No need to despair even as the dream of South Africa feels like a nightmare

Like many, this Easter I feel that the dream of South Africa feels more like a nightmare. Personal interests, corruption, private gain, entitlement, a vicious contempt for the poor and the common good, a culture of blatant lies and cronyism — and possibly worse — dominate our public landscape.

This past week, the nightmare got worse as the full impact of President Jacob Zuma’s recent actions (the cabinet reshuffle) unfolded, leading to the country’s credit downgrade. They have devastated our hopes for the kind of foreign investment which we desperately need to grow our economy and create new jobs.

The impact of the president’s actions on consumer confidence and trust is immeasurable. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly affected by just a 10 percent drop in consumer confidence. If we cannot turn the situation around, we face the prospect of employees being fired; shops shuttering; malls closing; the poor unable to afford bread, paraffin, electricity and the cost of burials; possible hyperinflation — it’s as if we are entering the Zimbabwe moment.

Hope amid gloom

In this hour we grieve because the words of writer and philosopher GK Chesterton, used to such effect by the anti-apartheid cleric Trevor Huddleston as apartheid’s grip intensified in the 1950s, are again apt now:

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Our nightmare is similar to that under which the ancient Hebrews once lived. In our case, while we aren’t being disadvantaged by colonial slavery any longer and apartheid is over; some of our institutions, part of our economy and some among our leaders have become slaves to a new form of oppression.

It’s a moral and economic oppression that manifests itself in the form of one family’s capture of our country, and a president whose integrity, soul and heart have been compromised.

The promise of Easter, which Christians around the…

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