Monday, May 08, 2006

Saying Sorry

The Arch – Desmond Tutu – comments that white South Africans have not shown remorse for the Apartheid past of South Africa. And he adds that black South Africans have shown great patience and magnanimity in the face of this. We white people have reacted as if we have been insulted. Some of us say that this is not helping national reconciliation. Others say that there is nothing to apologise for. And most of us whites put our heads down and wonder how to get on with our lives.

Why is it so difficult to admit being wrong? Why not climb down and apologise? Nkosinathi Biko ironically suggest that “apartheid is a cause whose victims survive in the millions and whose supporters have since all perished.” And so there are no white South Africans who will admit to supporting Apartheid. I have even heard white Christian clergy speaking of how the Church supported the struggle. If only this were true! The fact is we all avoided politics in the church as much as possible – even to the extent of refusing to pray for the end to unjust rule in SA.

Yet confession is a cornerstone of our Christian faith. We who are practitioners of the faith preach that there is no absolution without confession. But confession is not about an offering of words. Jesus teaches that confession is about accounting for our misuse of the land (Matthew 21: 33-41), restoring that which has been stolen (Luke 19:2-8), and refusing to hoard wealth (Luke 12:13-21). I am complicit in our national past. I must become part of repairing the present. Pray that I may have the wisdom to find ways of doing so.

Oh yes: it would be morally appropriate if Mr Zuma could find it in his heart to say sorry instead of celebrating! Even if it was not rape - he has betrayed the trust placed in him by his wives, and by the woman's (deceased) father.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jacob Zuma
Acquitted = Not Guilty = Innocent?
No ways.
Neither side told the truth and nothing but the truth in this very public trial.
Part of the truth is that a young woman has been violated by someone she looked up to and regarded as an uncle. Shame on you JZ!
She's been described as 'sick'. Little wonder that she's disturbed and scarred by repeated abuse when a minor; yes, this happened when she was in exile.
Who were her abusers? All male. Not real men.
Who has suffered more? The woman. Will JZ, within himself, be freed of his memories? If he has a conscience, the answer will be "NO!"