The Common Good

20th January, 2009

On 20th January, 2009, I turned on my radio to listen to the news and heard these words from the leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe: "Today is probably one of the darkest days of our lives." These words came after the end of a marathon 12 hour meeting with Mugabe mediated by former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, current President of South Africa, K. Motlante, and President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza. The talks, aimed at restoring an earlier agreement on equal power sharing failed and no agreement was reached. The humanitarian crisis continues to worsen. Hopes dashed once again! It is hard to sustain hope, and political conversations among citizens have more 'silence' than words. Words are hard to come by; what more can be said that has not already been said? Where can one find hope?

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

In the evening of 20th January, 2009, I, like millions of people in this region including Zimbabwe, watched the historic inauguration of Barack Obama. The excitement and sense of history gripped many of us. Commentators on TV and responses from members of the public revealed the extent to which many felt inspired, challenged, and energized by Obama's speech. Our context may be different from that of the U.S., but our common humanity united us in celebrating the victory of democracy, human dignity, equality, and all the ideals that bring out the best in humanity and remind us once again that together we can transcend the past and build a better future. Many of us needed to hear this and receive inspiration to keep on keeping on until the ideals that reflect the right to dignity, equality, and freedom become a reality for us all. With millions all over the world who watched the inauguration, we were for that moment united by ideals that are basic to our common humanity.

How does one reconcile the message of hope with the harsh realities of life without sight of either? I think this proverb from the Igbo tribe in Nigeria sheds some light:

Ag?? nwere nchekwube/ol?leanya a d?gh? egbu egbu.(Igbo)

The hunger that has hope for its satisfaction does not kill.

The church both in and out of Zim has not been silent during this time. In South Africa Bishop Tutu made a call for prayer and fasting in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. A movement was launched led by wife of Nelson Mandela, Gracia Machel called "save zimbabwe now' several members of the clergy in South Africa are involved and want to make sure that the prophetic voice of the church is not silent. Hope flickers on!

Nontando HadebeNontando Hadebe, a former Sojourners intern, is originally from Zimbabwe and is now pursuing graduate studies in theology in South Africa.


Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)