Monday, October 19, 2009

A vision for a beloved community

In my preparation for work and ministry at Jeshua the pursuit of vision, mission and purpose rang out loud and clear. Jeshua as a church and local Christian congregation in Lenasia South, Johannesburg-South Africa, is a part of the Reformed Church in Africa. Jeshua finds itself as a small congregation looking to a new season. It is my hope and prayer that in this season we will together pursue the work and ministry of being a: reconciliation, missional and transformational church -a church with a vision for a beloved community.

It is my belief that for Jeshua or any other church having a vision for a beloved community must be upfront and central. More importantly such a vision is imperative for people, and organizations of our 21st century. Much has been stated about vision, mission and purpose, and there will be much more developed in time to come, but it seldom that we hear of vision, mission and purpose in terms of the collective, the community, the world.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was a proponent of the terminology “a beloved community”. Dr. King drew his inspiration for the beloved community from his reading and understanding of biblical scripture. As an ordained minister he propelled the notion of “a beloved community” with fervour and determination to address the injustice of his day. The church and people of faith who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ are called to engage the work and mission of pursuing the vision for a beloved community.

In my reflection of Dr. King and of the Father of USA black liberation theology Howard Thurman, I am eager and excited to realize a vision for a beloved community that consists of a: vision of urgency, vision of inclusion and vision of active participation.

Dr King utilized the terminology “fierce urgency”,and called people to pursue justice and social change with fierce urgency. I believe that a vision of urgency must underpin and hasten our human footsteps to engage the grandeur and master design of God’s vision for a beloved community. A vision of urgency was noted in Dr. King’s fiery oration to destabilize an oppressive and segregated social order in the USA. A vision of urgency compelled people to exercise their belief in justice and eqaulity for all. Dr. King's vision of urgency kept him at the forefront of fighting for the rights of the marginalized and the impoverished.

Dr. John Volmink president of Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town, South Africa speaks of a church and community of faith, where his faith is propelled by what he brings to the church and not what the church gives to him. Dr. Volmink tells of young people he teaches mathematics to, young people from a diverse background of ethnicity and religion. In Dr. Volmink’s words, “for these children the church is the place they receive their education and mentorship.” Dr. Volmink has a vision of inclusion and it is being put to practice as he serves young people of diverse race, class, gender and religion.

Dawn Naidoo principal of Madiba school in Lenasia South has been actively involved in education. Principal Naidoo has served the department of education for close onto 4 decades, but while she has taught and been a senior administrator fulltime, she continues to provide extramural lessons to children from underprivileged communities. Principal Naidoo has been doing so since Apartheid and continues to contribute to the lives of young people where ever and whenever the opportunity arises. Principal Naidoo has a vision of active participation and it is being put to practise in her everyday work of serving young people and her broader community.

It is my hope that in my service of Jeshua, our service of each other, and our broader community that we will continue developing and engaging the pursuit of a beloved community. It will be of great aid to South Africa when people from all walks of life seek to be: a community that is urgently seeking justice and equality; a community that is inclusive and seeking to include all people; and a community that is actively participating in caring for one another.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The other dimension of the game

I have been thinking much about this slogan or caption “the other dimension of the game”. It is a slick and catchy phrase that I have been exposed to in my work with Streetfootballworld - a strategic partner of FIFA in the 2010 FIFA World cup in South Africa. Streetfootballworld is concerned with development through football. The game of football has another side, another dimension, and it is most exciting being a part of a festival organizing team that delivers the Football for Hope Centre Kick Off -2009 and the Football for Hope Festival- 2010. You can learn more about Streetfootballworld by visiting

In my current work as operations coordinator, and my continued consulting and training and development - this theme “the other dimension of the game” has captured my thoughts and considerations. Our daily life could be considered as a game. A game for some that is filled with adventure, achievement and success. For others a game filled with anxiety, alienation and struggle. It is a most valuable exercise to be reflective and introspective of “the other dimension of the game”, or “the other dimension of life” - for my reality is not the reality of another. In the world that we live in, there is growing need for everyday people to be learned in the practice of considering the other and the dimension of life that one may not be seeing.

In the recent drama surrounding Caster Semenya there are certain realities that prevail in life, concerning ethnic and gender bias. Semenya’s professional athlete record lies in the hands of people and tests that scrutinize her person and her being. Once must wonder what dimension of the game was missing in the happenings surroundings this young, dynamic and triumphant person. Could it be the dimension of one’s human rights was not in focus? Could it be the dimension of caution to protect a person, instead of bringing open rebuke and international destructive propaganda?

It is my hope to go about my work at Streetfootballworld being mindful of “the other dimension of the game.” It is my hope that every facet of my personal and professional life will be concerned with the social, development, justice and human rights dimension of life. May people all over our world be captured by the efforts, programs and causes that focus on “the other dimension of life”. The dimension that is easier left ignored and marginalized. A dimension that falls outside the framework of a globalization -profit making market economy!

The world of football/soccer has in some ways recognised the other dimension. May we live to see a day when politics and economics are engaged with the other dimension of their game! It is possible to go about our lives with a socially astute ethic that seeks to bring about a better world for all humanity!

Consider today your life and the people that are in your ethos, which dimensions of your everyday existence are not apparent to you. Do you see and understand the depth of complexity that your fellow colleague or neighbour exists in? Are you intentionally considering “the other dimension of the game” in the game of life that you play every day?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Alutta continua - the struggle continues

Alutta continua- the struggle continues!

I have been home in South Africa for two months as of the 6th of August, 2009. I am grateful that my family and I are home in the land of our beginnings. But while we celebrate our 15th year of democracy, and the transition of presidency from Mbeki to Motlanthe and now to President Jacob Zuma, I am critical and concerned about the substance of our democracy.

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 continual misgivings and shortcomings of a democracy that continues to serve the elite and economically enfranchised of South Africa. Who will answer the cries of 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 supply and assistance!

It is my hope that people of faith will come to the forefront and take a stand of active solidarity. Fore 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 every day working 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 left over going to waste.

The struggle continues in South Africa, it is a struggle that is 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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Homecoming and potential for reconciliation activism!

Homecoming is on my mind in this day and this hour. My wife and I, our baby girl and son to be born in July will leave the twin cities, our Bethel University, our Church Sanctuary Covenant Church, and the host of family and friends, to return home to the land of our birth, South Africa. For almost 5 years we have studied, worked and lived our lives in the context of the twin cities, USA.

Our family, friends and community are looking forward to our being home on a more permanent basis. It has been difficult being away from those whom we hold most dear. Now in this moment of going home, there is a bitter sweet, of leaving a place and space that has become home, in more ways than one. It is here in St. Paul, that we have experienced life as a married couple, having our first child, and developing as a family. It is here that we have further advanced and equipped ourselves concerning our learning, and here that we have dug deep in our critical learning and analysis of social constructs of injustice.

I have been questioned by people from South Africa as to the social justice focus, during my time in a home away from home. Some folk have been delighted to learn of the study and research, which I pursued in contextual, liberation and reconciliation theology. For within a western context, dominated by western Eurocentric theology, I have studied and developed thoughts and theological knowledge rooted in critical pedagogy. It has been my intention to understand my faith from the margins, and develop a moral ethic and approach that argues from, in and of the social cultural context of people who live with their backs against the wall.

The sad reality of life is that there are many people looking for a place and space to call home. I have journeyed with people who are born in the USA, and while I have realized it as a home away from home, there are those of first nation or Native American, African American, Latino and the grandeur of ethnicities and languages, class, gender and religion, who live like aliens and foreigners in the land of their birth and beginnings.

This notion of homecoming is discussed and wonderfully propelled through the gentle personality, work and ministry of my Doctor Father of Reconciliation Studies, my mentor and friend Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung. In “Homecoming: A “white” mans journey through Harlem to Jerusalem”, Curtiss speaks of his experiences of coming into places and spaces that have symbolized homecoming. In the introductory chapter he tells of journeying to Africa, and more specifically South Africa. Here as he prepared to take the microphone and address a 600 capacity audience of youth leaders from all across South Africa and Southern Africa, he was blessed with the experience and an overwhelming sense of homecoming.

In South Africa, where Curtiss was not born he comes into this faith inspired sense of homecoming, that allows him to be at home amongst God’s people whether he is welcomed to be at home or not. For there are those who are critical of a white north American male declaring that he has come home to Africa. But the feeling of homecoming and consciousness allows people to engage people, even when there is every reason to be divided.

Merrishia and I have sensed homecoming in living out our faith in a home away from home, even when people have asked, “What right do you have?” Our activism, advocacy and ambassadorship of God’s highest agenda Reconciliation, has been and is propelled by our confidence and consciousness that “every place I lay my head that’s my home”. Choosing to make home in a place away from home has allowed us to critically challenge places and spaces knowing that we speak out with a mindset that states, “this place and space belongs to me as it does to you”. We are members of a global family, where there are no boundaries and barriers, where there is no Jew or Gentile, Greek or Hebrew, male or female. We are people!

Homecoming is physical, but it also spiritual and emotional. Gandhi experienced homecoming as a guru and voice of reason in and amongst people from all walks of life, amongst the Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist. Malcolm X experienced homecoming in Mecca amongst the great diversity of Muslims that came of different ethnicity. Mother Teresa experienced homecoming in amongst the children that she served in India.

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela experienced homecoming in her engagement with Eugene de Kock, who was a lead agent and prime evil of the militant defense force of the Apartheid government. In “A human being died that night”, we read of one who was oppressed by and a victim of Apartheid coming into the gracious space of realizing her humanity and coming home to her healing, in her dialogue with an oppressor and villain of Apartheid. The sense of homecoming has the power to prepare a space and place for people to be people, even in the most horrendous situations of oppressor facing oppressed.

Jesus Christ sensed his homecoming in the garden of Gethsemane. It is here that Jesus Christ came to the realization that his humanity was bound up in the humanity of world. Jesus was too lay down his life as a symbolic sacrifice, for people to be assured of a Homecoming. Jesus Christ in saying, “Father not my will, but your will be done”, signified that Jesus Christ understood “I am because you are”. Jesus Christ understood that his humanity was bound up in the humanity of God’s people.

As my family and I head home to South Africa we are hopeful that our homecoming will allow us to continue the work of continuing the struggle for homecoming to be the right of all our people. We must continue the struggle for homecoming to be the right of every child, woman and elder. We must continue the struggle for homecoming beyond political freedom to pursue economic freedom for all our people.

May we desire to live our lives with a notion and sense of homecoming that avoids dehumanizing the other. May our faith inspire us to create places and spaces for all people to experience homecoming!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reflecting on prophet Malcolm X

I am mindful of the 19th of May, 2009, which marked the birthday of a mystic activist and voice of justice. One who like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was silenced at the age of 39. This prophet spoke out radically against the injustices of his day, and he propelled a message and rhetoric that made the ‘powers that be’ feel insecure even in their power.

I am talking about Prophet Malcolm X. If he were alive, today would be the celebration of Minister Malcolm’s 84th birthday. The life and legacy of minister Malcolm’s cry for justice and equality must continue to be considered in this day and age, as we continue to stand up for justice. There are those who would still take offense at the reference to Malcolm X in any positive sense, but more dialogue and engagement must be given to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz post his return from Mecca.

May we remember Prophet Malcolm X, and be reminded of our call and journey of faith in living a life that seeks the betterment of our world and the demise of corrupt ‘powers that be’!

Malcolm X stated, “I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion.” I have to wonder how many times my faith tradition and my rearing within organized Christianity has discouraged my willingness to fight for my people. Malcolm’s ‘my people’ were people who faced oppression and dehumanization.

I have ‘my people’ too, and I must be willing to fight for them like Minister Malcolm did! In choosing to fight for ‘ my people’ I must also say ‘to hell’ with the elements of my religious and faith tradition, and elements of Christianity, which choose to deny and resist the plight of the disenfranchised and marginalized people of our world. People from other countries in South Africa are the ‘my people’ of this moment, this hour, and this day!People marginalized and impoverished. People who are hoping that the leaders of our land will hear their cries and deliver on their promises.

The Malcolm X of pre-Mecca and African journey was trapped in the racialized disparities and inequities of a segregated United States. He was also trapped in the work of the Nation of Islam, which many will remember as Malcolm X propelling a black society without having contact with white people.

But like apostle Paul’s transformational and redeeming experience on the road to Damascus, so to must the life, love, and legacy of Malcolm X be considered. Malcolm X of the post-Mecca and African journey was one who realized the dynamism and worth of living for the beloved community — a community of God’s people existing to see justice and equality for all peoples of the earth.

May it be that more and more people will find places and spaces that restores their humanity and the humanity of others.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Speaking truth to power: Post South Africa's 4th democratic elections

I would count it a great privilege, if I could speak to the leaders of my beloved South Africa. It would be a wondrous magical moment. I would seize the moment to speak truth to power. These 3 M’s and the big Z, I refer too are Presidents Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe and the projected incumbent President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma.

President Nelson Mandela served South Africa in her first five years of democracy, followed by President Thabo Mbeki, who due to allegations and implication of his name in malpractice opted to step down as president, thus serving South Africa just short of a decade. President Kgalema Motlanthe has come into office since November of 2008. Motlanthe will soon be out of the office of the president as we tally up the votes of our 3rd democratic elections. As it stands the April 22nd, 2009 election results seem are pointing in the direction of the African National Congress and President Jacob Zuma.

Now, returning to speaking truth to power. I believe that prophetic voices of leaders in top level political, faith, non profit, development, and corporate sectors, must be conscientized to consciously and strive for the redemption and liberty of all our people.

Moral regeneration must be a project for people who live with their backs against the wall. Moral regeneration cannot be pimped by elite and uppity people, propelling their conservative pietism that has no social awareness for the plight of the poor and the marginalized.

While notarized people of positional and economic power must speak out and act with consciousness, leaders who remain the unsung heroes of our country must equally rise moving the masses from the bottom up to ensure that our democracy returns to being a hope for all our people, with an astute social concern.

In emotional exile missing out on being home for our 3rd democratic election, these following thoughts and remarks are what I have decided I would say to leaders of South Africa who have held the highest office in the land, and to President Jacob Zuma who will soon be the President of the Republic of South Africa.

To President Nelson Mandela:
Thank you, Tata Madiba. Thank you for being a beacon of hope to our people. Thank you for being such an exemplar of reconciliation effort and advocacy. Thank you for demonstrating at every turn grace, mercy, tolerance and acceptance, and always encouraging a united South Africa.

Thank for sacrificing your literal life, by enduring imprisonment for 27 years. Thank you for fighting for the freedom of our nation. Thank you for loving all people, and thank you for being the father of our nation. But! Why have you seized to speak in these times when our South African people are in dire need of a voice of authentic leadership?

I understand that you have fought the good fight. I realize that you gave your life to see our country free from Apartheid. But even within your life time we have created a new order of injustice, and sugar coated freedom with the window dressing of democracy. People who were poor within Apartheid for the majority they have remained poor. The democracy we have claimed and propelled is only good for people who can thrive and survive in a middle class to elite class reality.

Democracy to the hundreds and thousands of South Africans who continue to live in Apartheid constructed townships, and South Africans who live within post Apartheid “informal settlements”, continue to face harsh realities of a democracy that is a great idea- without any practical application and implications.

I ask respectfully, will you please speak again with the prophetic voice of reason that God blessed you with? Even in this hour when current African National Congress (ANC) politics has chosen to utilize you as a token voice of moral leadership, and masquerade you to monopolize votes in a competitive electoral season. Will you disband and speak out against the internal muck and mire of an ANC that is failing its people from the top structures cocooned in elitism to the bottom structures held ransom by loyalty to a political party that once was the saving grace for our people.

Honorable President Nelson Mandela will you speak once again as a voice of reason and guidance to our current and incumbent dispensation of ANC leaders?

To President Thabo Mbeki:
Thank you for your wonderful insight and great oratory skills. You brought to our nation the written consciousness of being African. Your wisdom and intellectuality has rekindled our collective memory as an African people of our Black intellectuals. You will forever be remembered for the great rhetoric and dynamic words of wisdom that you offered to our early democracy.

You took our young democracy and followed on very confidently as you came into leadership following Tata Madiba. I am grateful for your leadership and attempt at propelling the work of African Renaissance. The renaissance of our African-ness must be propelled, and I am not sure that this attempt as you spear headed translated into a national project of reclaiming our consciousness as an African people of South Africa.

But in your intellectuality there was disconnect, African consciousness was written but not displayed in delivery of intellectual ideas without practice. I am sure that this disconnect was not intended but it transpired in the rise of democracy that lost its social conscience and ability to mobilize the people’s freedom. Instead we have inherited an imported freedom, a freedom packaged and shipped to us immersed in western ideology and hegemony.

I understand your discontentment and disappointment, which lead to your stepping down. I am disheartened by the way you were treated by our ANC comrades, even in the wake of alleged discrepancies and information that points to your involvement in political sabotage of a fellow comrade. Polokwane and the historic moment which crowned Zuma the victor and president of the ANC, seems to me now a choice that placed our ANC card carrying members, and followers of the ANC between a rock and a hard place. Choice presented discomfort as our ANC was ripped into camps, but a choice was made for change.

In the light of our current day realities one could say that we are in an era of change for the sake of change, without a demand that change has meaning and purpose to enfranchise the disenfranchised. Change is not given the pre-requisite of being a positive change, a change for all the people of our land. For political change must be labored with the task to deliver economic change. Like my father would say, call me what you like but pay me my money. All people must have access to water, food, shelter, clothe and education for our children, for our future.

Why have you chosen to be silent in the current political day, where there seems to be a “Battle for the Soul of the ANC”. In some ways the ANC has been given over to the whims and fancies of politics that cannot deliver the core ideals of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, and the liberation of Africans in particular and black people in general from political and economic bondage. It means uplifting the quality of life of all South Africans, especially the poor.

Will you come back to the forefront of speaking truth without the positional power? I know that you have been ridiculed and critiqued but is what you have to offer all spent, or can you live to see a new day in your political leadership, that spurs our people on in creating a just and fair South Africa for all people. Will you speak again even though your personal hurts and pains silence you to a minimized muteness?

President Thabo Mbeki in the midst of your own weakness and short comings, will you be a voice of reason and a sounding board for thought to the next season of proposed ANC candidates, and our incumbent President of the Republic.

To President Motlanthe:
Thank you for taking on the role of our interim care taker and being our President in these chaotic, troublesome, yet exciting times. You have been speaking and providing a voice of influence and advocacy of the new dispensation of candidates proposed to be the best suited to serve our people. Thank you for stepping in and holding the reigns, in what has clearly been a tumultuous time.

In my local area Lenasia it has been reported to me that you spoke about the principled leader that our nation will have in Jacob Zuma. You also addressed the youthful immaturity of Julias Malema. You mentioned that Julias requires grooming and tutelage. I respectfully question your notion of principled leadership when senior ranking officers have not silenced and discouraged, for example hate speech and rhetoric encouraging fanaticism, where people are willing to die for one person instead of remaining true to the course of freedom as propelled by the ANC.

I respectfully question the notion of youthful leadership requiring tutelage, when no such tutelage has been sought after, and no such tutelage has been offered and exercised, in the public eye. Youthful leaders like Julias and others speak out abrasively against seasoned elders such as Bishop Tutu, and no senior leadership of the ANC has reprimanded any of these younger generation of leaders.

I question leaders of the ANC when we nurture youthful bliss toward demonstrative politics, which does not push an agenda of politics for people’s liberation from political and economic bondage. Instead it is a politics of divide and conquers, only concerned with a one candidate victory even if it means the waste of a nation.

Will you remember where it is that we come from, and the struggle for freedom that was designed and intended to return power to the people? President Kgalema Motlanthe, will you speak truth and provide a sounding board for thought to President Jacob Zuma who is to be our 4th democratically elected President?

To President Jacob Zuma:
It is my hope comrade and esteemed President Jacob Zuma that you will take on the projected work of President of our beloved South Africa with a reverence and faith anchoring resolve. It is my hope that you will rise to meet the demand of a people in desperate need of a leader who will be for all people. It is my hope that you will address your short comings and claim your personal faults and acknowledge your moral and ethical failures, by ensuring people that the past will not dictate our future.

Our nation needs to know that our head of state will adhere to a standard of excellence in his conduct and practice as it relates to his personal life, which is a public matter as President. It is my hope that in your projected service of our nation you will be open to guidance and tutelage of Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe, and more especially the well of knowledge offered by several other seasoned leaders such as Bishop Tutu.

I believe that it would serve us well for you to bring alongside you people who are not yes boss kind of people. Instead gather people who are critical of you. It would be most dynamic if you would request of Bishop Tutu to consider being your spiritual advisor and spiritual mentor. It is of vital importance that you respond to the needs of our people who have not tasted the fruit of democracy, while maintaining the living standard of those who enjoy middle to upper class existence.

I am sure your task will be tough, but I believe that you can deliver beyond the critique and the flaws that many will hold against you. I am convinced that if you remain true to the spirit if Ubuntu , and drive the spirit of Ubuntu as a key factor for the fabric of our nation, you will be successful, and our country will continue displaying exemplary global leadership.

President Zuma it must be your agenda to seek out voices that are committed to justice, people who have a concern for those that are marginalized. You need these committed social justice activists in your midst and close by your side, if you are committed to being true to bringing authentic change! We need to see the soul of the ANC demonstratively and dynamically remaining true to the spirit of Ubuntu theology, and Ubuntu Politics.

We need to see our communal existence, our African hospitality and generosity restored. We need to see a country care for its youth and invests in its future. We need to see employment for our people. We need to see quality education for all our children. We need , we need, we need.

But equally there are those of us that can give, and as our president you have the platform to call on the generosity of our people who have, organizations who are making multimillions, churches, mosques and temples and other communities of faith to get active in seeing change that will be supported from the top down, but will be rooted in the heart beat of the people from the bottom up!

There are those who are skeptic and cynical. There are those who have lost trust and hope in the work of renewal, restoration and national reconciliation of our nation. But, I believe that we can see a new day in politics driven by tender conscience, and Biko like consciousness to proclaim and see the lived out beauty of all the people of our land.

I believe that no one is beyond grace, and with all the struggles you have faced, with all the shortcomings that you have displayed, you are in and through and above all else a child of God! It is your time to serve as a child of God, all God’s children and all our people of the country that you love. I believe that we can see a glorious future, and a day where our beloved South Africa presses on in the miracle that was birthed through our victory over Apartheid.

We are now facing new challenges and new crimes against humanity. It is my prayer that you will have your ear to the ground, and here the stomping of the people’s feet driven by the collective consciousness and pulsation of the beating hearts of those who still “cry give us - us free!

Dear President Jacob Zuma, please remain true to all the people of our land, delivering a path that will see South Africa go from strength to strength and stand strong as a nation. I congratulate you on your achievement and advancement to the office of the President. I thank you in advance for your service, and it is my hope and wishes to be true to serving my country in all that I am called to do.

Yours sincerely
Rev. Seth Naicker.

Power of Consciousness

In the work place of life there is great chaos, turmoil, and bad vibes. It is my hope to see people staying ahead of the game in their everyday workplace culture. We must not allow bad vibes to get us down. We must realize, believe and know that we have control over our emotions, and no matter how angry someone else may get us , we must be aware that when we respond to their bad vibes with bad vibes we are demeaning ourselves. It must become our modes operandi to stay clear of that negative energy within the workplace of life and choose to respond in good viby-ness.

In life one may not have positional power, economic or financial power, but any and every human being across the world has the blessing of consciousness power. This power is the power that Steve Biko propelled through his movement of Black Consciousness. Steve Biko told black people in the South African situation of legalized racism and under the systemic evils of Apartheid, that they were beautiful and wonderful. This message translates from consciousness of mind into the practicality of loving yourself as it relates to one’s nose, lips and buttocks and knowing that one is beautiful. It is consciousness power that Patch Adams had- watch the movie and just look into how he responded to people's negative vibes.

When you have the power of consciousness you are not afraid or feel intimidated by anyone or any circumstance. Consciousness power is however not a haughty power that seeks to place you over and above another, for at the centre of the power of consciousness (POC) lies the wonderful value of Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu- A person is a person through other people! POC allows you to see the human being even when the human being that you see may be distorted or acting with bad vibes. POC will allow you to humanize the discussion between I and the other.

POC will have you working with creativity and commitment even with the one who hurts you. You are not a weak walk over but strong in countering for example, corporate power plays of power over. People who choose to use 'power of position’, 'power of money’, as power over to dictate-deframe-demise-destroy & dehumanise. POC will allow you to make a play on the 'chess board' of life which defuses people who use power over tactics to dominate and dictate. You can apply POC with Gandhi style power of consciousness.

Gandhi resorted to a fast in the midst of Religious war , which caused people to stop for at least a time because he was fasting committed to going to a point of death if they would stop their warring . Gandhi's action was rooted in the POC and satyagraha- love force. Gandhi’s work may not have resulted in ultimate success , for upon Gandhi's death Pakistan became a independent country from India . But one cannot deny the power of consciousness, and the mystical and wondrous work that one can do of easing the pains of life and the chaos of the workplace - when one chooses to embrace POC.

POC can be seen in the actions of Madiba (Nelson Mandela) when he enacted the first act of reconciliation on Robben Island at the lime stone quarry of befriending young white male soldiers who were put in place to regulate and control him and other political comrades. Madiba found a way to reach the soul of these young men by treating them as human beings. Madiba refused to loose his humanity to the volatile situation political imprisonment. Madiba reached out and found a human being where others would just see a young white male racist . He found a 16 year old son that needed to be mentored. Madiba can see the shortcomings of our democracy and the turmoil of our country even in his life time but again one cannot deny the power of consciousness.

In 1999 I was in a small town called Eberswalde, former East Germany not too far outside Berlin. I was apart of a social justice theatre, ministry and youth work project “ithemba”- meaning hope . We were scheduled to do a program in this town, which was said to be built by Nazis. We had about a 100 young people who came to the program. In and amongst the group of young people was group of young men who were apparently an active Nazi youth group. They were obviously informed about ithemba, a team of young people who addressed reconciliation as it relates to matters of racism and other-ism through the arts of drama, dance and spoken word.

It was clear that this group of young men came to disrupt the program. But we stayed the path , beginning the evening and informing all people who attended to find a seat. We began with our opening dance and introductions. Back stage our team committed to prayer that would remove fear from allow us to journey on with boldness in presenting the message that we came to bring. We came to the time of our production "Images of Reality”, which pointed to the ugly social construct and reality of racism rearing its ugly head around the world. There were continued remarks hurled and slight disruptions which made it difficult in a setting for a drama and dance production , but as a team we journeyed on.

We came to the end, where as the leader of the team I was just so happy to know that within a few minutes we would be done. In my mind I was looking forward to us as a team getting the 'hell out of the hall and the town”. Away from what was already playing out in my mind as projected danger to my team. We as a team pressed on through the program and decided together from the get go that we would stay and deliver our message, within the midst of potential danger and disruptions. We were anxious and possibly on the border of fear , but we stayed the path knowing that we were not given a spirit of fear but a spirit of love and power and sound mind. So our work was done we could rap up now and leave with haste.

I had the microphone and was making closing remarks. I knew I would our team to say goodbyes to those who came and were open to us, but for the purposes of our safety I knew I was going to get us out as quickly as possible. As I closed off the program a boldness came over me . A power that moved from having the audacity to stay the path and show outward boldness, to a power to communicate further a message of "versonung und vergebung"- meaning reconciliation and forgiveness . A power came over me, in me , through me and from the centre of my being that propelled me further to communicate with passion, freedom and love. It was a power of consciousness.

As I was speaking I was well aware of the group of young men who were still being politely disruptive, but a moment came when a young was in the action of standing and about to shout something out. Just then another young man, who in my memory had a black jacket on, from a seated position extended his right arm across the chest of the young who was about to stand up . The young man was plopped right back into his seat. The young man's actions from a seated position caused a hush amongst the group of young men who were being politely disruptive. The hush was felt in the room, the atmosphere quieted. I had the full attention of every person, and propelled our message of "versonung und vergebung" further.

The program was over, and we were quite glad that we got through without any outrageous acts of violence, even though there was times when power went out, a banners removed and derogatory remarks hurled. So the polite disruptions were polite so far as not having caused any personal harm to any one person. But the danger was felt, and people who were open to hearing from us were equally captured by the thick tension.

The power I felt however drove me further. I asked to speak to the young man who silenced the room through his action. His name is Martin. I went with my fellow team mate who was German, serving as a translator. Martin and I spoke, and he expressed his animosity and hate for "auslanders" meaning foreigners. He had all his reasons for his attitudes, thoughts and behaviour.

I countered his arguments for with simple remarks such as "do you know we have Germans in my country as well, should I be saying like you get them out because this is not their land." I made remarks that our skin colour may be different but beneath our skin runs red blood. Our discussion continued on . I was afforded a moment to engage Martin about the rootedness of his hate. I asked questions following a path of countering his arguments, as to why he hated people who look like me, people of a darker hue- foreigners.

My soul investigative questions lead to a point of Martin communicating his personal hurts and pains. I learned of loss of his dad at a young age and being imprisoned in a juvenile institution. A reality and life caught in vicious cycles and complexity of one evil leading to another. We spoke emotionally about the loss of economic opportunities because of others, meaning foreigners who have taken away employment opportunities from his family. He pressed on and we listened, until he shed a tear that presented a moment where I joined my young friend with a tear as well. I am sure my fellow team mate was emotional too. In this moment Martin and I came to a place of understanding the rootedness of pain and anger, but equally to a place of understanding that what ever the circumstance no reason should allow one to dehumanize thee other. No right should give one a right to inflict harm upon another.

Martin and I shared a moment of coming together where we were both human in that moment. We were both young brothers in that moment; we were both children of God. The power of consciousness is a wonderful human and God given blessing to engage the disruptions and chaos's that we see in our worlds arrange. May you and I go about our work and ministry in the chaos and chess board game of life causing thee other to move in a direction toward realization of humanity.

May the power of consciousness as informed and impacted by our faith hope and love cause us to know "I am because we are ". When the I and the other are not at a place of being we , if there is an us and them social construct , even if one is a so called Nazi and the other is a so called justice activist - we can live to see people them together and be human. Like Bishop Tutu reminds us "My humanity is bound up in yours."

Grace and Peace!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Power of the Powerless! by Seth Naicker

In times of great chaos and stress, people need voices of reason and inspiration. Minister Vernon Johns was, is and will forever be one such prophetic voice and stalwart. Johns preached fiery and passionate messages from the pulpit of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama from 1947 to 1952. He was Dr. King's predecessor as pastor, and a mentor of people like Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, and many others in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

“The road to freedom”, is a movie that documents the life, work and ministry of Minister Vernon Johns, and in many ways the beginnings of the civil rights movement in the U.S.A. Before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Minister Malcolm X came Minister Vernon Johns, who preached in unconventional yet passionate and practical ways. One Sunday morning Minister Johns stood up at the pulpit and reached down to fresh vegetables he farmed in his garden. Minister Johns encouraged his African American congregation to break free from the power of the social reality of a socially constructed racist society. Such freedom was possible if people became producers and refused to exist solely as consumers.

The advice of Minister Vernon Johns must be revisited as a source of strength and a strategic vice to reclaiming a quality of life existence in the midst of tough global economic times. Having people connect with their abilities to produce and initiate is a worthy task. The dominant culture of consumerism has the detrimental result of draining people and communities of their resilience and struggle for political and economic freedom. However the notion of becoming a producer could equally be demeaning to the soul of a person, a nation and a world. Producer-ism must be liberated and redeemed from the hands, strategies and venomous vexes of free trade and capitalism, which seeks to further disenfranchise the already disenfranchised.

The wisdom of Minister Johns is immersed in a notion of consciousness and pedagogy that speaks from, with and in struggle. The producer-ism that Minister Johns encouraged was not to aid the creation of another status quo. Instead it was for people to rise in their consciousness and take a hold of their worth. People were to be liberated from the vicious cycle of systemic oppression, their personal –communal - mental -physical oppression, for the purposes of producing a community of equity, fairness and justice.

In my local community Lenasia, Lenasia South and the broader community of southern townships of Johannesburg- South Africa, townships like Soweto, Eldorado Park, Ennerdale and Orange Farm, there are people living in dire strait circumstances. Right here in the Twin Cities, my community and home away from home, there are people who are equally trapped in troublesome economic times, and house foreclosures. As I walked through the streets of Frog Town in Saint Paul Minnesota, I saw several houses with these bold bright yellow notices stuck on the doors. People have been displaced from their homes and are clearly feeling the pinch, pain and disparity of tumultuous economic times.

The social reality of poverty and further complexity offered by a faltering economy has been prevalent in the U.S.A and the Globe long before the crash on Wall Street. Long before major insurance companies and fortune 500 companies started feeling the pressure of systems they are part of and systems they propel, economic pressure was the plight of people whom privileged people and power based systems would rather deny. There is a need therefore, for power structures and people who have power to invest their time and effort in bringing development and aid to people and communities steeped in globally trying times, and chaotic circumstances.

President Obama has had to defend himself, as he grapples with and attempts to bring resolve to the maze of social factors facing the U.S.A. It may be politically nonstrategic for Obama to go about multiple projects which may result in the lack of targeted success. Being a successful leader is important, especially when success is concerned with pleasing systems of power and having the popular vote. But Obama may be on a mystical path of engagement that may not make sense or fit the arena of logical and strategic thinking. Obama may be about the work of being true to his consciousness, and mindset that has been informed from, with and in the context of struggle. Obama could choose to anchor his ideology, and continue his political leadership and theology in pedagogy of the disenfranchised and oppressed.

However, as much as I am hopeful of the Obama regime I am equally critical of power based systems and people who have the power to bring positive social change. For persons who have come into power have also been noted to fall into the trap of being co-opted into the power frameworks, this ultimately diminishes their advocacy and activism for positive social change.

It is therefore of vital importance for people to emancipate their minds, their social existence and humanity from an unhealthy dependency and consumerism mode. People and communities must come together and pool together their resources to ensure that more families are not dislocated from their homes. People must claim their humanity and get creative with that which they have. It may require planting vegetables instead of purchasing them at the store. It may require communal living instead of individualized existence.

According to Howard Thurman Jesus recognized with authentic realism that anyone who permits another to determine the quality of his or her inner life gives into the hands of the other the keys to his or her destiny. The hope of the poor and the disenfranchised is anchored in their ability to believe in their worth, and to live life in human dignity even though their economic standing is not sound. This hope is provided in the basic fact that Christianity was born in the mind of Jesus, a Jewish teacher and thinker as a technique of survival for the oppressed (Thurman, A Strange Freedom, 1998, pg. 143). Jesus motivated people to break through the psychological oppression and free their minds, to determine their own destiny. Impoverished communities must rise up in the midst of their poverty and draw strength from each other, without the dependence on investment hand-me-downs from power based political systems and haughty people.

It is therefore possible for me to acknowledge my struggles, my failures, and downfalls, but rise in the midst of my troublesome circumstances and social settings. It is therefore possible for me to live with hope and a spirit of empowerment, without the power of position and economic enfranchisement. In my weakness I am strong. In my struggle I am blessed. I can live a life of activism and advocacy challenging systemic injustices. I can mobilize positive social change, and refuse to sell out on my rooted values and core faith inspired ideals. I can act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God, for there is power in collective, community consciousness and pedagogy of power of the powerless!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Poem: birthday wish for my dear wifie:)

Greetings my beautiful wifie , my darling baby girl Mahalia Khanya, my wonderful baby boy SJ on the way,
and dear family and friends!

Today marks a most ordained day
as Merrishia soaks in the land of her birth -
South Africa
It is a day that God had intended
The 11th of March 1978
It is the birthday of my best friend,
my love, my mentor, and queen
my fine wifie, Merrishia Singh-Naicker

I tell you my Merrishia, ooh she make me quiver
she get my whole mind-soul-heart and liver:)
Yes I tell you - she get me to deliver
on serving God in every endeavour

I have waivered and swayed - yes I have sometime
but Merrishia has always had a word of encouragement right on time
She stepped out with me in living faith
as we pursued our call and God ordained fate

Merrishia has been, is and will forever be
my love, my friend, and voice of guidance for eternity
I know you will join with me in glorious song
singing a birthday wish so loud and strong
Blessings Merrishia, my wife-
your mother, your daughter, your sister, aunty, cousin, friend and niece-
Merrishia child of God who has been anointed and appointed to seize-
a moment to moment walk and talk of faith, hope, love and amazing grace
while acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly in God's embrace

I miss my wifie while she is away with all of our peoples in South Africa our home
and hear I am missing her, my daughter - son on the way- feeling at times quite alone
But in this time of knowing and feeling Merrishia's absence
I express publically- my love and desire for my prophetic queens presence
So my dear wifie enjoy your birthday amongst our community and family
know I love you Merrishia from your head down to your toes- no I'm not acting silly:)
I am just thankful and and grateful for you in my life
your love for our family, friends and community-
heppy heppy birfday- my wifie!!!!!!!!

Your hubbie:)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On a reconciliation journey from plurality to solidarity! - by Seth Naicker

People are on a journey when it comes to faith. Some admit to being on a journey, while there are those who state they have arrived. In my journey of faith or to faith, the notion of arriving at a solid base is more a myth than a reality. Values or guiding principles remain constant, but even these platforms are dynamic and not static, for they grow and develop as one journeys on.

“Slumdog Millionaire”, a Hollywood hit presents a journey of a central Character Jamal. Jamal is depicted as having his beginnings in the Slums of Mumbai and goes on to become a millionaire. One specific scene caught my attention, when violence broke out resulting in the death of Jamal’s mother. The scene captured violence fueled by religious factions, where Hindus attacked Muslims.

In making mention of this scene it is not intended to propel a villain and victim scenario related to religious intolerance. It is however intended to point out a theme of religious rivalry, which results in human rights abuses. Jamal is interrogated because he is suspected of cheating on the show “Who wants to be a millionaire?”. During the interrogation he reflects on the death of his mother. Jamal explains that if it were not for Rama and Allah, he would still have a mother.

We are living in a world of historic battles fought in the course of pursuing faith. The role of religion is clearly noted in the crusades, slavery, colonialism, Nazism, Apartheid, and the Spanish conquests. Let me not fail to mention the ongoing strife between Israel and Palestine, or the militants of Sudan-Dafur region, who continue carrying out acts of genocide. Our world continues to be plagued by numerous global religious-ethnic factions. The work and ministry of reconciliation must encourage people to see religious warring as a major contributor to violence, and continued human rights violations in our 21st century world.

On Sunday morning the 8th of July, 2007 I was ordained at my local church in Johannesburg, South Africa. Pastor Russel Abrahams my local pastor since age fifteen officiated the ordination service. The ordination service symbolically confirmed the prayers of my grandmother who fervently committed me as her grand child to God. It also presented an affirmation to my parents, and community for their support in allowing me to serve the work of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ and expressing God’s love to the world.

Following the ordination prayer of commitment and commissioning, I delivered my ordination response. My response was then followed by a keynote address delivered by my friend and mentor Ismail Vadi. Ismail is a member of government and comrade within the African National Congress. More especially Ismail is a committed Muslim. I am grateful to God for an ordination service that brought one of Muslim faith to speak on behalf of one of Christian faith. Family members and friends are sometimes critical of my inter-religious work. On this morning however, one amongst many expressed that it was quite an experience to witness the presence of God as realized through the words from a religious other.

Let us consider the words of Chung Hyun Kyung who reflects upon and advocates for Asian women theology as birthed in struggle for liberation. Kyung explains the need for moving from religious plurality to religious solidarity. Kyung states: “My third hope for the future of Asian women’s theology is that it go beyond accepting religious pluralism through interreligious dialogue toward religious solidarity and also toward revolutionary praxis in the people’s struggle for liberation.”

Kyung recognizes the importance of plurality in fighting fascist, imperialist mentality that fosters exclusivity of one’s own claim truth. Acceptance of plurality has the potential to ease the chaos in an environment of diverse manifestations of the divine but plurality is not enough! Asian women have to go beyond plurality toward solidarity if they are to join in the struggle for the liberation of all Asian women. Kyung accuses plurality of being lazy and irresponsible when it cannot mobilize women from diverse backgrounds toward common projects that will defy historical systems of injustice.

Drawing from the inspiring theology of Asian women as advocated by C.H. Kyung, I am convinced that the work and ministry of reconciliation, and the notion of a contextual reconciliation theology, calls people to consider moving from plurality to solidarity. For it is in this moving from plurality toward solidarity that the- I and the- other, enter into a sacred space of commonality. In the sacred space we understand that we are different, but our difference cannot divide us in pursuing the liberating message of the good news.

C.H. Kyung, The contribution and the future of Asian women’s theology, In Struggle to be the sun again: Introducing Asian women’s theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1990), 112-113.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will the 11th of February mark authentic change? -by Seth Naicker

The 11th of February 1990, marked the wondrous day Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released from prison. South Africa and the world rejoiced at the site of seeing President Mandela free after 27years of imprisonment, free to grace his fellow comrades, nation and global society with what commonly became recognized as “Madiba Magic”. President Mandela had an aura about him that spoke of promise and convinced one of a bright future and hope for the South African nation.
On Wednesday, the 11th of February, 2009 Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe. One must question if this 11th of February, 2009 in Zimbabwe is to be considered as promising as the 11th of February 1990.
Morgan Tsvangirai is considered to be a champion of the people, and has propelled the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a manner that has remained true to the cry of the oppressed and disenfranchised people of Zimbabwe. But as I reflect on this moment I am skeptic of the way in which change has presented itself. I believe that a peaceful and diplomatic path has been chosen to appeal to the plight of the people, who have and continue to face dire circumstances. It must be considered that Robert Mugabe’s actions are self serving, and one should wonder as to the authenticity of this shared power scenario.
People of Zimbabwe have faced human rights abuses and atrocities that would make one shudder. The militant acts of Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) under the leadership of Robert Mugabe and his cronies, as it relates to people being tortured and stripped of their every human dignity, must not be forgotten. It is my hope that Robert Mugabe will come face to face with his consciousness, where one who was once hailed freedom fighter and liberator of people, some where along his journey lost sight of his call to serve, protect and lead with integrity, and turned into a devious and deadly dictator.
President of South Africa Kgaleme Motlanthe, has pointed out that this result of shared power serves to vindicate and prove that the path South African leadership chose in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis, was the right path. I dare to differ, for in my understanding South African leadership chose a silent diplomacy, standing back without pressurizing Robert Mugabe, or holding him to account for the human rights abuses, which have transpired thus far. The sharing of power as has been initiated by the installation of Morgan Tsvangirai, is at the very least a step in the right direction, but I believe that our South African government and leadership could have, and should have played a much more directive role in ensuring that Robert Mugabe felt the heat and the ridicule for his vile and villainous ways.
It seems that Robert Mugabe will never come to trial or have to account for his actions of dehumanizing his own people. It is my prayer that Morgan Tsvangirai will be able to do the work of bringing economic stability, and security to Zimbabwe, in the midst of having to deal with a global community and global leadership who by and large are critical and distrust the current shared power scenario. There have been reports by MDC comrades, stating their dissatisfaction at the sharing of power, and some who believe that this is all a charade. Ultimately for many, Robert Mugabe must relinquish his power, stand down and stand trial, for true justice, freedom and democracy to be realized.
It is my hope and prayer that the 11th of February, 2009 for Zimbabwe will truly yield a future where people will testify of the beginning of a new day of justice, hope and positive change. May we continue to uphold in our prayer, thoughts and actions the plight of the Zimbabwean people.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Freedom's Lament -by Seth Naicker

Freedom is on my mind. In the case of South Africa political freedom was achieved almost 15 years ago, a freedom from the heresy of Apartheid. A decade and half has come and gone and for many South Africans “freedom” is still a hope and dream for tomorrow. For while political freedom we as a South African nation can claim, economic freedom is still a dream to gain.

South Africa together with the world on the 27th of April 1994, witnessed a democratic vote that brought the installation of a people’s government and the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. The African National Congress as the ruling political party together with a government of national unity was contracted by the people of South Africa to deliver a future of equality and freedom for all people of our land.

Today 15 years later, many people in South Africa are restless and discouraged by the workings of a political system within a post Apartheid era that has not delivered the people’s contract. The African National Congress, the party I call my political home, has taken enormous critique for promising a freedom 15 years ago, which has only materialized in middle to upper class silos. For it is in the terminology of Howard Thurman, “the people with their backs against the wall”, who have bore the burdens of unrealized promises.

Like the U.S.A, South Africa -has been there- seen it- and got the t-shirt- of seeing the first person Black President of the land. In reflection of South Africa’s journey, pursuit of authentic change must go beyond the window dressing of race or ethnicity, not to disregard the social construct and reality, and importance of such symbolic moments, but to press on to the core ideals of systems that must change for a more perfected freedom to be engaged.

Freedom’s lament!!!!!!!!

A lyrical line “Freedom is coming tomorrow” fills my minds arena
from a song on the soundtrack of a movie called Sarafina
Depicting a freedom that would come to the people
of South Africa, but tomorrow!

Freedom will come tomorrow
Freedom from the sorrow
The sorrow of living in the margins
A painful, petrifying, pressurized
Purposeless and subhuman existence

The tomorrow for South Africa came
Not in the expected tomorrow time frame
But 48 years of a system of Apartheid had to be endured
Until the Mother of all tomorrow’s came to be secured!

It came not once or twice, but thrice in my account!!
Nelson Mandela’s release in February 11th 1990, once!
First democratic election April 27th 1994, twice!
The Inauguration of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela May 10th 1994, thrice!
Because Freedom: you are once, twice , three times a lady!!!!
And I always love you!!!!!!

Freedom though has some how only been realized
as a romanticized figment of one’s imagination
For the Freedom that tomorrow brought in the South African situation
not once or twice, but thrice was found to be flawed!
As a Freedom that came in the morrow
Which stopped short of economic freedom
Only to promise the relief from political sorrow

Now from South Africa to the rest of the world
What is freedom from the sorrow?
The sorrow of injustice, oppression, and prejudice
Concerning religion race/ethnicity,
class, gender/sexual oriented plurality
What is freedom from the sorrow?
When I can say that I am free
Only to beg-steal or borrow

Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is coming tomorrow
Not a freedom of hypocrisy
Not at all!
It is a freedom that is driven by those
who know the pain of living with their back against the wall
those who have a mind and an understanding of solidarity to call
Call for justice and equality
Call for Freedom and a respect of all
Creation and people’s humanity

Freedom Freedom Freedom Freedom
Is coming tomorrow
It is all of our work to work for Freedom
In its complexity
Working for Freedom in the morrow
That will be political, economic
And utterly and totally holistic!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama putting words into action (by Seth Naicker)

For millions in the U.S.A. and hundreds of millions throughout the world, the much anticipated inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has come and gone. For some this inauguration is a dream come true and promises a hope of a better future, while for others there is still great doubt and skepticism. There maybe those who are even dismally disappointed, but what ever the case and where ever people find their political landings it is clear that the 21st century has witnessed a majestic, miraculous and mystical moment. It is in many ways a global moment of hope and the dawn of a new day in world leadership and politics.

Obama (2006) explains,
“I believe a stronger sense of empathy would tilt the balance of our current politics in favor of those people who are struggling in this society. After all, if they are like us, then their struggles are our own. If we fail to help, we diminish ourselves [some lines further] No one is exempt from the call to find common ground. Of course, in the end a sense of mutual understanding isn’t enough. After all, talk is cheap; like any value, empathy must be acted upon” (The audacity of hope,2006, pg. 68).

Obama in his earliest remarks as president has stressed the need for diplomacy and development in the forefront of U.S. foreign policy to ensure success of reshaping and rejuvenating U.S.A.’s global image. Obama is taking the lead in displaying empathy by bringing an end to torture tactics as a means to pursue U.S. ideals. Obama has stated clearly that U.S. values must match their ideals. From rhetoric and actions, one can affirm that President Obama is enacting empathy and not just allowing it to be a case of “more was said than done”.

In a post Obama inauguration era, “Sekunjalo”(now is the time- for leaders and people to get engaged in moving from justice pursuit with their lips, to justice pursuit with their hands and feet. Now is the time for our values, morals and ideals to be immersed in rolling waters and mighty streams of empathy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reached back to the prophetic words of Amos as referenced during his prophetic projection of “I have a dream". Ling told of a day that in some ways was realized by the world on January 20th, 2009. Amos 5:24 as recorded by The Message Bible states, “Do you know what I want? I want justice--oceans of it. I want fairness--rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want.”

The voice of Amos and the voice of Rev. Dr. M.L.K. Jr. spoke truth to power in their time and they speak truth to the power today. In a world where developed countries live in luxury while people in developing countries are stricken with chronic poverty-Sekunjalo- for oceans of justice and rivers of fairness. In a world where the gap between the rich and the poor is further increasing-Sekunjalo- for empathy that is followed up with action to right the wrongs. -Sekunjalo- for securing human rights and equitable living conditions for all people. May the hope for and pursuit of change as propelled by President Obama, remain consistent as well as provide a new stimulus, which will propel leaders and people all over the world to enact empathy, diplomacy, justice, and peace.