2009 is ‘n Opwindende Konferensiejaar!

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Konferensies

Communitas beplan baie interessante konferensies vir volgende jaar. Daarmee saam vier die Fakulteit Teologie op Stellenbosch hulle 150ste bestaansjaar. Vir jou gerief het ons die inligting van die  konferensies bymekaar gesit sodat jy dit kan aanteken op jou dagboek. Al hierdie konferensies tel vir VBO krediete. Gaan na Dagboek om meer inligting oor die konferensies te kry.
 
  • 17-18 Februarie Om met God te leef – Gebedskonferensie

’n Gebedskonferensie vir geestelike leiers en predikante. Wat wil ons bereik? Ons wil graag dat leiers weer besef hoe onontbeerlik ’n ryk gebedslewe en Coram Deo lewenstyl voor die Here is. Die konferensie is die begin van ’n meer omvattende projek om ‘n gebedskultuur by leraars, leiers en gemeentes te vestig. By die konferensie is daar so 8 ankersprekers; en 14-16 wegbreeksessies. Die ankersprekers se doel is om ‘n breë spektrum (wat al die spiritualiteitstipes verteenwoordig) oorsig te gee en mense te motiveer. Die doel is om ‘n energie los te maak oor gebed. Ons wil ons gemeente leraars en leiers weer aan die bid kry!! Dis die begin van’n totale gesindheidsverandering om ’n Coram Deo lewenstyl aan te leer.  Lees ook die blog Gebed

  • 18-20 Maart: Geskiedenis Teologie Stellenbosch 150+ – Fakulteit Teologie Stellenbosch


  • 18-20 Mei Wat kan ons uit die Handelinge-boek leer oor Missionêre Gemeentewees?

* Wat is die aard van die “Christelike identiteit” in Handelinge – nie alleen die aard van die uitbeelding van identiteit nie, maar waarmee dit in verband staan en die aard van sodanige verband(e)? * Wat kan ons leer oor die eenheid en verskeidenheid in die kerk uit Handelinge? * Hoe moet ons dink oor die teenwoordigheid van Christus en van die Gees in die werk van die vroeë Kerk? * Waarin sou die spesifiek missionêre of missionale aspekte van Handelinge geleë wees? * Wat sou belangrike tekste en temas wees in hierdie verband?

  • 9-10 Junie Cedarberg konferensie vir plattelandse geestelike leiers – Citrusdal

Die plaaslike VGK en NG gemeentes van Citrusdal het in 2008 die eerste baie suksesvolle konferensie aangebied vir plattelandse geestelike leiers.  In Junie 2009 tree daar weer sprekers op in die oggende en in die middae is daar werkswinkels aangebied deur leiers uit die platteland. Die aand kuier ons heerlik saam en geniet die plattelandse gasvryheid van die Goue Vallei.

  • 25-26 Augustus Verantwoordelike Vernuwing – Stellenberg

Stellenberg en SA Gestig gemeente bied vir die 8ste keer saam met Communitas hierdie leierskonfensie aan.  Die fokus is eenvoudig: Maak ‘n verskil in jou gemeenskap. Ons gaan die mees kommerwekkende samelewingsuitdagings aanpak en saam dink oor konkrete maniere waarop gemeenteleiers ‘n verskil kan maak.

  • 30 Augustus – 2 September  Internasionale Calvyn gedenklesing – Fakulteit Teologie Stellenbosch


  • 9-11 November: 5 Jaar van Gestuurdheid

Helderberg Somerset-Wes/t

 Vennote wat die konferensie help moontlik maak aanbied:

SAVGG, Helderberg gemeente, Die M Th program in Missionale Transformasie van Fakulteit Teologie Universiteit van Stellenbosch, CLF en die Nasionale Navorsingstigting befondsde navorsingsprojek oor rituele en sosiale kapitaal.

 ʼn Unieke geleentheid

Ons nooi u graag ʼn unieke konferensie.

Die Suider Afrikaanse Vennootskap vir Gestuurde Gemeentes (SAVGG) het 5 jaar gelede tot stand gekom en sedertdien het ongeveer 200 gemeentes van ʼn verskeidenheid van denominasies en kontekste aan die geloofsonderskeidende reis begin deelneem. Baie ander gemeentes in ons konteks het begin om te eksperimenteer en te innoveer om vanuit ʼn gestuurde roeping te leef. Vir die eerste keer gaan gemeentes uit al die verskillende streke bymekaar kom om na mekaar se verhale te luister.

Na 5 jaar het die tyd nou aangebreek om na te dink en te onderskei oor die pad wat die Here met ons gekom het.  Geloofsonderskeidend gaan ons verhale vertel, ons innoverings met mekaar deel en ʼn gesamentlik soek na die pad vorentoe as gestuurdes in Suider Afrika.

Dit is ook ʼn geleentheid om dankie te sê en waardering uit te spreek vir die werk van Prof Pat Keifert. Prof Keifert is ons eregas en ʼn manier waarop ons vir hom dankie sê vir die pioniers werk wat hy in Suider Afrika gedoen het om die gestuurde visie op grondvlak in gemeentes te vestig.

Deelnemers aan die konferensie kan verwag om…

·        verhale uit die hede en die verlede van gemeente en leiers te hoor wat ons gestuurde verbeelding sal verryk,

·        blootgestel te word aan gestuurde innoverings wat gemeentes self ontwerp om in geloofsonderskeiding nuwe geloofsgemeenskap te help skep

·        ons gaan saam ontdek hoe die Here reeds besig is om  gemeentes beweging te bring in ons konteks

·        deelneem aan ʼn geloofsonderskeidende gesprekke oor hoe en waar die Drie-enige God besig is om nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe te vestig in ons konteks

Konferensie met ʼn deelnemende styl

·        die hoofsprekers van die konferensie gaan gemeentes en gemeente-leiers wees. Ons gaan rustig en diep na mekaar luister en die Here om so by mekaar te leer waar die Here deurbrake na gestuurdheid aan ons as ʼn geskenk gee.

·         Die Navorsingspan van die Vennootskap het vooraf na talle gemeentes se verhale geluister en nuwe ontdekkings gemaak oor die unieke manier waarop die gestuurde roeping in Suider Afrika gestalte kry. Die Navorsingspan gaan uit hierdie verhale vir die eerste keer poog om die patrone vir Gestuurde Gehoorsaamheid in Suider Afrika te identifiseer.

·        Ons gaan saam poog om raak te sien hoe die Gees besig is om gemeentes te transformeer in ons konteks.

·        Ons gaan saam wandel in Lukas 24 die verhaal van die Emmaus gangers en

·        ʼn uitgelese groep van buitestaanders gaan luister na ons verhale en hulle indrukke met ons deel.

 

 

 


Geloofsonderskeiding van fokus op wat God onder ons aan die doen is in Suider Afrika

Waarnemings wat die navorsingspan reeds gemaak het is dat …

·       Daar is ʼn nuwe taal onder  ons gebore is wat ons nuut help dink en praat en doen het oor God, gemeentes, onsself maar veral die gemeenskappe waarbinne ons leef.

·       Die Here het leiers geleer om op verskillende maniere mag af te lê en die septer neer te sit

·       Ons het geleer dat ons planne soepel genoeg moet wees sodat ons kan leef binne die onvoorspelbare bewegings van die Gees

·       Leiers begin al hoe meer leer om tyd te maak vir geloofsdissiplines om oop te wees vir die verrassende manier waarop God werk

Hoe het die navorsing ons persoonlik geraak?

·         Dit is doodgewoon een van my aangename bedienings-ervarings en iets wat my energie en hoop vir die pad vorentoe gee!

·         En ek voel soos Kleopas se onbekende, naamlose vriend(in) wat so gelukkig was om met julle te kon saamloop en saam te ervaar hoe ons in die ernstige gesprekke om sin te maak uit al die gebeure, sommer net so skielik verras word (herhaaldelik!) deur Jesus wat regtig opgestaan het en leef….!

·        Ek het ook meer as ooit besef hoe Hy in ons land pynlike werklikhede in gulde geleenthede omskep; waargeneem dat Hy stilweg, skaars sigbaar, maar kragtig in gemeentes werk om sy kerk te vernuwe en sy koninkryk te bou in ons verwarde tyd en wêreld; watter verrassende geskenke Hy uitdeel wat ons op die reis kan gebruik; hoe Hy roep en stuur en gewillig maak om dié getuienis met ons geloofsgemeenskappe te gaan deel.

·        Ek voel geseënd, of dinge meer in plek geval het in my kop en gemoed, maar meer nog,  ek voel ge-energeer deur die nuwe insigte wat na vore gekom het.- my hart het warm geword!  Dankie aan elkeen van julle se bereidheid om saam te wandel in Lukas 24 en in die lewens van die gemeentes saam met wie ons op reis is.

·        Ek Beskou dit ook as een van my vormende ervarings. 

Konferensie Program:

Maandag 9 November

09:00     Registrasie en koffie

10:00     Verwelkoming en Opening Andrew Esterhuizen (Voorsitter SAVGG)

10:30     Erediens van lofprysing, wandel in die woord en nagmaal

11:30     Die ontvouing van die Gestuurde Roeping in Suider Afrika: Ons pad tot hier

                (Inleier Frederick Marais)

13:00     Middagete

14:00     Deurbrake na gestuurdheid- ons verdeel in kleiner groepe om na verhale van gemeentes te luister

                (ons hoop om aan +- 20 gemeentes geleentheid te gee om hulle verhale te vertel in kort sessies van 15 minute)

15:30     Koffie

16:00     Gesamentlike Geloofsonderskeiding: Hoe gee die Here deurbrake na gestuurdheid in gemeentes

17:30     Afsluiting : Lukas 24             

Dinsdag 10 November

08:30     Koffie

09:00     Erediens van lofprysing, wandel in die woord en nagmaal

                Om die Bybel as gestuurdes te lees (Inleier Marius Nel)

                Om te plons of nie te plons nie- wanneer gemeentes oor hulle grense

                beweeg (Inleier Danie Mouton)

13:00     Middagete

14:00     Gestuurde Innoverings: Ons verdeel in kleiner groepe en gemeentes kry geleentheid om ons bekend te stel aan eie innoverings ( ons hoop om aan +- 20 gemeentes geleentheid te gee om in kort 15min sessies bekendstellings te doen)

15:30     Koffie

16:00     Gesamentlike geloofsonderskeiding: Hoe is die Here besig om ons gemeentes te transformeer met nuwe bedieningspraktyke?

17:30     Afsluiting

Woensdag 11 November

08:30     Koffie

09:00     Die gestuurde roeping het my op ‘n persoonlike reis van transformasie  geneem: (Inleiers Theo Marais en Eben Morries)

10:00     Terugvoer van luisterspan ( Pat Keifert, Klippies Kritzinger, Xolile Simon en Japhet Ndhlovu)

11:00     Tee

11:30     Geloofsonderskeiding

12:15     Afsluitingsdiens Prof Pat Keifert

13h00    Verdaag


Uitnodiging

Ons nooi graag gemeenteleiers, predikante en navorsers in gemeentestudies uit na hierdie unieke geleentheid van Wandel in die Woord, refleksie, geloofsonderskeiding en viering. Ons glo die Drie-enige God is besig om in ons konteks unieke dinge te doen en dat dit hoog tyd is dat ons aandag gee aan wat God besig is om te doen sodat ons kan deelneem aan wat God reeds besig is om te doen.

Konferensiefooi: R300-00 (sluit ʼn spesiale konferensiejoernaal, koffie/tee, verversings en middagetes in)

Inskrywings en registrasie: Ansoné du Toit ( (021) 851 5582 Ÿ 9 086 606 3050 Ÿ ansone@nghelder.co.za

Volledige inligting is beskikbaar by  Divine Robertson of Frederick Marais ( 021-808 3265 Ÿ dr@sun.ac.za Ÿ www.communitas.co.za

 

Seed Facilitative Leadership Program

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Kursusse

Seed Facilitative Leadership Program

(Formerly know as CFN)

THE CORE OF THE TRAINING:  LEARNING TO DEAL WITH COMMUNITY AND POWER

Southern Africa is going through a time of radical transformation. Since the first countries in our region became independent some 40 years ago, our communities lived in the dynamics of a transition from colonial powers to liberation powers. Currently we are  moving into the post liberation or democratisation era. No community could hide from the impact of these transformations. We have all been “pushed through the pain”, and we know that radical transformation will be part of our experience in Southern Africa for time to come.

The Seed Training Trust, formerly know as CFN, has build local leaders capacity to facilitate these changes over the past decade. From working with people, groups and organisations throughout Southern Africa but also in the rest of our continent, Seed trainers have learned that two sets of dynamics or polarities are always at work in human systems:

  • The first set of polarities relates to the relational nature of living and working together.  Africans often refer to this reality as Ubuntu.
  • The second set of polarities relates to the ways in which people perceive of and deal with power.

There are two poles in the Relational polarity that we want to highlight in this course:

Me ————————————————————————————We

  • The importance for leaders and facilitators to be self-defined and
  • The capacity of leaders and facilitators to participate in community.

The  two poles fo the Power polarity to which we need to pay attention:

Rules/Agreements————————————————————————-Vision/values

  • The ability of leaders and facilitators to understand and guide people in the imagining of their future and values that guides them. For Southern Africans the Southern Cross symbolise our compass in life.
  • The ability of leaders and facilitators to understand and manage concrete agreements and contracts within themselves as well as amongst others.  In Southern Africa we are use to Indaba-negotiating and debate before we come to a agreement.

Relations and Power hang intrinsically together, and in the interplay between these two polarities is the space where change takes place. This space is not linear but systemic of nature. Facilitative leaders have the capacity to give people perspective on where they are on pace and how they can discover a next step on their journey.

Our approach right through the training is:

  • To discover theoretically and experientially the significance of the role that community(relations)  and power play in human systems and
  • To provide perspectives and tools that will enable a leader or facilitator to identify and work with the dynamics related to community and power.

To get us started we’ll draw examples of these dynamics from our timeline and case studies.

If you are interested to attend a program, contact Divine at dr@sun.ac.za 021-8083265 or have a look at our Dagboek

Fasiliterende Leierskap Vaardighede: Gevorderd

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Kursusse

In hierdie kursus word predikante en gemeenteleiers gevorderde fasiliteringsvaardighede aangeleer. Fasiliteringstegnieke en vaardighede word in diepte behandel en in-geoefen.Hierdie kursus is vir leiers wat fasiliterende leierskap in hulle eie gemeente of in ander gemeentes as fasiliteerders wil be-oefen. Hierdie kursus is ontwikkel deur CFN, die ekumeniese netwerk vir Gemeentefasiliteerders.
Kontak Divine Robertson by 021-808 3265 of  dr@sun.ac.za om uit te vind wanneer die kursus weer aangebied word of gaan na Dagboek op die webblad.

Fasiliterende Leierskap

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Kursusse

In hierdie kursus word predikante en gemeenteleiers se vaardigheid om leiding te gee ten opsigte van prosesse van verandering in die gemeente ontwikkel. Die kursusgangers word blootgestel aan lense wat hulle help om die dinamika in die gemeente te verstaan.Hierdie lense sluit oa sistemiese-, transformasie-, narratiewe- en konflikhanterings-lense in.

Tydens die kursus oefening leiers die vaardighede in om leierskap vir die praktiese gemeentesituasie te ontwikkel.

Die kursus is saam met die CFN-netwerk ontwikkel. Gaan na Dagboek op die webblad of kontakpersoon Divine Robertson by 021-808 3265 of dr@sun.ac.za vir meer besonderhede

Fundamentele orientasie vir die volgende generasie

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Konferensies

Opening van 2e dag by Verantwoordelike Vernuwing
Oorhoofse tema: ’n Kerk met ’n volgende geslag
27 Augustus 2008
Johan Botha

Tema: Fundamentele oriëntasie vir die volgende generasie

Wat kan ons vandag sê en doen wat vir môre se geslag nog betekenis sal hê?
Wat het ons generasie om vir more se generasie te sê, aan te gee, voor te stel?
As ek en jy net een keer kan praat, net een keer kan beklemtoon? Wat sal dit wees?

Dis 1952/3. Ek is 2 en ’n half jaar oud; presies so oud soos my kleindogter vandag is.
Die Sending Konferensie van die kerk wêreldwyd vind plaas te Willingen, in Duitsland, vir die 1ste maal sedert die WRK tot stand gekom het in 1948.
Europa is steeds grootliks  in puin  na WO 2 in 1945 geëindig het.
In 1910 was daar baie groot optimisme by die Sendingkonferensie in Edinburgh Skotland en hulle was oortuig “die evangelisasie van die wêreld in dié generasie was haalbaar.
Nou egter is dit 2 wêreldoorloë later.
Die ganse wêreldgemeenskap is diep geskok, verskrik.
Hulle lewens en wêreldbeskouing is aan flarde.
Waar  is daar troos?
Waar is daar hoop?
Waar is daar uitsig?
Wat het ons vir nou en vir môre te sê?
Hoe kan ons weer getrou word en wees?
Wat het ons om nou te getuig?
Waaraan (aan wat, aan Wie) kan en moet ons mense vandag en môre fundamenteel orienteer?, was by Willingen die eintlike  vraag.

Dis vandag weer dié wesenlike vraag!
By Willengen kies die konferensie toe Hebreërs 3:1 as Bybelstudie teks. Hulle het ver gaan haal en nagedink oor die gedagtes van ou geloofsvaders soos Clemens, Romans, Ignatius en Polikarpus oor hierdie teks.  As 33 jarige ontdek ek dié teks en die teologiese nadenke daaroor in 1983 terwyl ek deur prof Johannes Verkuyl se handboek oor Evangelistiek lees met die oog op voorbereiding vir ’n Getuienisaksie naweek te Swellendam by die NGSK, waarna verteenwoordigers van die dorp se gemeentes ook genooi was.

Ek ontdek die betekenis van hierdie ryk teks daardie naweek vir die eerste maal en ek dink sedertdien gereeld weer daaroor na. Die teks beklemtoon…

(a)    die ‘ons’, die familie, broers/susters wat vir die Here afgesonder is.
    Afgesonder (Heilig ni 1953 vertaling) beteken “in die wêreld maar anders” (só afgesonder); anders maar uitstaande/ sigbaar / skitterend.
Nie individualisties elkeen op ons eie nie; nie ter wille van ons eie self nie; nie om elkeen op ons eie naeltjie te konsentreer nie.
Máár saam – geel, pienk, blou, swart, wit, rooi, bruin almal saam, uitgekies uit die ganse menslike geslag (HK & Belhar).

(b)    die noodsaak om met insig te kyk na Jesus
    Hou Hom voor oë; Kyk na Hom met insig; Fokus op Jesus.
    Hy is die inhoud van die geloof wat ons bely.
    So bely ons belydenissskrifte ook:
    Bv. die HK 1 “ My enigste troos in lewe en in sterwe, is Jesus…
    Bv. die Belydenis van Belhar se slotwoorde: Jesus is die Heer.
Hy, Jesus, is die inhoud van ons geloofsbelydenis, van ons daaglikse Christelike lewe!

(c)    Hy is Apostel, verteenwoordiger van God by ons! Ambassadeur – God met ons     (Immanuel)  “aan my is gegee alle mag in hemel en op aarde!”

    Hy is Hoëpriester – verteenwoordiger van ons almal by God.
    (Nou, terwyl ons hier saam is, Hebr 7:25)!
    Daars’s ‘n mens in die hemel by God wat vir ons intree.
    Die Latyn vir hoëpriester is “pontifex”, wat brugbouer beteken.

    So is Jesus tegelyktydig “God by die mens en die mens by God’
    En dit beteken kruis; dit beteken tussen-in-staan; die Middelaar
    Dis ons Here se hemelse roeping. En daarvoor loof ons Hom!
Hy bring tegelykertyd die waarheid (geregtigheid) as God se bedoeling, wil én die liefdevolle omgee vir ons (ontferming), as ons troos én bemoediging!

(d)    Maar die kruks/ kern, die “punchline” van die teks is: Ons is deelgenote van sy roeping.

    Juis vir ons wat graag verbrokkel / uitmekaar haal / teenoor mekaar stel.
    Wat die apostel/ profeet wil wees los van die priester – of andersom.
Jy en ek word saam geroep – om God se wil te ken en bekend te maak.
    Én om God se liefde te ken en te leef / te demonstreer soos Jesus – tegelyktydig!
Dus om profete te wees/apostels van God se waarheid met die liefdesharte van priesters (wat vashou aan die ander); die waarheid in liefde  (Efes 4: 15), saam, onder mekaar, nou, vandag, môre, hier, oral in al ons verhoudinge.

By Willigen (1952) is die sending as’t ware (vanuit hierdie perspektief) weer in die wêreldkerk gebore en vir die volgende geslag aangegee op grond van Hebreërs 3:1.

Dié sendingkonferensie het besluit (in aansluiting by die vroeë kerkvaders Ignatius, Clemens, Romanus, Polikarpus): “Daar is geen deelgenootskap van Jesus sonder deelgenoodskap met sy sending nie.” En daarmee is nie bedoel die kruis om jou nek nie, maar die kruis wat sigbaar is in jou lewe, omdat jy soos hy tegelyk apostel en priester is, in navolging van Hom.

My en jou moed mag hiervoor opraak – máár wys die volgende generasie na Jesus, want Hy is die Begin en die Voleinder van ons geloof (Heb 12:1-3) en Hy bly gister en vandag en tot in ewigheid dieselfde (Hebr 13), en daarom is ons troos om Hom voor oë te hou.

Ek kan self nie regtig aan ’n beter fundamentele orientasie dink om vir my kleindogter en haar generasie aan te gee nie!

I am not a patriot

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Konferensies


Gedig van Mike van Graan (Bekende dramaturg en een van die sprekers van Verantwoordelike Vernuwing 2008)


Verantwoordelike Vernuwing


2008 


I am not a patriot
For pointing out naked emperors
For not joining the chorus of praise singers
For allegiance to country, not party


I am a traitor
For practising constitutional freedoms
For choosing the margins not mainstream
For saying what others but think


I am anti-transformation
For still sprouting non-racist mantra
For being happy with grey amidst black and white
For not being a brother to opportunism


I am a sell-out
For donating my poetry to resistance
For refusing to live in denial
For declining thirty pieces of silver


I am an apartheid spy
For not turning a blind eye to corruption
For loyalty to principle not expedience
For daring to uphold the law


I am an ultra-leftist
For supporting human rights in Zimbabwe
For believing HIV causes AIDS
For not being a millionaire socialist


I am a racist, a coconut
For breaking the silence with a whisper
For preferring thought to propaganda
For standing up amidst the prostrate
For repeated conspiracy with the questions what, how, why


I am a danger to society
For not martyring my mind
For not terminating my tongue
For not sacrificing my soul


I have been here before
But then as a communist
An atheist
A Marxist
Anarchist


And I am here again
As some other “ist”
This time, as artist


Labels they come and labels they do
Hard on the footsteps of those
Who defend new privilege with old morality
Who appropriate history for contemporary pillaging
Who now crucify the people on their electoral crosses


I have been here before and I shall be here again
For as long as the poor – like Truth – are with us.


Mike van Graan

A Church with the Next Generation

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Konferensies

A Church with the Next Generation
Mike van Graan
Verantwoordelike Vernuwing
Stellenberg
2008

Thank you for the honour of the invitation to address this conference.  “A church with the next generation”.  That’s the theme that we are addressing at this conference, and I’ve been asked to reflect on this theme from the perspective of someone engaged in the arts, and in theatre in particular.

I often think that there are similarities between the theatre and the church.

Both are public spaces.  People attend these institutions to achieve some form of enlightenment, some form of spiritual, emotional and psychological catharsis.  Both the church and the theatre are rooted in particular social orders, and are called to engage with those realities, to play a prophetic role and to challenge where necessary.

But I also wonder about whether the church and the theatre in contemporary South Africa – as opposed to the roles that they played during the apartheid era – I wonder whether the church and the theatre have sold out their historical mission, that they have conformed to the new social order; that they give people what they want, rather than what they or society need; that they have become silent and forsaken their prophetic voices for fear of alienating the new kings in power, for fear of losing access to the material and social fleshpots that the new order dangles to those who conform.

In our theatre schools, we are taught that art mirrors society, that theatre reflects our social order back to itself so that in the mirror of the arts, we may see and celebrate how beautiful we have become, or be disgusted by just how ugly we still are, so that we may do something about it.

It was with this theme in mind that I wrote a play, Mirror, Mirror as part of an artist residency at UCT’s Drama School for the final year acting students last year.  Here were young people about to enter the world as actors, as artists, and I wanted to challenge them to think about their role.  The world into which we graduated was much starker; the injustices much more apparent so that the choices that artists made about the kind of art that they would do, were clearer. Now, there are many more possibilities – the lure of film, television, commercial theatre, international stages – the lure of fame and possible fortune for artists.

The play was about South Africa, and it was aimed at a young audience.  I knew that young people don’t want to be force-fed about apartheid, so I wrote the play as a fairytale, set in the time of the Wizard of Id, where a queen ruled the peasants with an iron-fist.  The peasants eventually overthrow the queen, and when they rule, they very soon reflect the same tyrannical excesses, the greed, the corruption and the abuse of the poor, as Queen Amanda.

Young people loved the play.  It was a parable about the society in which they lived; without mentioning the words black or white, they knew exactly what it was about. And they saw their lives, their fears, their anxieties reflected in the play, and it allowed them – through the satirical laughter – to cathart, and to feel affirmed.

One of the lessons to be drawn from this is about the way in which we communicate to young people – the challenge is to be creative in order to connect with them, rather than repeat the same boring ways in which we’ve always spoken – often down – to them – as articulated on the vox pops.  How does the Church, the theatre, communicate with a generation on Mixit, You Tube, Myspace, Facebook, many having their own blogs?

Reach young people, and reach their parents.  One of the interesting things about the Mirror, Mirror cast is that it included the son of one of our ambassadors and the daughter of a serving Cabinet Minister, who came to see the play as a result.  He didn’t like what the play was saying, but conceded that it was a message that he and his ruling party colleagues needed to hear.  “And to think that I have to hear this from my own daughter,” he said, shaking his head.


 

How relevant are we – not just in content, but also in form – are we – the church and the theatre – to the next generation?

But before we talk about being with the next generation, we have to ask, how relevant are we to the lives of this generation?

After the start of negotiations in the early nineties, and particularly after the country’s first non-racial elections in 1994, there was a feeling of uncertainty among theatre-makers: “what are we going to make theatre about now that apartheid has gone?”  As if the election of a democratic government and the adoption of a constitution based on human rights were the magic wands by which we attained the promised land, with theatre no longer having to concern itself with macro-political dramas in which ordinary people have bit parts.  So now we can get on with our happy clappy rainbow national musicals, our proudly South African, flag-waving, carefully demographically quota’d theatre, and our praise poems about people having electricity, running water, houses…and access to beetroot and garlic.

I wonder if that’s been the same with the Church, that after the era of apartheid in which the Church was a leading institution in the struggle against apartheid, proclaiming apartheid to be a theological heresy, taking up human rights issues at the highest international levels, now – post-1994 – believed that the promised land has arrived, and that they no longer need to play a prophetic role.  Interestingly, when someone like Archbishop Tutu raises his voice about something, he is told by the current rulers to stick to matters of the cloth, just as he was told by the apartheid regime.

About two years ago, the internationally-renowned journalist – John Pilger – wrote an article in the Sunday Independent about how the ANC government had failed the people of our country.

The next week, the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel wrote an angry response, pointing out that in fact, 700 new health clinics had been built, there were 215 mobile clinics, the child support programme had 7 million new beneficiaries, water was provided to 10 million people, sanitation to more than 6 million, electricity to 16 million and more than 3 million hectares of land were redistributed to benefit about 700 000 households.”  This, then, is indeed a land of milk and honey, and there clearly is no longer a need for the prophetic voices of the church and the theatre.  And both can retreat from their broader social roles to concentrate on issues of personal morality. Or that would appear to be the case.

Yet, there were other statistics not mentioned by the Minister.  Like that 41% of our economically active population is unemployed.  That’s 8,5 million people, and, for all the complaints about affirmative action, 87,5% of unemployed people are black African men and women.  In the Western Cape, 80% of the unemployed are young people between the ages of 20-26.  Ours is the worst province for black African males with only two out of every 100 able to find employment.  Of the 11,6 million who have jobs, more than 60% earn R2500 or less per month.  After Brazil, South Africa has the highest rate of inequality, with 45% of our citizens – 18 million people – deemed to be poor.  In 2000, the poorest 50% of our country’s households received a mere 1,6% of the total income, down from 1,9% five years earlier. By contrast, 6% of our population captures 40% of the earned income.  The Sunday Times reported that we can boast at least 20 billionaires and that in the last few years we’ve created a few thousand new dollar millionaires.  Yet 50% of our country’s households get by on R20 per day, or R600 per month.

There’s a general claim – almost a boast – that South Africa is a Christian nation, implying the broad influence of the Church in the lives of people and in our public life.  Yet, poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor, are not just economic questions; they are profound questions of morality. For all the beating of our breasts about the immorality of apartheid, we have to question why we do not similarly beat our breasts about the immorality of poverty.

The crime statistics make absolute nonsense of the notion that we are a Christian country, that we have any sense of morality as a nation, or that the Church has any significant influence in the lives of our people and our society at large.  Fifty people are murdered each day.  Fifty human beings who have their God-given lives taken away from them.  144 women are raped – every single day. And that’s just the ones that are reported.  41% of rape victims are children, with 15% of all reported rapes being children under 11.  58 children are raped…every single day.  This is the next generation.  What does the Church being with them mean?  

In this morning’s newspaper, a headline screams out “80 children are serving time for murder” of whom five are girls.  In addition, there were 130 children awaiting trial on charges of murder.  That’s 210 children.  By the end of May, there were nearly 3500 children in custody for various crimes

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation blames an uncaring and crime-hardened society for the increase in crime levels, and said that children are being exposed to crime as a result of inadequate child-rearing and youth-socialisation facilities.  Where is the Church in all of this? 

Open the morning newspaper, and Sydnee Maree, a black athletics icon, is found guilty of fraud.  Open the evening newspaper, and a white sports icon, Garth le Roux, is found guilty of fraud.  More than 40 000 civil servants are on charges of corruption, of stealing from the poor.  Another report states that corruption within the medical profession is rife, with doctors fraudulently claiming medical aid payments for services they did not provide.  Greed is rife – across colour, across class, across gender.

And if that is not enough to make us weep, then weep for the 311 000 people who died of AIDS in 2004, comprising 44% of all deaths in the country that year.  What a way to celebrate 10 years of democracy!  More than 850 people dying each day.  Among 15-49 year-olds, it is estimated that 70% of all deaths may be attributed to AIDS.  The latest UNAIDS Report states that the estimated 5,7 million South Africans living with HIV make this the largest HIV epidemic in the world.  The same report states that “the estimated number of maternal, paternal and double orphans due to AIDS in Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania rose from 1,2 million in 2001 to 2,9 million in 2007.”  There are a significant number of child-headed households as a result.

Behind all of these statistics, are real people, human beings, young people – the next generation, whom we will inherit, having failed this generation!

Our leaders are in denial.  About poverty.  About crime.  About HIV/AIDS.  The question is – is the church in denial too?  If not, where is its voice?  Why has it been so silent?

In the mid-eighties, I worked with a man I greatly admired.  He was brutally tortured in detention.  The apartheid government tried to kill him by poisoning his clothes.  He kept on being a prophetic voice, despite being alienated from his own church.  I was the organising secretary for the Kairos Document, a bold statement by the Churches – or a section of the church – about the immorality of the apartheid state.  He was Frank Chikane.

For nearly a decade, he has been the director general in the Presidency, a presidency that has presided over increasing poverty, over the widening gap between rich and poor, over the genocidal neglect of people living with HIV/AIDS, over the racial polarisation of our country, over the rise in crime and murder, over the decline of our neighbouring country that has starved, tortured and murdered its people, not only its opponents.

Is this the parable for what the Church has become?  Once, a prophetic voice of outrage against injustice, a bold and courageous actor in the cause of human dignity, and now, a silent Pharisee reaping the benefits of alignment with power, quietly affirming and blessing our new heresies?

How dare we expect future generations to take us seriously when we have so seriously abdicated this generation?

Similarly, we used to talk about protest theatre, but why is there so little theatre of outrage about current injustices?  When last was there a piece of local theatre dealing with the ravages of HIV/AIDS in this country?  We choose not to do it, because this is not what our audiences want.  They want laughter, comedy, musicals.  The theatre, like the Church, is part of the problem.  We exist for the elites, not for the poor, the vulnerable. 

I remember very clearly, a keen moment of crisis of faith in the mid-eighties.  One Sunday afternoon, I attended a rally, a very moving rally in support of six men who were about to be hanged, and listened to the mother of one speaking about her son.  It was an afternoon of deep emotion.  That night, I attended a church, and there was absolutely no connection with what I had experienced that afternoon.  The emphasis was on the transcendental, on loving God, on the personal; there was nothing about one’s neighbour, about horizontal love, about the lived experience of the majority of people.  I didn’t go back to that church again.

I wonder if that is how it is for young people today.  And, by the way, when we say young people, we do not talk of one homogenous grouping. They are as different in class, colour, history, culture as the adults of our country.  But how relevant are we to their lives?   What is our relevance to the lives of thousands of young people who believe they have no future here?  And leave?  What is our relevance to the lives of thousands of young people, who have bleak futures in our country, and who don’t have the option to leave?  What is our relevance to thousands of young people who have no futures in their own countries and who come here, seeking a better life?  What is our relevance to young people who are doing well here, driven by ambition, by dreams of selfish success, with little concern for the sea of misery around them?

We are not going to find out how to be with the next generation in our churches in leafy suburbs.  Or – I’m afraid – at conferences like these.  Just like we are not going to find relevance to the lives of people by waiting for them to come to where our theatres are.

We will discover what is needed, what is relevant and how to be Church, to be servants, to minister – not in the corridors of denial, but by visiting our prisons and courts, by having relationships with refugees of xenophobia in hastily set-up camps, by spending time in townships and rural areas with the poor, the marginalised, the downtrodden, by visiting hospices – homes to the sick and dying, by being exposed to orphanages.  For it is in these places that the next generation, the one that really needs us, may be found.  It might not be the people who will afford to tithe and keep the church bureaucracy thriving, or the theatre industry growing, but it is here that the mission of the Church will have its sharpest relevance. 

It does not have to be loud, it does not have to be with words, it can simply be through deeds and action, but the theatre – like the church – have a duty to speak truth to the powers that be.  They may not like it, but then, our mission is not to have them like us. 


 

I’d like to end with a poem which is my personal mantra as an artist/playwright:

I am not a patriot
For pointing out naked emperors
For not joining the chorus of praise singers
For allegiance to country, not party

I am a traitor
For practising constitutional freedoms
For choosing the margins not mainstream
For saying what others but think

I am anti-transformation
For still sprouting non-racist mantra
For being happy with grey amidst black and white
For not being a brother to opportunism

I am a sell-out
For donating my poetry to resistance
For refusing to live in denial
For declining thirty pieces of silver

I am an apartheid spy
For not turning a blind eye to corruption
For loyalty to principle not expedience
For daring to uphold the law

I am an ultra-leftist
For supporting human rights in Zimbabwe
For believing HIV causes AIDS
For not being a millionaire socialist

I am a racist, a coconut
For breaking the silence with a whisper
For preferring thought to propaganda
For standing up amidst the prostrate
For repeated conspiracy with the questions what, how, why

I am a danger to society
For not martyring my mind
For not terminating my tongue
For not sacrificing my soul

I have been here before
But then as a communist
An atheist
A Marxist
Anarchist

And I am here again
As some other “ist”
This time, as artist

Labels they come and labels they do
Hard on the footsteps of those
Who defend new privilege with old morality
Who appropriate history for contemporary pillaging
Who now crucify the people on their electoral crosses

I have been here before and I shall be here again
For as long as the poor – like Truth – are with us.