Whats the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity?

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A very inspiring discussion took place on SA FM’s Morning Talk on the 24th of September 2013. In the guest list was a panel of experts and those included Mr Ntshangase – a retired lecturer at the University of Kwazulu Natal and Chief Sefogole Makgeru – deputy Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders. By conception the discussion was relevant given the fact that South Africa was celebrating Heritage Day – a day that was formerly known as Shaka Day and since adjusted into Heritage Day with the dawn of democracy in 1994. The question asked: what is the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity? was pertinent to present day South Africa where we have a diversity of belief systems manifesting themselves into different religions.

It is very interesting the topic of religion and given the sensitivity of the topic, it was to be expected that the discussion would become heated. But what is the difference between Traditional African religion and Christianity? According to Christianity, believers are taught to connect to God through the one and only son of God Jesus Christ. In contrast, Traditional African religion puts emphasis on praying to God through the ancestors who due to their perceived spiritual essence, are acknowledged as a closer link to God. But it doesnt stop there, on the one hand, Christians have been taught to believe that the manner in which Traditional African religion connects with God is inappropriate and thus there is a need to “repent” or “convert” or “be born again” – a call that appears, at least from where one stands, more subjective than fair. It is this sort of persuasive language that leaves one with more questions than answers given the fact that on the other hand, there is less evidence to suggest that Traditional African religion perceives Christianity as inappropriate. In the Christian faith, there are quite a number of words and concepts used to refer to other religions as inferior. Words like “demons”,” heathen” and “pagan” have been recorded in the Bible – which is instrumental in Christianity. Although some people have gone on to deny Christianity calls Traditional African religion names, it became clear that there is a polarity of views within the Christian cohort. We could sense that when one caller who claimed to be a Christian smsed “ Traditional African religion is demonic period, for one to connect to God they need to be cleansed with the blood of the only messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ” but the laughter that came from Chief Makgeru and Ntate Ntshangase suggested otherwise. According to Chief Makgeru: “African religion is not a church, its a way of live. You don’t need an instrument like the Bible or a Koran to connect to God. It is a home grown faith similar to breathing and therefore was never necessary to go to church to pray, its all in the nature of humans that they know there is a higher being connected to them via the spiritual world: Modimo ”.

The question posed, as provocative as it is, is quite heavy given the fact that there is a dominant worldview that suggests one religion is better than the other. If one was to ask people who follow the Christian doctrine; it is to be expected that the perspective would be skewed towards their choice of religion and vice versa. Through the information explosion that came with the missionary education that was brought to Africa and other parts of the world during the hey days of colonisation and subsequently, Apartheid; it has become a normality for the Christian faith to present itself into a religion “of all” and ultimately; the perception since then has been that for someone to connect with God; they ought to pray God through Jesus Christ. One interesting caller on the radio show responded to the question by claiming that the main purpose of missionary education was not to belittle other religions but to merely teach what the Bible had purported ought to be exported to other nations in the world, for enlightenment?

The connection one can trace between the vociferous conquest of broad based education by western nations into Africa and the belittlement of the existence of African religion by this sort of subjective Christian worldview is immense and has caused so much tension, wars, terror and the eventual hatred between human beings; in particular Africans. In the world today we continue to see a battle of ideology in religion between religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity just to mention a few. This battle, one could claim, has nothing to do with natural competition but the desire by one religion to rule over the other. And this has been so since the earliest centuries. As we continue into the 22nd and 23rd centuries, one wonders whether the hatred that has become between people of different religions will ever cede?

There is no religion that is better than the other, that’s a subjective worldview, retorted Ntate Ntshangase. It became clear from the discussion that day as Chief Makgeru concluded, that “the differences in religion will be with us for years to come”. What we have gathered thus far is that the only way to a peaceful future of religious justice is for people to be tolerant towards each other. For most people in the Traditional African religion, the future means that they will have to learn to live with the damage that has been done by certain quarters of the Christian faith. As already divided as we are in the African nation, it would be crazy for anyone to suggest those who have been converted and influenced by the Eurocentric way of life would suddenly revert back to Indigenous Knowledge Systems. By the same token, it is unacceptable that in a democratic society like South Africa, the perception that Traditional African religion is inferior continues to manifest amid the many attempts made since 1994 to address the injustices of the past. It is clear that Christianity is instrumentalist and persuasive in nature while Traditional African religion is introvert and non-partisan. Let everyone stick with what works for them and continue to learn from one another as one human family.

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“African Customary Law: Contemporary Issues” and the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law

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On receiving the news of the upcoming conference organised by the Department of Public Constitutional and International Law; on “African Customary Law: Contemporary issues” and the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law at the University of South Africa i became so interested in African Customary Law as a discipline.

With so much being debated around the Traditional Courts Bill as an attempt by the state to address the gaps in the traditional sector, i wonder if the launch of the Center for Indigenous Law was a precursor for probable solutions for the now defaced Traditional Sector. How would the center help our Indigenous Knowledge Systems find their place in the predominantly Northern Hemispheric knowledge contained in records used in mainstream education?

Its really disturbing to note locally, people find cracks in the education system but seldom engage on Indigenous Knowledge Systems as crucial in addressing same. Where IKS are spoken about, many reduce them to smaller aspects like African herbs and healers. There is a need to dymystify this differential ignorance and promote the ideal of including IKS into mainstream education to a point where learners in schools do not think of school subjects as abstract but content with social and cultural relevance. For instance, the indigenous game called morabaraba contains geometrical symbols and theory which is an indication our forebears were aware of Mathematics way before colonisation and apartheid put a dent on our Indigenous Knowledge.

No wonder pupils in schools see maths and science as abstract monsters which prey on human minds. Many teachers still go with the notion maths, science, astronomy etc are only found in other knowledge systems which have thus far succeeded in destroying the psyche of the lay man and woman.

We need to start promoting Indigenous Knowledge in mainstream education so as to allow our children from the family level up to school level, to understand most of the subjects taught at school are not foreign to our Indigenous Knowledge System. That they are in fact part and parcel of the knowledge. Thus, this responsibility rests on both parents and teachers to not only teach but teach using practical examples found within our communities. 

 

A Community Analysis for an ideal Library in Ga Molepo

molepo community library

In today‟s information driven society, community libraries play an important role in the development of communities. This document focuses on the role of libraries in communities with due reference to Mankgaile Village, Ga Molepo. Librarians wishing to supply these communities with library and information service must be conscious of the needs of the communities when doing a community analysis. For the purpose of consistency, the term librarian will be used throughout the analysis. This analysis will discuss some of the most fundamental basics of community analysis as suggested by author; Gibson Reading (1998). A clear understanding of one‟s community, the awareness of the number of people, gender, age, ethnicity and socio-economic background is essential for the compilation of a community analysis that is user centred. Also in discussion are the reasons for library usage, library service timeframes, how the library management can keep users interested, issues of competition and identification of interest groups. Furthermore, librarians need to know who to partner with to ensure there is community involvement and responsibility sharing. In conclusion, the analysis focuses attention on the personality of the librarian and gives an opinion on what could be done to ensure library service adds value to the community

DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE ANALYSIS HERE>>>>>>>https://makhudutraditionalauthority.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/community-anaysis-ga-molepo-library-project.pdf

Watch out Chief Molepo and Chief Mamabolo, the government isnt really your friend.

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Tomorrow is the deadline for public comment on the Expropriation Bill, which would give the minister of public works sweeping powers to expropriate private property – ranging from homes to business premises, and even shares and other investments – “in the public interest”.

Critics of the proposed legislation say it is vague and could severely damage the country’s investment credentials.

But yesterday Deputy Minister of Public Works Jeremy Cronin told The Times that the bill “makes sense” in the context of South Africa’s “historical reality”.

Part of that reality was revisited yesterday when tens of thousands of Zion Christian Church members gathered in Pretoria for a prayer meeting to mark the centenary of the enactment of the 1913 Land Act.

The act is widely regarded as the trigger of a series of laws of dispossession that later became the apartheid system, which limited black South Africans’ fixed property purchases to “scheduled black areas”.

Cronin said the bill would be better suited to land reform than the current Expropriation Act, which dates back to 1975.

He said the government would not “whimsically” expropriate once the bill was enacted.

But Manus Booysen, a partner at law firm Webber Wentzel, warned that the bill, if enacted in its current form, would “have severe implications for property rights”.

Respect for property rights and intellectual property protection were listed among the country’s strengths in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2013.

South Africa came 26th among 144 countries on protection of property rights and 20th on the protection of intellectual property, the report showed.

Property, Booysen said, was so broadly defined in the bill that it would include movable assets such as vehicles and works of art. It also refers to “a right in, or to, property”.

“This means that shares in a company, as well as various rights in property – including intellectual property rights and incorporeal property – could be expropriated under the bill,” said Booysen.

On compensation, Booysen said “there is no guarantee that you will get market value”.

The bill lists several factors that a court should take into account when considering the validity of an expropriation – and market value is just one of them.

The list is not exhaustive, meaning that “any other factor” could also be taken into account.

This, Booysen argued, would create uncertainty and was “a deterrent to both foreign local investment in this country”.

The bill does more than merely empower the minister to expropriate property for a “public purpose”, as provided for in the current act.

It also allows the minister to expropriate property in the “public interest”.

Though this is in line with the constitution, Booysen said the bill did not provide additional criteria to help in the assessment of what would be in the “public interest”.

But Cronin downplayed this, saying expropriation could still be challenged in court “if [the expropriation] is just to enrich somebody’s cousin”.

Cronin said the definition of property was deliberately kept “general” and that the bill was drafted on legal advice “to not get trapped into a definition”.

The DA’s spokesman on public works, Anchen Dreyer, said she was concerned that the bill, if it became law, would undermine security of property ownership.

“Security of ownership is essential for investment, foreign as well as domestic, and for starting or expanding businesses. If this right is tampered with, there will be little growth, with an adverse effect on job creation,” she said.

The bill succeeds a 2008 version, which was withdrawn towards the end of that year because of concerns in the consultation stages that it would severely damage the property market and discourage investment.

Cronin said that the bill was still being discussed by the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2013/04/29/threat-to-property

‘Evil forces against Christian holidays’

After listening to the discussion on SA FM’s morning talk with Vuyo Mbuliand and his panel, it was decided that we post it here.
The debate was then taken to social networking site Facebookin a group called New Political Forum 2.0 Khuluma Afrika and the following was the post and subsequent responses:
Mahlaga:
If i said: “Remove some known Christian holidays from the calendar for more representation because they mean nothing to me, religiously “. A lot of people would freak out simply because issues of religion and culture are sensitive ones, right? The irony is that other linguistic, cultural and religious communities respect and accept Christian holidays as, just normal?

What i find amazing is that every effort to try and be inclusive in representation is met with a brutal attack. Like err…”but this holidays are linked to economic activities or if we remove them things wont be the same” That sort of lame excuse.

Why cant i go to the bank wearing my Isphandla, Afrikan Religion & Cultural symbolism or dreadlocks on Christmas day?

And this is called a democracy?

Benedictus Mahlangu:

Ask my African brother ask?

Mahlaga:

‘Evil forces against Christian holidays’ http://www.crlcommission.org.za/latestnews.php

David Robert Lewis:

What is worse, the National Holiday guidelines favour Christianity over all other religions.

Mahlaga:

?. We need to question this dominance. The last time i checked there was Hunduism, Shembe, Rastafarism, Judaism and Islam. And this is what is referred to as “diversity in unity” in the constitution? Even shocking to note the San people of Southern Afrika have nothing to celebrate except the ‘Ike Xarra ike” slogan in our code of arms.

Traditional Courts Bill via the provinces: Lets get talking.

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There has been much debate around the traditional courts bill for the best parts of 2012. In 2013, the bill will circulate via the provinces to gauge whether provinces accept or reject the bill. In recent debates, the bill has been heavily criticised for excluding women in traditional courts and was rejected outrightly by the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Diabilities. How potent is the ministry’s stance on the bill?

Since this bill relates to the primary objectives of this blog(to debate traditioonal issues of governance), we have decided to repost an article titled “Traditional Institutions, Leadership, marginalisation and the shame of the South African Constitution” in order to bring forth our argument for the passing of the bill. The reader will note that amongst those who support the bill are traditional leaders and traditional communities. In this article we highlight the plight of Traditional Leaders, Institutions and Cultural Communities in a country where it is claimed that democracy is fledging an all is well. Reading the article will indicate to the reader there are numerous challenges faced by Traditional leaders, their Institutions and Communities and hence our conviction that, if applied correcty, the draft bill will see to it that these and more challenges are addressed.
The article can be downloaded from here: http://wp.me/a2ne71-1w

In addition, we have included some review of the bill by journalist Siyabonga Mkhwanazi for reference and futher debate below:

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi @ The New Age; http://thenewage.co.za/90037-1007-53-Traditional_Courts_Bill_to_via_provinces

The contentious Traditional Courts Bill faces the test of whether it has the support of provinces or not.

Chairperson of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development in Parliament, Tjetha Mofokeng, on Tuesday said provinces had to decide whether they backed or rejected the Bill.

Following the public hearings on the draft law the committee had sent the report to all the nine provinces to determine whether they supported the Traditional Courts Bill or not, Mofokeng said.

“They (provincial legislatures) must give us a mandate on whether they support or reject the bill. Based on the majority of the provinces (who support one position) the committee will take a decision,” he said.

“We don’t want to pre-empt what the provinces will say, but we are aware that some people say it (the Bill) must be scrapped (while) some people say it must be retained,” he said.

The committee will take a decision on the way forward depending on what the provincial legislatures want.

The National Council of Provinces held public hearings on the Bill late last year where various stakeholders criticised it.

However, the Bill received support from traditional leaders.

Even the Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana had called for the government to scrap the Bill.

During the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders last month President Jacob Zuma urged all South Africans to participate in the discussions on the draft law.

The Bill has been criticised for being oppressive against women and taking the country back to apartheid days.

However, Zuma had said that it would be important for all stakeholders to take part in discussions on the Bill.

The Bill has been called unconstitutional, criticised for excluding the participation of women in traditional courts and for giving traditional leaders more powers.

The Bill offered the prospect of access to justice to 18 million of the citizens who reside within the ambit of the traditional system.

Whats your take on the bill?

Molepo Dam eyed for development?

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3. TOURISM : Tourism development at Molepo Dam
Opportunity An opportunity exists to create an attractive destination for tourists, around the Molepo Dam.
Nature of the Project It is proposed that the development will consist of:
• 40 bedroom lodge at 2-star level
• Conference Hall
• Restaurantt
• Shop
• Education Centre
• Campsite
• Water-based activities
Rationale for this venture The infrastructure around the dam is well developed as water and electricity readily available. There is also a recently tarred road leading to the dam.
Attractiveness Assessment The product that is offered in the Molepo development contains various elements such as:
• Accommodation facilities
• Conference centre
• Restaurant
• Kiosk and shop
• Education centre
• Water based activities.
There are 126 tourist accommodation establishments in Capricorn District, with the biggest proportion being hotels/motels (26.4%) and 3 star facilities (46.9%).
Opportunity Alignment Limpopo’s Tourism Growth Strategy identifies six priority tourism clusters to drive tourism growth in the province. The clusters are:
• Family and recreation
• Mega-conservation
• Safari and hunting
• Golf and game
• MICE (meeting, incentives, conference and events, or business tourism)
• Special interest.
Key Competitive Advantage The development at Molepo will attract tourists who travel along the R71 to the Magoebaskloof area. This route is also used to get to the northern parts of the Kruger National Park. It will provide 64% of the rooms in the market, however the target markets are different between the Molepo end the existing competitors.
Potential Economic Impact The Molepo Dam development is projected to require 50 employees. The project will therefore create job opportunities, promote entrepreneurship and encourage skills training of the labourers.
Investment Requirements The Molepo development is financially viable. The initial investment needed is projected at R13.5 million. Gross operating revenue is projected to reach over R11 million and profit projected at over R3 million by year five. The project has an ungeared, pre-tax IRR of 18.8%..
Linkages The approximate investment for the proposed project is set on R13.5 million (at 2008 prices).
Note: Molepo Dam and Sego Game Reserve can be undertaken as a single investment opportunity because of their close proximity to each other.

Contact Us
URBAN-ECON, PRETORIA
Danie van der Merwe
Tel: 012 342 8686
danie@urban-econ.com

Contact Us
Capricorn District Municipality
Ellen Mashakoe
Tel: 082 781 4768
mashakoee@cdm.org.za