The Common Good

Focusing World Cup Fever on South Africa's Fringe

I have committed my work, social action, and development endeavors to a social consciousness and awareness that propels a high standard of morality, ethics, and codes of conduct. In a world that is plagued with systems of injustice it is a most strenuous task to deliver or uphold one's personal and professional convictions, as it relates to a value base that seeks to enfranchise the disenfranchised.

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I am concerned and interested in staying true to those who are left outside the gravy train, those who are left out of the benefits and enrichment of a democracy that is captured by profit-making escapades. I have found that even in the world of development it is most difficult to ensure the goals with which one begins one's projects and socially-driven intentions, for more often than not goals designed to aid the 'have-nots' of our societies become co-opted and stripped of their original moral, social ethic of authenticity.

The wisdom of Gandhi may very well be the food for our soul for those who are committed to the work of development and socially-aware projects, and those who struggle with the pain of being inside systems which disappoint the marginalized and further propel broken promises. Gandhi explains that there are seven social sins, "Politics without principles, Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice" (Quoted by Mahatma Gandhi in "Young India," 1925).

Gandhi's wise words point to a balancing mechanism, where the pursuit of one factor cannot be achieved without the accountability of another. It is most advisable for persons involved in development and social projects to add a balancing mechanism ideology and learning to one's everyday reflection. Having the framework to challenge one's everyday actions and progression will allow for the potential realization of authentic development goals, which remain true to their intention of aiding the marginalized peoples of our world.

As we anticipate the beginning of the Football World Cup 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa, there are many development goals which we can be proud of as a nation. Infrastructures have been boosted by the influx and projections made prior to this most auspicious occurrence of South Africa hosting the Football World Cup. However, there remain those development crises where even after the World Cup 2010, we will continue as South Africans to see the harsh social realities of people who are living in 21st century social disparities -- people who are without and people who will always remain on the margins of an economic system driven by a profit-making agenda, without a balance of seeking fair trade and equal access to resources for all.

It is my hope that while there may be these social difficulties to contend with, we will realize in the tribute words of Sepp Blatter to Madiba: "We trust that the FIFA World Cup will contribute to the legacy that you wanted for your country." Nelson Mandela's legacy can best be summarized in his well-known and profound words, "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

It is my hope that the legacy Nelson Mandela pursued for our beloved South Africa will be realized in the moment to moment, everyday actions of people who have the awesome responsibility of driving projects and completing initiatives that are purposed to bring about positive social change. While we anticipate the kickoff of the Football World Cup 2010, it is my hope that we will achieve some development goals that will truly realize sustainable social change in the most difficult social realities of our beloved South Africa.

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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