Monday, 19 October 2009

Reverend Roxanne Jordaan delivers Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture


Although South Africa has gained democracy, it has not brought about a sense of national peace and justice, said Rev Roxanne Jordaan at the fifth Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture.

The lecture, which took place on 14 October 2009 at the Bellville Campus, honours the role Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu played in championing the struggle both in South Africa and globally.

This year marked the second lecture hosted by CPUT, in conjunction with the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

Rev Jordaan, who is affiliated to SACC and is the co-ordinator of the Kairos Theologian Forum, touched on issues of injustice in South Africa.

One of the first women in the country to take her place in Theologian circles, Rev Jordaan said: “Democratic elections within themselves do not bring about peace. We won the race, but the prize is wrong.”

She said during Apartheid communities knew their enemies and were driven by a sense of justice and hope. Leaders were fearless and had common vision.

However, she said while democratisation has removed the injustice of Apartheid, it has replaced it with many more injustices.

Rev Jordaan said we must name the injustices in society, in order to move towards making changes in South Africa.

One of the injustices she referred to is the fear of disagreement with the ruling party.

“When the Archbishop Emeritus Tutu challenged the ruling party, he was chastised and the media played to it,” she said.

Rev Jordaan said he spoke for many South Africans who have become silent.

Other injustices include poverty, lack of descent housing and unemployment.

“The poorest of poor are getting poorer, sinking deeper into the bottomless pit of despair,” she said.

A bad health system, infant mortality, loss of human dignity and national security are just some of the other injustices South Africans face, said Rev Jordaan

Referring to the 1970 uprisings, she said we should now be propelled by that same fearlessness we possessed back then to make a change.

“Our institutions are battered, our people are weak and it is in these moments of consuming darkness that the theologians and the youth need to reinvigorate the national consciousness, our fearless spirit,” she said.

Rev Jordaan said she hopes that we are ready to take our place as the defendants of peace.

Quoting Archbishop Tutu, she said peace involves inevitable righteousness, justice, wholesomeness, fullness of life, participation in decision making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion and reconciliation.

Rev Jordaan said: “In my view the absence of fear reflects the presence of peace, because we would be engaged in activities that make for meaningful change.”

By Candes Keating

Photograph: (clockwise) Rev Roxanne Jordaan delivers the Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture; Rev Jordaan stands in front of the fountain near the Dome of Remembrance; Bishop Wilfred Messiah, Rev Siyabulela Gidi; Rev Jordaan and CPUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga (image courtesy of Fundani).

Written by CPUT News