The Common Good

The Struggle Continues in South Africa

I have been home in South Africa for two months as of August 6. I am grateful that my family and I are home in the land of our beginnings. But while we South Africans celebrate our 15 years of democracy, and the transition of presidency from Mbeki to Motlanthe to President Jacob Zuma, I am critical and concerned about the substance of our democracy.

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Now more than ever before our democracy is in need of a check-up before we wreck up. People who have been left outside the realm of economic blessings are becoming increasingly agitated by the promises that democracy has not provided within the last 15 years. Just two weeks ago South Africans witnessed the voices of frustrated citizens as they took to the streets of Durban-Kwazulu Natal in protest, demanding government to step in with a monthly remuneration for families without income.

I have been in the presence of committed activists for social change who cannot but shudder at the constant misgivings and shortcomings of a democracy that continues to serve the elite and economically enfranchised of South Africa. Who will answer the cries for help of the poor and marginalized? Who will come to the aid of people who are fighting to survive the strain of chronic ailments without moneys to purchase life-line medical supplies and assistance?

It is my hope that people of faith will come to the forefront and take a stand of active solidarity, for ideological solidarity is just a scapegoat and not good enough when people are living in desperate times. It is my hope that people who profess faith in Jesus Christ will revisit holy scriptures and rediscover Jesus' concern for the sick, the marginalized, the wounded, and demised. It is my hope that Christians who see the injustices of profit-making schemes and capitalistic escapades in their everyday work environments will speak out and provide an alternative option. Jobs need not be cut when top bracket earners can take a slight cut in their salaries. People need not go hungry when restaurant meals have leftovers going to waste.

The struggle continues in South Africa. It is struggle connected to our past, but it is equally a struggle of our present, and if ethics and economic policies refuse to budge, it will be a struggle that we carry into our future.

Seth NaickerSeth Naicker is an activist for justice and reconciliation from South Africa. He can be reached at seth-naicker@bethel.edu or smnaick@hotmail.com.

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