South Africa and HIV Ghost Writing
Excerpt from Ghost Writing :
Moral Leadership in an International Context
South Africa - Johannesburg and Cape Town December 2018 – January 2019
Wow! What an adventure! This trip/course to South Africa with my Candler School of Theology comrades was a full bounty of knowledge and personal growth. The agenda set forth by our instructors Dr. Robert Franklin, Dr. Gregory Ellison, and Dr. Letitia Campbell was chock full of meetings and interviews with current moral leaders and friends of moral leaders from the past. All that being said, I came with my own agenda. I have been incorporating the 23rd Psalm into my daily life a practice.
It is important for me to give you context “The Lord is My Shephard.”
Lord – You are my shepherd I shall not want– I shall not want for more than God (The Divine) gives me.
You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside still waters -Sheep, when hungry and thirsty eat the pasture and drink the water,As God’s sheep, I need not eat the pasture for I am content, I shall notdrink the water for I am not thirsty hence - it is still.
You restore my soul -You lead me down the path of righteousness for Your name sake – Through surrender to God, my path will continue to grow more Holy each day.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death- I will fear no evil – for You are with me- Your rod and staff they comfort me – There will be trials and tribulations and ultimately death, but I am not worried, I am part of the Divine – one of God’s children
You prepare a table for me in the presence of mine enemies – Through communication with God, I will welcome my rivals to understand that we are one and welcome any conflict as a process to learn and grow.
You anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows – Trusting in the Divine God enables me to understand that what I have is enough and any excess needs to be shared with others – thus helping my community live in a life of abundance.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever – Good times as well as bad shall happen and through God’s mercy I will rejoice in the good and learn from the perceived bad.
This is the context of which I read the 23rd Psalm and was my morning mantra recited approximately 216 times while I do my morning 5k. As I worked through the Psalms each morning of the trip, there arose many realizations to add, butwill share those at the close of the journey.
In regard to Moral Leadership in South Africa- Leadership is looked at as one’s ability to give of themselves in service of their community, peers, and families. In the traditional South African setting, a leader usually provided political, religious, and social leadership. Political leadership involved public administration; social leadership involved the sustenance of social order and the resolution of conflicts; while religious leadership involved priesthood. While the average ethnic leader had many caps to wear, there was rarely any conflict in leadership roles[footnoteRef:2]. When colonial powers came to South Africa, the traditional South African leadership structures were disrupted as the colonial powers imposed new leadership structures that were consistent with their goals. Ethnic leaders were forced to share power and authority with the colonial leaders. This arrangement was skewed towards the colonizers as the colonizers had more power in the power-sharing arrangement. South Africa has very unique needs and the leadership structures used should be tailored towards addressing these needs. In the South African context, the nation’s renaissance should be the focus. The concept of South African renaissance aims at empowering the people of South Africa and rebuilding and revitalizing their identities. Where cultural practices and identities have been lost with the passage of time or due to past leadership failures, the renaissance shall focus on recovering such identities[footnoteRef:3]. [2: Clifton C. Crais and Thomas V. McClendon, The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics] [3: Ibid]
Rene’ August – our guide, teacher, mentor, gracious host, ultimate moral leader…. – there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the importance and impact she had on our trip. Rene’ is a native of Cape Town,
“a veteran of the anti-apartheid movement and an Anglican priest. René August is a reconciliation trainer with The Warehouse, a worshipping community organization in Cape Town, South Africa that walks alongside churches as they seek to respond to the issues of poverty, injustice, and division in a city that struggles with some of the worst inequality in the world.”[footnoteRef:4] [4: https://www.theworkofthepeople.com/person/rene-august]
Rene is a fascinating woman who served under and was mentored by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Her biography tells us that she has the survival skills necessary to think quickly, run fast and listen carefully- she has an innate proficiency when it comes to discernment and communication.[footnoteRef:5] Boy is that the truth! Her knowledge of history, geography, liturgy, theology, animal habits, and basic human interaction was on a level that some may say supernatural and always left us wanting more. Renee took time from the holiday, her family, her work at The Warehouse, and Freedom Road to spend two full weeks with us. Rene’s touched all of our lives and showed us the true power of learning, moving forward as a team, and how to connect history in a contemporary context. [5: https://freedomroad.us/who-we-are/rene-august/]
Now that you know my position and mindset going into the journey,the current landscape of Moral Leadership in South Africa, and have met our guide - mentor – moral leader for the trip, Rene' August, I invite you to enjoy the journey. There will be questions to stimulate thought and a call to action at the end of each day’s journal. I have placed these intentionally for your reflection and how you can learn to make our community a better place.
??????????????We hit the ground running on our first full day in JoBurg South Africa. First stop was Kaya FM 95.9 which is a division of the THEBE company. We met CEO Jerry Mabena to discuss KAYA’s content and media platform as a change agent - seeking equality for the majority. The programming focuses on 360 degrees of the person and brought up the term - Afripolitans.They are disrupting norms of talk radio by focusing on the people, not the politics of the people. After a lovely lunch and tour of the facility, we were treated to a tour of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The place is awe inspiring with many pictures, quotes, his actual office/ board room, and many artifacts. Mandela’s work reminds us, as he stated- ”I am not a saint, I am a sinner that keeps on trying. “ We had a bit of a break in the evening before having dinner with Rev. Teboho G. Klaas. Rev. Klaas is a champion of LGBTQ ?????????? issues, a minister, and also works with The Other Foundation. Many of his talking points resonated with me - “Diversity is Godly Ordained” - “God is bigger than personal opinions”-“People that use the Bible to demand their own freedom most often use the Bible to EXCLUDE others who are different”- “Don’t speak for people, make space for people to speak”
As you can see, a very full day that exceeded all expectations. Check in tomorrow as I share more of Candler School of Theology - Emory University’s Class of Moral Leadership’s journey ??
In the evening we had dinner with the ReverendTeboho G. Klaas. Rev Klaas is, pastor, a vocal queer rights supporter who has been accused of heresy and suspended from the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.[footnoteRef:6]Klaas also works as religion program office for The Other Foundation –(The Other Foundation is an African trust that advances equality and freedom in southern Africa with a particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity. It gathers support to defend and advance the human rights and social inclusion of homosexual and bisexual women and men, as well as transgender and intersex people in southern Africa – and it gives support to groups in a smart way that enables them to work effectively for lasting change, recognizing the particular dynamics of race, poverty and inequality, sex, national origin, heritage, and politics in our part of the world. It does this by working both as a fundraiser and a grant maker.)[footnoteRef:7] [6: https://mg.co.za/article/2018-10-12-00-heretic-pastor-is-suspended] [7: http://theotherfoundation.org/our-team-2/]
Our discussion was one of the most fascinating sessions of the trip.
The topics we discussed were-
Sources Used in Documents:
Andersson, Jasmine. "What Is Happening to LGBT Rights in South Africa?" PinkNews. February 09, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2019. https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/02/09/what-is-happening-to-lgbt-rights-in-south-africa/
Boelsma, Marjan. "White Allies: A Blessing or a Curse?" Vernac News. October 04, 2017. Accessed January 15, 2019. https://vernacnews.co.za/2017/10/04/white-allies-a-blessing-or-a-curse/
Buqa, Wonke. "Storying Ubuntuas a Rainbow Nation." Verbum Et Ecclesia36, no. 2 (2015). doi:10.4102/ve.v36i2.1434
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