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CAPE TOWN: Archbishop Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu, and Cape Town poet James Matthews, have joined the growing global campaign to secure the release of more than 200 Nigerian school girls kidnapped last month. “It is heartening that the world seems at last to be uniting around their cause,” the Archbishop said. Matthews said he hoped Nigerian authorities would demonstrate that the country had the capacity to care for all its citizens, especially its women and children.

“Freedom is not something to take for granted”

Speaking on the eve of the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said apartheid-free South Africa had much to celebrate. Asked how he felt when he voted for the first time, he responded: “How do you feel when you fall in love?”

Archbishop Tutu agreed to field questions from journalists after receiving more than 100 requests for interviews about his thoughts on South Africa’s progress over the past 20 years.

He said the fact that the country was celebrating 20 years of democracy was “a heck of an achievement” considering the violence that characterised the build-up to the historic 27 April 1994 poll.

He paid tribute to the generation of leaders led by Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and OR Tambo, the stewards of South Africa’s peaceful transition. And he paid tribute to the government for delivering services to the people, including water, electricity and social grants. And, for passing into law one of the world’s best Constitutions.

But he advised voters to think very carefully – and pray deeply – before they cast their ballots on 7 May 2014. And he repeated statements he has made since the government turned down a visa for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in 2011, that he would “with a heavy heart” not be voting for the ANC next month.

In response to repeated probing about his opinion of the ANC, Archbishop Tutu said he had never been a member of any political party, but had supported the ANC because it most closely approximated his dream for a more compassionate and equitable society. Sadly, the leadership that followed President Mandela had failed to fill his shoes. Perhaps it was unfair to have expected anyone to have been able to do so, he said.

“We have a wonderful country and fantastic people. Nobody should be going to bed hungry. It’s a disgrace. We shouldn’t read stories of child falling into a pit latrine. It’s a disgrace.”

Archbishop Tutu reserved his most stinging criticism for the manner in which the government that followed President Mandela’s had “sabotaged” the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he chaired. Had government instituted the once-off wealth tax recommended by the commission, South Africa would not today be dealing with the consequences of the world’s biggest gap between rich and poor citizens. The payment of reparations had been tardy and paltry. The lack of follow–through with regard to prosecuting perpetrators of human rights violations was a disgrace. This would not have happened had President Mandela been able to serve a second term, he said.

“I pray that after May 7 we will all walk tall,” Archbishop Tutu said.

Ends…


UK man who blamed Cape Town for the death of his bride flies in to face the music

A palpable sense of justice and righteousness permeated the Cape High Court today (8 April) when British businessman Schrien Dewani finally appeared to begin the process of answering charges that he hired hit men to kill his young bride, Anni.

Dewani landed in Cape Town from London this morning after a three-and-a-half year battle to avoid extradition.

In a city and a country in which violent crime is endemic, the circumstances surrounding Anni’s murder have caused particular outrage because Dewani is alleged to have sought to deliberately camouflage his involvement in the murder by blaming it on Cape Town’s violent environment. Plausible, perhaps, but untrue, investigators say.

If he is convicted for Anni’s murder, Dewani will also be guilty of deliberately tarnishing Cape Town and South Africa’s reputation.

Dewani’s version of the November 2010 events is that he and his wife Anni were kidnapped at gunpoint as they drove through Gugulethu in Cape Town in a taxi. His wife’s body was found in the abandoned car the next day. Dewani claims to have been evicted from the car prior to his wife’s shooting.

Three men, who have already been tried and sentenced for their involvement in the murder, all claimed they were carrying out Dewani’s masterplan, for which they received payment.

Dewani made a brief appearance before Cape Judge President John Hlophe just after midday today charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice. The matter was postponed until 12 May.

It was agreed that Dewani would be held in a single occupancy room in the general psychiatric unit at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for medical treatment. He is said to be suffering the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

Joining him in court today were members of his family, who released a statement claiming that Dewani had returned to Cape Town to clear his name.

Outside court, members of the ANC Women’s League bayed for truth and justice.

dewani-1-adam-g

The arrival of British murder-accused Shrien Dewani is keenly anticipated in Cape Town, where more than 50 journalists attended a technical briefing by justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga in the High Court.

Dewani, accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni while on honeymoon in Cape Town in November 2010, is expected back in Cape Town on Tuesday after a failed four-year battle against extradition.

Mhaga told journalists that Dewani would be brought to the High Court straight from Cape Town International Airport on Tuesday. He would appear before Cape Judge President John Hlophe, charged with with conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.

It is expected that Dewani will be held at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital until the completion of his trial, details of which have yet to be revealed.

Dewai would be brought up to the court from the holding cells below, Media would have an opportunity to film him in court, but as soon as the judge walked in, all cameras should be off and removed from the courtroom, Mhaga said.

ARCH SANTANA. BENNY G
MAGIC: When the iconic rock guitarist Carlos Santana visited Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the offices of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, at the Waterfront in Cape Town, on Monday, the musician offered his services to Tutu to start a new movement for peace. Santana said it was his dream to help bring world leaders of impeccable morality – such as the Archbishop, the Dalai Lama and the Pope – together to begin to change the world for the better. The Archbishop responded that although he did not feel he was in the same league of moral leadership as His Holiness or the Pope, if the musician started such a movement he would support it.

 

http://martyrs-saints-sellouts.ccaphotography.org/home/benny_gool/

Condolences: To uTata Mandela’s beloved wife, Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and to all the Madibas – we express our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your paterfamilias, your patriarch. Although we collectively claim him as the father of our nation, and the pain we feel is similar to that of losing a close relative, he was your husband, your father and your grandfather. We pray that God will dry your tears and renew your strength. We thank you for sharing uTata with us. And we thank God for him. We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

People cared about Nelson Mandela, loved him, because of his courage, convictions and care of others’. He set aside the bitterness of enduring 27 years in apartheid prisons – and the weight of centuries of colonial division, subjugation and repression – to personify the spirit and practice of Ubuntu. He perfectly understood that people are dependent on other people in order for individuals and society to prosper.

He transcended race and class in his personal actions, through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and to emphasise with others. And he restored others’ faith in Africa and Africans.

Was Nelson Mandela an anomaly, an exception that proves the rule?

I would say, no. Certainly, he was exceptional. But the spirit of greatness that he personified resides in all of us. Human beings are made for greatness. Nelson Mandela embodied and reflected our collective greatness. He embodied our hopes and our dreams. He symbolised our enormous potential, potential that has not always been fulfilled.

Nelson Mandela was not a lone wolf, and he did not fall from the sky. He learned about leadership and culture growing up in the care of AbaThembu Regent Jongintaba after the death of his father. He learned from the experience of developing a voice for young people in anti-apartheid politics, and from physically prosecuting the struggle. He learned from the comrades who surrounded him, an extraordinary generation of leaders. To all of this, the crucible of prison seemed to add a deep understanding of the human condition and a profound ability to empathise with others.

Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless.

Did he have weaknesses?

Of course he did, among them his steadfast loyalty to his organisation and to some of his colleagues who ultimately let him down. He retained in his cabinet underperforming, frankly incompetent ministers. This tolerance of mediocrity arguably laid the seeds for greater levels of mediocrity and corruptibility that were to come.

Was he a saint?

Not if a saint is entirely flawless. I believe he was saintly because he inspired others powerfully and revealed in his character, transparently, many of God’s attributes of goodness: compassion, concern for others, and a desire for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

What will happen now that our father has died? Does it spell doomsday and disaster for South Africa?

To suggest that South Africa might go up in flames – as some have predicted – is to discredit South Africans and Madiba’s legacy. The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day and the next… It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on. As we enter the mourning period, as a nation, we do so with the greatest dignity and respect because that is what we owe Madiba and ourselves.

Conclusion:

Over the past 24 years Madiba taught us how to come together and to believe in ourselves and each other. He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison.

He taught us extraordinarily practical lessons about forgiveness and compassion and reconciliation. The Rugby World Cup final at Ellis Park comes to mind, and his visit to Mrs Betsy Verwoerd, the widow of the architect of apartheid, for tea and koeksusters.

He taught us that to respect those with whom we are politically or socially or culturally at odds is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of self-respect.

As a mark of our respect for him, let us use this moment in our history to reach out to one another again, to prove to ourselves and the world that our greatness was not illusory – that it exists.

Let us love one another as we loved him. Let us celebrate Madiba, together, and not let him down.

 

The popular photographic exhibition honouring former President Nelson Mandela that we produced for the City of Cape Town has being re-launched with a special festive season theme.

Visitors to the exhibition in the Cape Town Civic Centre are being encouraged to write Christmas greetings to Mr Mandela. First to do so, on 26 November, was the boss lady, herself, Executive Mayor of Cape Town Ms Patricia De Lille, surrounded by learners from Grassy Park.

The messages will be collected for three weeks and then despatched in a giant Cape Town festive season bag to Mr Mandela.

“The response to the exhibition has been staggering,” Ms De Lille said. “Never before have so many people visited our building. Never before have we had visitingschool groups virtually on a daily basis. Never before have tour operators seen fit to showcase the Civic Centre to tourists as one of the highlights of a Mother City tour. It is a real tribute to Mr Mandela. We are very proud of him.”

The mayor issued a special invitation to visitors to Cape Town over the Festive Season to take the opportunity to see the exhibition. With school holidays around the corner the city hoped to replace the vibrancy and hubbub of the regular school groups with an extra influx of visitors from elsewhere in South Africa and further afield.

The exhibition, comprising photographs of Mr Mandela by Benny Gool and Adil Bradlow, runs until March next year. Entry is free.

Meneer die Burgermeester, Nicolas Myburgh

Eerware Ivan Meyer, Weskaapse Minister van Sosiale Ontwikkeling

Raadslede van Swellendam

Dames en Here – pienk, witterig, geël, vaal, bruin – en veral die kindertjies wat so mooi soos engeltjies vir ons gesing het…

Molweni. Goeie middag. Good afternoon.

Baie dankie vir dié besondere eer. Ek is baie trots om u aanbod te aanvaar om vandag ‘n lid to word van die Swellendam gemeenskap. Ek belowe om myself ten alle tye te gedra!

Al ken ek nie baie goed vir Swellendam nie, dit voel amper asof ek vandag huis toe gekom het om twee baie spesiaale rede:
1. In die eerste plek is ek ‘n plattelandse outjie, oorspronklik van Klerksdorp. Ek het in Ventersdorp en Krugersdorp groot geword. My pa was ‘n skoolhoof, en my ma, ‘n besondere mens, het wasgoed gewas. Toe ek nog ‘n jong dominee was, het ek saam met my familie in ‘n klein dorpie in Engeland gewoon. Later het ek as biskop van Lesotho gewerk. Ek woon nou jare in die groot stede, maar waneer ek op die platteland kuier voel ek tuis. (Al was dit somtyds swaar vir ‘n ou met ‘n donker velletjie in die ou dae, toe hy saam met sy familie op en af tussen Johannesburg en Kaapstad gereis het, om ‘n ou toebroedjie in die klein dorpjes te koop!)
2. Tweedens, is Swellendam se ryke geskiedenis. Dit is die derde oudste dorp in Suid Afrika, na Kaapstad en Stellenbosch – maar lank voor die dorp gestig was het ons voorouers, die Khoi en die San, hier geloop. ‘n Paar jaar gelede het slim mense uit Amerika my bloed getoets om my DNA te uitrafel. Al lyk ek so donkerig, was ek baie opgewonde om uit te vind dat my bloed dié van die San insluit – van my ma se kant. Die apartheid regering het vir my swart verklaar, maar eintlik is ek ‘n Bushy.

Soos oud President Mnr Thabo Mbeki gesê het “I owe my being to the Khoi and the San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape, they who fell victim to the most merciless genocide our native land has ever seen, they who were the first to lose their lives in the struggle to defend our freedom and independence and they who, as a people, perished in the result.”

We live in a beautiful country. We have the mineral wealth, fertile soils and human expertise to be something very special. We have overcome many hardships and divisions, but we cannot rest; the job of reconciling our people is not done.

We have made enormous progress in many sectors of our society: Since 1994 we have embraced democracy, consigned discriminatory laws of the past to the rubbish bin, built millions of homes, provided millions of water and electricity connections, constructed schools and clinics. We have lifted the lead ceiling of apartheid that dictated people of certain pigments were suitable only for certain types of thinking and certain types of careers; we have made it possible for all to achieve their dreams. Possible, but sadly not probable.

Millions of our people still live in poverty. Those fortunate enough to have work often endure harsh working conditions. With the exception of a lucky few BEE businessmen, the economic status quo remains hugely imbalanced. Our country has among the widest gaps between rich and poor in the world.

What I am saying is that nearly 20 years after democracy we have a mixed scorecard. The transformation of our society is, in some respects, relatively advanced. But if you ask me, the number of houses and clinics we build is just part of the equation. The most important transformation project takes place inside us, in our hearts.

Please could I ask that we stand and observe a moment’s silence for Anene Booysen, a platteland girl, one of us…

For the little cousins, Zandile (3) and Yonelisa Mali (2), from Diepsloot, our children…

For 15-year-old Lee Adams from Ravensmead in Cape Town, allegedly beheaded by a 17-year-old, one of us…

And for ourselves, all the people of Swellendam, whose relationships were so severely set back last year when violence visited this town, our town…

The most important transformation project takes place in our hearts.

What men are doing to our women and our children – and our elderly – is not about individual instances of savagery or evil, or Satanism, as they are reported in the papers. No. The awful things that we have been witnessing are signs of a society that, nearly 20 years into its transformation project, remains deeply scarred and distressed.

There is something profoundly wrong with the soul of our nation. Nearly 24 years since the release from prison of our beloved Madiba, and all the others’, too many of our people still feel too alienated, too powerless, too angry, too desperate, and too unaccountable for the impacts of their actions on others.

Ons vergeet dat ons almal susters en broers is, lede van een familie, God se familie. Ons het vir mekaar nodig.

Ons het vir mekaar nodig op die myne (dit sluit in eienaars, Amcu en Num lede).

Ons het vir mekaar nodig op ons plase (om die beste kos teen die beste pryse op die nasie se tafels te sit).

En ons het vir mekaar nodig in ons gemeenskappe – al is ons pikswart, spierwit, Bushy, gay, Joods, Islamies, man, vrou, kind…

There is an African idiom that it takes the entire village to raise a child. We need to restore our souls by rediscovering compassion for one another, care and love for our neighbours. Each time someone appears in the courtroom opposite the street charged with a heinous crime, consider that the accused, like the victim, is a member of our family. They are our children, raised by our village. We are letting ourselves down, and we are letting God down.

The most important transformation project takes place inside us…

When we are able to feel what others are feeling, deep within our hearts – to empathise, encourage, share.

When we replace the fences that divide us with new relationships, we make God smile.

Ek wil weereens vir julle Swellendammers ‘n hartlikke dankie sê. U het vandag ‘n ou man baie gelukkig gemaak. Dit is ‘n geweldige groot eer vir ‘n afgetreede dominee om oud Presidente PW Botha en uTata Nelson Mandela te volg as vryburgers van dié dorp.

God bless you!