Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unite, Proclaim and Reclaim

Sitting in on a Jummah talk last week , I reflected on how apparently disjointed the talk seemed. It was coherent within itself, as an isolated lecture. However as a message to the congregation , it would not take us forward together. It did not build on what we had learned the week before , neither was it going to shape our collective actions for the week to come.

The congregation ...

we were not that cohesive either. A sprinkling of ladies, with geographical or emotional allegiances to the masjid (i cannot account for who was on the other side of the modesty barrier).
We were not bound by a common goal or moving as a community towards a definite direction.

Although faces were familiar and greetings were exchanged, we were strangers to each other by way of ideals.

A reflection of the 'ummah' in a broad and local sense bleeds the word
F-R-A-G-M-E-N-T-A-T-I-O-N. We are dysfunctional because we are (dys)functioning independently whereas the only way for us to Be, is whole.

I might never have the depth of knowledge of the sciences as my sister who is studying Tafseer and Fiqh. I will never be able to understand economic intricacies as well as my brother working with Finance. But they might never be exposed to the desperation of the human condition that I see on a daily basis. One speciality can never outweigh the other and independently they are inward looking. Together , however, they spell Strength. Shared resources, knowledge and experiences under the canopy of Islam makes us Powerful.

Let us find our way back to each other. Let us be close enough to be able to hear each others faint cries for support.

Maybe the Jummah can become an unmissable event , instead of the shadow of itself that it currently is. A place where the collective pulse of the congregation can be palpated. Its rate and rhythm assessed and an appropriate response offered to the people by the Imam.
Thus propelling us into the week as a collective force , flanked on either side by out brothers and sisters in faith.

The time for excuses and playing the 'blame game' is long past. Let's not blame our impotence on others. Structures need to be reclaimed and fundamental institutions revisited. Ah, the masjid, that institution that has become a myth and legend in conversation circles. The place where the community descends on , plays together , prays together. Let's make it a place where the recitation of Allah's words are coupled with vibrant calls to action.

Let us set a deadline for when each masjid congregation, each a vital organ of a well functioning body, can descend on the Eid-gah in a magnificent display of our Ummah's strength.

Eid Mubarak

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday Night Poverty

The stench-of-vomit kind of poverty
Fill up on liquor as poor as the drinker
"hot stuff": cheap as street-walker home brew

Friday's right for Phuza night
racist employers are drowned down
"drive your own damn bakkie, Mr Patel"
"please drive yourself straight to hell"

Another round for the wife who left with
my neighbour

That desperate-kind-of-poverty
not the Sunday-Church-kind-of-poor
more like the poverty of Friday night
Just as long as the price is right
twenty rand extra for no protection
nothing to lose when you're so far
at the bottom.
ARV's are free
Let the grant money work,
she's a mother of three

I drink and curse and stab and smoke
You want to judge my morality?
uMama was looking after you
when she was supposed to be breastfeeding me.

I came home , washed my uniform for school
the next day
uBaba worked for your dad
for a donkey's pay.
now he's bent and broken
with no pension fund
and you throw him out,
like a used lappie.

So judge me Doctor while you stand there,
wondering what scum the ambulance dragged in.
uGogo was washing your medschool lab coat
while I was pacifying the little ones.

So let me have my Friday Night.
You think I can't smell the poverty?
I catch a whiff too.
Maybe a gust of change
will flow through , and
I could be just like you,
leaving this place
on Sanitised Saturday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Mbeki recalled by ANC

Thursday, September 18, 2008

close encouters, of a spiritual kind - perception versus reality

The reality that we build around us is a result of perceptions. Perceptions are a result of stimuli, so would it be fair to conclude that a person's reality is formed by their stimuli ?

What is the real reality and what are our stimuli?

Ramadaan brings with it a twofold benefit towards gaining a clearer perception of the true reality. We attempt to shut out the negative stimuli , or for the less pious amongst us, to merely tone it down. Then there is the superimposed benefit of increased Quraan recitation.

The Quran is the framework for a true reality. While our soul shifts away from the reality of an afterlife and the finality of a day of Reckoning during the year, intensified Quraan reading during Ramadaan, brings a shift in perception.

The ephemeral nature of this world is once again highlighted . The realisation of which washes away with it the the drive to hanker after money, financial security and status. Perspective is gained. A scholar mentioned that the Quraan puts events into place, beginning at Creation and ending in the heavens after reckoning. This puts aside the materialistic inclination of instant gratification and the subtle desire for immortality. The timeline is defined and our role in it is spelled out. The Quranic framework shifts aspirations and brings the soul closer towards a meeting with its true nature.

There is a very normal decline after Ramadaan , however it is a challenge to ensure that efforts and perceptions do not fall below the previous Ramadaan's baseline.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Democracy : africa - style ?

Optimism is the mood of the day.Well, yesterday anyway.There have been momentous shifts in attitude in my Motherland.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must surely not be used to the articulate Mr Mugabe addressing him in such fair terms.President Mbeki must be unfamiliar with the sound of applause directed at him.

Forgive my Afro-over-optimism,but I see this as the inertia that is needed to steamroll positive change in Zimbabwe.

The timing of this agreement could not be more opportune for President Mbeki,who I believe has been made a scapegoat for many of South Africa's teething problems.Could his apparent success in this mediator role, help him with regaining some local and international credibility,or are his days as 'Africa's Son' numbered?

I hope that we are seeing the beginning of African solutions,by Africans,for Africans. Perhaps the concept of 'Peer Review' is not that idealistic.

The Afro-pessimist deep inside me,wonders about just how cosmetic this agreement is.Will it translate into a better life for Zimbabweans? Can an economy that is knocking at the pearly gates of heaven be resuscitated? Perhaps,as Nelson Mandela mentioned in the South African context,now the people will have the freedom to be free.It might take a while for true freedom (economic and social) to be realised.

Will Zimbabwe face the same challenge that the South African economy faced when its markets opened up and were swallowed by a free market capitalist wave in the ocean of globalisation? The vultures are ready to take flight.Then again,let's not bite the clawed hand that feeds us (be it capitalist or otherwise), and let's embrace the employment opportunities through DFI that are en route to Harare.

Maybe I should tell the Zimbabwean refugee that i spoke to last week,that God didn't forget about Zimbabwe.

This is Africa-hear her Roar.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Zapiro - Touche

The Zapiro Cartoon Saga

My heart was heavy with mourning for our infant democracy. It's always sad when a child is ill , even worst when afflicted with signs of a chronic illness. The tragedy comes from seeing that his potential will not be realised. Those aspirations that every parent has for it's newborn, will be dashed.

When I hear the teacher's unions making threats that bring to question the integrity of the judiciary, promising not to oversee student examinations if their political agendas are not realised, my pulse quickens and I feel a hollowness somewhere deep down.

I understand that our people are frustrated, they want to see change fiilter down. But can the desire to reap the fruits of economic progress blind us from enshrining the tenants of democracy -

An independant judiciary ...

The right to freedom of speech ?