am getting treatment.

The world cannot be complacent in tackling the issues of violence against women, HIV and AIDS and universal human rights. It has become much more compelling that the governments of the world, pharmaceutical companies, the health sector, religious communities and the business sector join hands more, partner and have a united effort to commit themselves to end violence against women, the scourge of HIV, abuse of human rights and seek to achieve the ideals of the millennium goals.

Call to Act, Pray and Preach

We call and encourage all actors to take their rightful position in the fight against violence against women and children, the challenges of HIV and AIDS and demand human rights for all. The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) is committed to concrete social action to engage the issues of violence, HIV and human rights all the time and all the way.

May this year’s campaign develop into a year long campaign especially as we prepare for the World Cup in 2010. Let us ensure that women and children know their rights and feel safe in all the corners of South Africa.

Yours in Ecumenism Confession and prayer

Isaiah 5:8a,12a, 18a, 20-22; 10:1-2; 58,6-7

Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you…

Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine. but who do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands!

Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood, who drag sin along as with cart ropes.

Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light

for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant at mixing drink, who

acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!

Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn

aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey!

Ah you! Ah you!

LORD’S PRAYER (Congregation divided in 2)

A: Our Father in Heaven B: Incarnated in all those who suffer A: Hallowed be your name

B: And all the names that you mysteriously reveal yourself in.

A: Your kingdom come

B: In our midst, secretly hidden

A: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

B: Make us tools of your good news to the poor!

A: Give us today our daily bread

B: May we never celebrate a single meal or Eucharist without remembering all those who do not have enough to eat.

A: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

B: Make us see and both structural and individual sin.

A: Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil

B: The force that threaten to destroy our world and your creation A: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours B: The power to challenge, transform and heal A/B: Now and forever. Amen.

(Lord’s prayer adapted by Rev Gyrid Gunnes, Norway)

post

Pastoral Statement On Zimbabwe World Day Of Action On Zimbabwe

Pastoral Statement On Zimbabwe World Day Of Action On Zimbabwe, 25 MAY 2008

The KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches and the entire ecumenical movement in KZN, joins the rest of the world in embarking on a series of actions that highlight the continued deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe and expressing our continued solidarity with our neighbours.

In journeying with the people of Zimbabwe, we had hoped and prayed for the elections of 29 March 2008 to be the beginning of the end of corruption, abuse of power, violence, social, political and economic woes that have faced this once great nation. Our hearts are heavy laden because this has not been so. Rather, we have seen a sharp rise in politically motivated violence directed at those who are perceived to have voted against President Mugabe and his ZANU PF. Homes have been burnt down, granaries and food have been destroyed. Women have been raped. Children are denied education. Some schools have closed down and teachers have fled from schools in fear of violence. Some people are beaten stopped from attending worship services. The sick and wounded have no access to hospitals. Some hospitals, including church mission hospitals, have closed down.

This is not the will of God. If anything, those who hold power in Zimbabwe have decided to go against God. Their actions show beyond doubt that they have no concerns for the Kingdom of God where people aspire to be peace makers, where the kingdom is opened to those who mourn, and to those who are poor. The actions of those in power exhibit the marks of the anti-Christ. As a Church, called to proclaim good news and to lead people into the Kingdom that Christ ushered, we rebuke the heartlessness of the perpetrators of this violence, and call upon the members of ZANU PF and President Mugabe and his government to repent.

We are concerned also about the lack of honesty and integrity that our own South African government has shown in the aftermath of the elections. We urge them to be at the forefront of truth telling about Zimbabwe to the world and to the Zimbabweans. The truth will set us free, both us and the Zimbabweans.

To the people of Zimbabwe, we join with you in the call for an immediate end to violence; for the creation of an environment conducive to a free and fair rerun of the presidential elections on 27 June; for the presence of local and international peace and election monitors. We assure you of our prayers and solidarity all the way through this nightmare.

May Justice and Peace prevail!

Rev Phumzile Zondi-Mabizela Chief Executive Officer

Proposed Prayer

Dear God, our creator, guide and protector,

We come to you in prayer and with hearts full of gratitude for the beautiful country and people of Zimbabwe.

We are mindful, however, of the difficult political situation they are facing.

We pray that you will demonstrate your presence in Zimbabwe.

Give new strength and courage to the people so that they may face the challenges of a difficult situation. Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a might stream.

We pray that you will remove the hearts of stone from the leaders, so that they may be freed from their

own fears, hunger for power and control.

We pray for peace and political stability in Zimbabwe.

We pray that international leaders intervene and ensure speedy solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Lord, the people of Zimbabwe are desperate for change, for good governance and for better life. We pray that the South African Government offer more practical solutions than quiet diplomacy. We pray that South Africans treat their African brothers and sisters as fellow humans.

We pray for good leadership, justice, peace and order and security in Zimbabwe.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

post

Pastoral Letter on World Aids Day 2010

29 November 2010

Member Churches and the Ecumenical Movement in KZN Greetings

During this day of the celebration of World Aids Day, KZNCC is addressing the issues of HIV and AIDS under the global theme of ‘Universal Access and Human Rights and the national theme which says: ‘We are Responsible’. These themes re-emphasize the fact that HIV and AIDS are also issues of human rights for which all of us are responsible to strive for.

KZNCC has produced and is providing a SAVE prevention poster for use during the activities of World Aids Day and beyond. You are encouraged to use the poster as far and wide as possible. Remember those who have lost their lives and those who have continued to provide care and support.

Yours in the Ecumenical Movement in KZN

Rev P Zondi-Mabizela

Chief Executive Officer: KZNCC

post

A Pastoral Letter on the Presidential Succession Debate

A Pastoral Letter on the Presidential Succession Debate

To the Province of KwaZulu-Natal Christian and Civil Communities and to the Nation of South Africa

26 November 2007

Introduction

Pastoral greetings from the Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC). This pastoral letter seeks to inform the people of KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) on what the church perceives could be confusing concerning the political climate on the eve of the ANC conference at Polokwane, Limpopo province in the month of December 2007. This letter seeks to spell out what could be a dangerous for the development of democracy post ANC conference.

In this pastoral letter, the churches seek to outline what could be the desired outcome in the future of democracy and political leadership post Polokwane conference. Ideally, the churches are concerned about the character, the quality and the principles churches would like see as the outcome of the Limpopo ANC conference. As far as it is possible the churches would not like to entangle herself in the political dynamics of the ANC but to suggest what could be the nature of an amicable and inclusive future for the unity and prosperity on out nation.

A series of meetings has been conducted in response to the call from the South African Council of Churches (SACC) for churches to speak out on the type of leadership we would like to see in church and society from a theological perspective. In the meting which was held in KZN it came forth that the type of leadership we are envisaging should be people who are commanding respectable statesmanship and could rise above political ideological inclinations and serve the whole nation indiscriminately and unify it.

Aspects of Qualities of Any Leadership

The churches are looking for a person who accommodates and encourages open debate, one who is not vindictive, who has moral fortitude, has genuine concern for the poor and is down to earth. The meaning of these aspects of leadership is that: “Statesmanship: … involves a capacity to see beyond personal or party interests, and to have a genuine concern for all people everywhere. Moral fortitude: … implies a high standard of ethical behaviour, whether private or public, and a willingness to pursue this standard with courage, even in adversity. A genuine concern for the poor: this is a vital quality for any worthwhile leader in this country currently, where the levels of poverty are still unacceptably high. Finally, a belief in debate: this looks for a readiness within the African National Congress to welcome candid discussion on national issues, with a tolerance of disagreement”.

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) held a discussion on the ANC presidential debate on the 20th November 2007. We would like to share some of the issues which we raised in the meeting.

Some of the Issues Emerging from the Debate about “the leader we want” Include that we want to have:

  • A leader that will make democracy work for all people in spite of their status.
  • A leader with integrity, who will allow debates (was reiterated), with good morals and ethics, who is not self-centred, who can take blame without pushing it to someone else, a leader with value.
  • A leader that can rise above the party-political arena.
  • A leader that can unite South Africans.
  • A leader that will strengthen democracy.
  • A leader that will uplift the poor and those who are suffering.
  • A leader who cares for people and is chosen by them.
  • A leader, people – especially the poor can identify with.
  • A leader that will adhere to the Freedom Charter.
  • A leader who will take South Africans to the global context.
  • A leader who may not have all the above mentions qualities but who is prepared to develop them.
  • A leader who can change our poverty to prosperity
  • A leader who is transparent, accountable and morally upright

In this meeting of the churches discussing the question of leadership qualities, it was said the people who are poor in rural areas have yet to taste the new found freedom and democracy. The rural poor have not touched the freedom. Justice for the poor is inaccessible. Seemingly the rich get justice and the poor are denied it. The leader the poor are looking for is one who will listen to their voice; one who will fight and stop corruption especially one issuing out tenders. It was also said that South Africa needs a leader who can discern the voice of God and listen to the voice of the people as well. A leader who can deal with crime and be a touch- bearer of the nation. A leader who commands national and international respect who is caring for people in freedom and responsibility. A leader who can hold the nation together and nurture human relationships and one who can think nationally and internationally.

It was muted out that the churches need a leader who will sincerely deal with poverty, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, housing and tolerate no abuse against women and children. A leader who does not personalize the issues of the nation, who can accept constructive criticism and critique and deal with high levels of crime. South Africa needs a leader who can strengthen democracy, uphold democratic principle, build the economy, distributes the gains of the economy and champion the course of the poor and the suffering. The country needs a leader who shall be in solidarity with the poor and continuously work for peace painstakingly.

What May Bring Confusion Among the People?

The churches want to warm people about issues which may bring confusion and derail us from out good intention in entering the presidential race’s debate. It is apparent that according to the Constitution of the country Mbeki must leave office in 2009. The Constitution of the ANC is mute in this matter. If Mbeki is elected for the third term in the ANC we might enter a debate of his third term in government already in 2008. If he does hold the power in the ANC, we may end up with two power centres, one being the President of the country elected by the and an opposing President of the ANC in the person of Mr Thabo Mbeki. This country may find that this scenario may slow down any development, and delivery of services.

The role of the media could swing things in the positive and at times to the undesired negative. In his input, Prof T S Maluleke, the President of SACC says about the role of media: “.Are we speaking against the exposure of corruption and ineptitude on the part of the politicians? Are we asking for out politicians to be treated with kid gloves? Are we asking for our media to be lame and hagiographical about our politics and politicians? By no means. We are speaking against being served carefully orchestrated and carefully selected dirt masquerading as truth. We are speaking against co-option into the web of vindictiveness and acrimony that seems to rule our political sphere. We would like to appeal to all people who are participating in this orgy of mudslinging to stop – whether they are politicians or journalists. This is not what our freedom is about. This is not the political freedom we fought for. This is not the press freedom fit for our democracy”

What happens if Mr J Zuma becomes President of both the ANC and of South Africa in 2009 and the pending court case of his alleged corruption is opened. People may not want to speculate for now. Whilst writing this pastoral letter it is reported that most of the ANC branches including the women’s league which the public was told till now that it was pro-Mbeki has also voted for Jacob Zuma. Seemingly Zuma is leading the race by a reasonable margin so far. And the press is suggesting that this pattern of voting will not change much at the Polokwane conference.

What May be Some Danger Points Embedded in this Debate?

One serious danger point is the use of a tribal card to try to gets votes for the presidency and membership of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC). The tribal card is most likely to divide the ANC South Africa as a country. The other danger point is the use and abuse state power and resources to sustain a political career and to vilify political opponents both in the party, outside the party, in the press and society at large. One of the journalist has lamented: “… When the news broke that the SABC had a blacklist of certain commentators, I said any state that blacklists its citizens is only a step away from assassinating them”.

If peace and accord is not sealed before the December 2007, Polokwane conference whatever result we have from their will not ameliorate fierce rivalry and factionalism. The politics of vengeance and disgrace will continue. Petty picketing and political goal scoring tactics will make cosmetic the serious need to deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the economic policies of the country, cosmetic concerns about Zimbabwe, the politics of the arms-deal and travel-gate scandals to quote a few. A culture of dissent will to thrive and will drive the state to be defensive and dictatorial.

Some Desired Outcomes of the Polokwane Conference

One desired outcome is to do away with the Floor Crossing legislation and to incorporate the Scorpions into the South African Police Services albeit with the same mandate so that they are not subject and vulnerable to abuse and misuse by the state though our highest office of the police is suspected to have some connections with the international underground crime syndicates. This must be purged and corrected very soon.

We would desire the entire leadership of the ANC, the country, civil society, faith based communities and political parties to support the ruling leadership and keep the on their toes and cause them to account for governing the country. We would desire an economic policy that will transform poverty to prosperity for all. We shall desire the retention of independent state institutions. Life must go on after Polokwane.

Some of the Challenges Facing the Church and to be Faced by the Church Include the Following:

The church has to be clear about an agenda to drive in relation to transformation of people’s lives.

The church itself must open up to issues and questions of good governance and good leadership.

The church must widen discussions on morality, ethics and value systems.

The church has to be more visible, and should be forthright in its prophetic and pastoral functions.

The church has to pray for the government.

The church is not the enemy for the government.

The church leadership has to speak out to the government authorities about good governance and good leadership.

The church should minister to leaders, regardless of their political affiliation and religious orientation.

The Call to Exercise Maturity and Integrity

Church leaders called upon all South Africans to exercise caution and maturity when making public statements regarding the succession debate to ensure that their participation in the debate is not divisive and destructive.

They also called on all churches to set aside some time these coming weeks to offer special prayers on behalf of our country, our government and our leaders, for God’s special undertaking on the presidential succession debate and processes before, during and after the Polokwane ANC conference.

The outcome of this “Succession Debate Seminar from the Perspective of the Churches” was that churches started engaging on this debate, prayed for peace, stability, guidance and smooth processes, had an opportunity to listen to the voices from communities and church leadership as well as from Christians leading other political parties. KZNCC is facilitating continued discussions and debate at local level in Ladysmith, Eshowe, Durban, Edendale, Portshepstone and Amanzimtoti. In these gatherings, a pastoral letter containing a theological vision around “the leadership we want” will be distributed for discussion.

post

A Pastoral Letter on Elections: 2009

Introductory Greetings

The KwaZulu Natal Christian Council (KZNCC), the ecumenical movement in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), the Church leadership of KZN, at this hour of the electioneering period in KZN brings you greetings and encouragement through this pastoral letter on elections in KZN and South Africa, 2009. The purpose of the pastoral letter, addressed to member churches and the entire population of KZN, is to support legitimate democratic processes around elections which assimilate the general principles and images of the reign of God in our time and the contemplated future of the peace and justice of God.

It is this estimation of the future of God that inspires us to engage the world to realise the gift of freedom which God has given us in God’s sacrifice on the cross for all humanity. This we want to express in the very fragile context of the dynamics of our present political situation in the province of KZN. This pastoral letter is structured in this manner. It commences with a historical description of where we have been to where we are politically, socially, culturally and economically in KZN.

On the basis of the backdrop and historical achievements and failures the faithful and the people of KZN are reminded about the principles of a prosperous and free democracy. When that shall have been expatiated we then look at the present political situation and suggest what the role of the people of faith and people of KZN can jointly and severally do and conclude what the envisaged out comes of these national and provincial elections of 2009. With this we greet you all. The peace of God is with you all.

Executive Summary

Conservatively the province of KwaZulu Natal has tasted relative peace and prosperity at least in the past despite the spoliations of experienced crime and corruption. The people of faith and the people of KZN must defend the democratic freedoms and the achievement we have made especially when it comes to elections times where most of these freedoms are susceptible to abuse and violation. The present’s political violent upheavals must be contained and bracketed immediately in cooperation with law enforcement agencies. The rule of law at this time of elections must be upheld. And this pastoral letter ends by suggesting our expectations of the outcomes of these elections in terms of the leadership we are looking forward to – people of political will who will seriously honor their promises to the poor and the voters.

History and Background in View of KwaZulu Natal

In comparison to all the past successive elections the political climate of province of KwaZulu Natal has gradually shown some relative stability. It has been acknowledged, that there has been a growing political maturity among the peoples and many political parties in our province. The levels of political tolerance especially between the elections’ periods have been recognizably moderate and yet relatively fragile.

Besides the questions of the alleged rise in crime and corruption, there has been some sizable growth in the economy and attempts were made to share the economic
opportunities of the province with its entire people though unsatisfactorily. Needless to say that there have been incidents of chauvinism and sexism, KZN was involved in seeking solutions to these cultural and gender imbalances.

The province of KZN has been responsive to the natural disasters – floods, storms and felt-fires which weighed down upon our province. Though none of these responses may be deemed sufficient – it would be unreasonable to say that they have not been any responsiveness on the part of the people of KZN.

In view of this historical backdrop we call upon the people of faith to pray for the continuation of the political, economic, cultural and religious stabilization of our province. We call upon all of us to pursue the path of righteousness and justice for all especially the poor, the homeless and the landless among us. We implore the potential incoming powers that would be to built on the achievements of the past and have courage to take on the challenges of the past and the future with political will informed by justice for the poor and marginalised – translated quality service delivery all the time and every time.

Principles of a Prosperous and Free Democracy

What are at stake are the foundations or principles of a prosperous and successful democracy. After naming some, this letter would like to quote the ones which are most vulnerable in the light of the current and emerging political violence in KZN as we approach the 2009 elections. In tabulation these principles are: citizen participation, equality, political tolerance, accountability, transparency, regular free and fair elections, accepting the results of elections, economic freedom, control and the abuse of power, bill of rights, human rights, multiparty system and the rule of law.

Though these principles are potentially vulnerable at various stages of governance, the ones which are particularly at risk around times and events towards actual election will be quote: Citizen Participation[I] says: All citizens of a country have a right and duty to participate in government. For example, they can stand for elections, vote in elections, debate issues, attend community meetings, and pay taxes”. Lest we forget we encourage all faith communities and people of the province of KZN to desist from any activity and utterances and schemes which may impede any of the citizens to enjoy the right to citizen participation as quoted above.

The other principle most vulnerable should we allow the climate of political violence to escalate unbridled is on political tolerance which says: “People from different cultures, religions, and beliefs and so on all have different points of view. Everyone must be allowed to express their own ideas even if these are different from the majority” (ibid.). Is this not a noble thing to do – ‘to agree to differ and differ to agree’ – or ‘do to others as you would like them to do’ without fear of reprimand, harassment, intimidation and physical violence?

The other vulnerable principle, exposed to be trampled down is one on regular, free and fair elections which says: “Citizens choose the officials they want to represent them in

government. These officials must be elected in a free and fair way, without corruption. No one should be intimidated or threatened during and election. There must also be regular elections” (ibid.). We welcome the point that we have regular elections on South Africa and KZN enjoys that as well. What we deplore as informed by this principle under discussion, is when people deliberately plan to intimidate and threaten others.

We abhor anyone who hinders others in anyway from exercising their political freedom for the realization of free and fair elections. Informed by this we call upon people of faith and the people of KZN to participate in these elections, attend meetings, register to vote and actually go to vote on the day to be announce without fear of intimidation and threats. In this instance we implore the people of faith and the people of KZN to cooperate with our law enforcement institutions to bring the perpetrators of violence and mayhem to book.

This will be in accordance to the principle of the rule of law which is also threatened by perpetrators which says: “The rule of law which says that everyone in the country, including government officials, the President, the army, must follow the law. No one is above the law. It means everyone must obey the law and must be punished for their actions if they disobey the law. The law must treat everyone equally and fairly” (ibid.). There is no way we can build a prosperous and free democracy by tolerating lawlessness.

Present Events and Proposed Suggestions

In the present time of electioneering, many political parties have articulated their election manifestos. Many political parties have signed or and must be subjected to the Electoral Code of Conduct. The whole country is a free platform for attracting would be voters for the parties of choice. There are meetings, rallies, press conference, interviews, debates and house to house electioneering. All this is good and must be done in the spirit of joy, good will and responsible citizenship. There should be no go areas for anyone in the whole country including KZN.

We propose people of good will of faith and peace loving encourage free and unfettered electioneering. We promote the leveling of the political electioneering ground and patriotism among those who will vote or be voted for despite being, independents or people nominated by various political parties. We discourage acts of arson, physical violence, hate speech, intimidation, murder of political opponents, blockages of routes to rallies, character assassinations and related undemocratic political practices and unacceptable tactics. The disruption of others’ meetings and conferences should be discouraged as well.

Expected Outcomes of the Elections

Aspects of Qualities of Any Leadership

The churches are looking for a person who accommodates and encourages open debate, one who is not vindictive, who has moral fortitude, has genuine concern for the poor and is down to earth. The meaning of these aspects of leadership is that: “Statesmanship: … involves a capacity to see beyond personal or party interests, and to have a genuine concern for all people everywhere. Moral fortitude: . implies a high standard of ethical

behavior, whether private or public, and a willingness to pursue this standard with courage, even in adversity. A genuine concern for the poor: this is a vital quality for any worthwhile leader in this country currently, where the levels of poverty are still unacceptably high …” (pastoral letter on Succession Debate, 2007).

Out of these elections of 2009, we are looking forward to democratically elected leadership in KZN and South Africa as a whole.

We must have an outcome bearing and authentic stamp of ‘free and fair’ elections.

We are looking forward to a leadership freely chosen by the people of KZN and South Africa as a whole – a leadership we can proudly say it is ours – the people of this country.

We are expecting a leadership we may engage on delivery of social services and the promises of their elections manifestos without fear of reprimand and irresponsiveness.

We are pregnant of a leadership which will listen to the people and is compassionate to the plight of the poor and rural development especially where women are struggling solely on their own.

We are envisioning a leadership with the political will to tackle issues of poverty, unemployment, SADC challenges and of international profile.

We want people who will make democracy work for the majority of the people of KZN South Africa as a whole.

Notwithstanding that when the elections results are announced all of us should accept them and should any of it be challenged leave it to the due process and legislative, legal framework to double check and sort out the obstacles for us while we keep calm and peace as law abiding citizens under the rule of law.

Issued by KZNCC

Reference Cited

Human Rights Training Manual (sin anon)

Pastoral Letter on Succession Debate. KZNCC: Pietermaritzurg, 2007.

[I] Human Rights Training Manual (sin anon).

post

Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence

“Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women”

A Pastoral Letter of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council

Dear friends, colleagues, member organisations and churches of the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC), the entire Ecumenical Movement in KwaZuluNatal (KZN) and the people of the province of KZN, greetings.

The time and days dedicated for the campaign on ‘No Violence Against Women and Children’ has come – 25 November to 10 December 2010. The theme for this 2010 campaign is ‘Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women’. The campaign now calls us to take the struggle and conscientising of peoples on ‘No Violence Against Women and Children’ to the structures and corridors which sustain the abuse of women and children – physically by rape, battering and murder; emotionally through verbal abuse, debasement, hauling, yelling and harrowing.

As our new song Awuyeke says ‘Stop it’. We must stop sexual harassment and psychological repression of women and children. We need to bring to an end, child exploitation and human trafficking. We need to continue to unite and form partnerships to respond actively throughout the whole year against abuse of women and children in structures and institutions such as the home, schools, the justice system, hospitals and places of entertainment where women and children are exposed to possibilities of violence and abuse. It is indeed very stressful, upsetting, vexing and distressing for women and children to suffer such ordeals everyday of their lives. All members of society, women and men, children, people with disabilities, the elderly and marginalised minorities must break the silence of this trauma and distress. This pain, sorrow, misery and unhappiness must be purged from our homes, communities and institutions as a matter of urgency.

Notwithstanding that certain forms of culture, religion and sexism have been vehicles of unpleasant ideas which over the years have perpetuated the sufferings, exclusion, oppression, and dishonour of women and children. Culture as a construct of historically repressive patriarchal societies in relation to its degradation of women and children must be held critically when it continues to imbibe ideas such as the notion of the inferiority of women against men based on gender or sexual differences. Some form of religion as one cultural expression which promotes the defilement, shame and humiliation of women in particular like this following prayer according to rabbinical custom: “… to thank God daily, as a man, that you had not been born a woman, slave or foreigner …” which is disgustingly, sexist, oppressive, xenophobic and racist must be opposed. Such religious practices must have no haven in modern society and the democracies which seek the rights of women and children.

The emancipation of women and children is a ‘Human Right’ and a Constitutional obligation which all people must uphold, protect and defend. All people, women and children included have a right to peace, love, security and wellbeing. In order for humanity including women and children to progress further than where we are now in terms of world progress the following findings of the Unicef report (2007) must be made known and followed through:

“Gender equality and the well-being of children go hand in hand. Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development. Gender equality produces a double dividend: It benefits both women and children. Healthy, educated and empowered women have healthy, educated and confident daughters and sons. Gender equality will not only empower women to overcome poverty and live full and productive lives, but will better the lives of children, families and countries as well. Women’s equal rights and influence in the key decisions that shape their lives and those of children must be enhanced in three distinct arenas: the household, the workplace and the political sphere”.

“A change for the better in any one of these realms influences women’s equality in the others, and has a profound and positive impact on child’s well-being and development. Gender equality is not only morally right, it is pivotal to human progress and sustainable development. Achieving Millennium Development Goal Number 3—promoting gender equality and empowering women—will also contribute to achieving all the other goals, from reducing poverty and hunger to saving children’s lives, improving maternal health, ensuring universal education, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability”.

Humanity must realise now that the oppression and violence against women and children holds back advancement and progress. It has already been articulated elsewhere that poverty and inequality go hand-in-hand. Poverty and inequality are inseparable. The political, economic, cultural, religious and social exclusion of women and children stifles human attempts to fight poverty and inequality. The marginalisation and violence against women and children suffocates the civil liberties we so much desire. Humanity must now wake up to the fact that the incarceration of women is no emancipation of humanity – that the freedom of all people cannot be realised fully until women and children enjoy the same rights, freedoms and responsibilities, in a world where all humanity holds with dignity all peoples despite of gender and age.

Also remember that: “Children’s rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young,111 including their right to association with both biological parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child.121 Interpretations of children’s rights range from allowing children the capacity for autonomous action to the enforcement of children being physically, mentally and emotionally free from abuse, [ ]. Other definitions include the rights to care and nurturing” (Wikipedia).131

In closer, beloved, let us go out there and support the ’16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children’. It is a noble thing to do during these 16 Days as mentioned earlier and beyond – meaning, every day of our lives.

Chief Executive Officer

post

Pastoral letter for the Zimbabwe elections

A PLEA FOR PRAYERS OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

20 March 2008

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and its member churches and organisations are concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe especially in relation to the elections scheduled for 29 March 2008. The worsening socio-political and economic situation of Zimbabwe has long been observed with alarm. The forthcoming elections need to be a turning point for the suffering people of Zimbabwe.

Delegation

Under the leadership of Bishop Rubin Phillip, Chairperson of KZNCC, a group of eminent persons has been recruited to pay a solidarity visit to Zimbabwe in this time of agitation and confusion. As they set out on this mission on behalf of the churches of KwaZulu-Natal on 25 March, we invite all our people to pray that they may be able to bring strength and comfort to the Zimbabwean people. The delegation will return on 31 March and their report will be made public as soon as possible thereafter.

Context

Among the candidates contesting the presidential elections, President Robert Mugabe is seeking election for a sixth term. The political situation in Zimbabwe is tense. The economy is chaotic. People are full of anxiety and fear about the threat of violence. Acts of intimidation, torture, assault and abuse of human rights continue. There is great concern that the playing field for the election is uneven.

Request for Prayers

Over this Easter weekend and thereafter, there is an urgent need for prayers for a free and fair election, peace and stability, freedom of movement and association, and an absence of violence both during and after the elections, when the results are announced. Prayers are requested for a change of political leadership and the ushering in of a new era of respect for human rights, justice, human dignity and the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy. And that the people of Zimbabwe may be able to rally around a new leadership and give them the support and cooperation they need for the reconstruction of the country and of its people’s dignity.

Bishop R Phillip Chairperson: KZNCC

Prayer for Zimbabwe (Excerpt from a Liturgy of Prayers of Zimbabwe – Modified by KZNCC)

God our heavenly Lord,

You have given all people one common origin,

And your will is to gather them as one family in harmony.

We pray that the Zimbabwean elections may be free from violence and intimidation, and that the observers from many nations may be able to do their work with honesty and security.

Lord, the people of Zimbabwe are desperate for change.

We pray that the elections may lead to a change of leadership and bring justice, peace and order to the country.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

post

Pastoral Letter IsiZulu Version for Local Government elections June 2012

Incwadi evela emabandleni abumbene ngokhetho :18 KuNhlaba 2011

Sibingelela umphakathi wonke waKwaZulu-Natal

Sekuphonde kwaba yileso sikhathi sonyaka futhi lapho sizophonsa khona amavoti ethu sikhetha ubuholi bohulumeni basekhaya, naso isifundazwe saKwaZulu- Natal asisincinyane kunezinye. Kokwedlule I KZN ikhombise ubungqwele kwezombusazwe ngendlela emangazayo. Lokhu asikukhombisanga eNingizimu Afrika kuphela kodwa umhlaba wonke ukuthi noma sehluliwe noma siphumelele okhethweni kodwa siyakwazi ukwamukela imiphumela yokhetho siqhubeke nempilo. Isebenza kanjlo vele intando yeningi.

Manje ke sibhekene nomsebenzi oyinselelo kwezombusazwe ukuba siye eziteshini zokuvota siyovota sikhethe abaholi esibafunayo. Ukubhalisela ukuvota kusho ukuthi simelwe ukuthatha igxathu elilandelayo elingukuya ukovota ngobuningi bethu. Yiyona ndlela leyo esingenza ngayo ukuthi intando yeningi isisebenzele emiphakathini yethu. Masiye eziteshini sivote ngobukhulu ubuchule lobu ukuze sizakhele amathuba entuthuko emiphakathini yethu.

Kufanele siphinde sikhombise ukuthi singumphakathi oluthandayo uxolo. Simelwe ukukhombisa ukuzinikela esinakho ngobuholi bomphakathi wethu sikwenze lokhu ngokuvota ngendlela enoxolo. Imiphakathi yethu ifanelwe ukwenganyelwa uxolo nokuthula nokuzinikela okuphelele kwintando yeningi yethu. Akekho okufanele asilele ngemuva ekwenzeni lengqophamlando kwintando yeningi yethu. Njengalokhu sinxenxa abaholi bethu ukuba nabo bazibophezele ngokufanayo ekwenzeni ukhetho lwethu lube ngolukhululekile noluneqiniso. Simelwe ukubenza abaholi bethu bazi ukuthi kufanele bazilande phambi kwethu futhi njengomphakathi ngendlela abaziphathe ngayo ngesikhathi sokhetho loHulumeni basemakhaya.

Sonke simelwe ukuba yisibonelo esihle ekuhlonipheni izinhlaka zokhetho ngokuluphatha ngendlela enesithunzi nehloniphekileyo. Silangazelela kakhulu isikhathi sokhetho esinokuthula noxolo. Siyakholwa ukuthi iNkosi izosibusisela ngalesi sikhathi sokhetho nangemuva kwaso isiphe futhi namathamsanqa kwisifundazwe sethu esisithandayo iKwaZulu- Natal

Yithina abenu ebunyeni bamabandla

Fully endorsed by: KwaZulu-Natal Democracy and Election Forum; KwaZuLu-Natal Christian Council; Democracy Development Programme; KwaZulu Regional Christian Council; Diakonia Council of Churches; Young Men’s Christian Association; Southern KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council; Midlands Christian Council, Thukela -Amajuba-Mzinyathi Christian Council; Community Based Organisations Coalition

For more information contact: Dr L M Ngoetjana