St Peter's Transformation Message from the Rector
The spectre of racism, which arose so powerfully at the end of last year, constitutes a disheartening reminder of how little progress we have made in uniting as a nation since 1994.
I often think that as South Africans, one of our most limiting characteristics is that we do not know how to listen. We listen to respond rather than to understand. This is why, for me, the Parent Transformation Meeting held a few weeks ago was so important. It provided the first real opportunity for people, with different life experiences, to listen respectfully to each other. The honesty with which the stories were told provided an atmosphere in which people felt free to express their fears, however tentatively. It constituted a very special start to a critical journey in our community as a microcosm of the country.
Not everyone in our country has yet to overcome the challenges facing us. During the holidays Pam and I spent time in the Cederberg. While in Clanwilliam, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit the 200-odd year old Anglican Church of the Parish of St John the Evangelist. When I peeked inside the door I was greeted by the sight of a group of elderly ladies (even older than me) sitting in a circle before the altar. They were engaged in a Bible study. The group comprised white, coloured and black women. There was spirited debate, relating the Bible text to the very similar experiences of their very different lives in a building so closely related to the era of Colonialism and the domination of a particular language group. These ladies did not need to destroy anything to find understanding or common threads in their lives.
As I quietly withdrew, their invitation floated across the pews, “Wil jy nie by ons aansluit nie, Meneer?”