From 1998 till 2001, Tata Nelson Mandela consulted broadly what he called ”the RDP of the Soul“ which culminated in the Launch of the Moral Regeneration Movement in April 2002.
I listened carefully to the State of the Nation Address and few State of the Provincial Addresses and was very much worried that our leaders seem to be shifting away from Nelson Mandela of “Creating an Ethical and Moral Society” grounded on the Spirit of Ubuntu.
I therefore took time to reflect on what we called, in 2002, ”The Nation’s Voice on the Moral Crisis facing our Country” in order to convince myself as to why some of our leaders seem to be abundening Tata Nelson Mandela’s dream and actually his own Project.
I want to remind South Africans of the 8 problems identified during the launch of the Moral Regeneration; which are still more relevant to date as expressed in 2002, viz;
1. The Family: we still are experiencing the breakdown of family life and the weakening of family structures as the primary agent of socialization. The family is the major tool for the nurturing of sound ethics, and behavioural and social values, that need to be strengthened in order to play its role effectively.
Much more still needs to be done to transform the family. This should include drawing on the impetus of the African Renaissance to revisit and restructure African Spirituality and values in family life, to put emphasis on the notion that “my child is your child, and my parent is your parent“, and to promote the values of love, tolerance, peace and trust.
2. Crime and Corruption: this is currently a more serious challenge than it was in 2002. Maybe its because most issues are brought to light. The cause of crime and corruption range from disrespect for life, selfishness, nepotism and group pressure to lack of patriotism. Therefore there is a need to mobilize community participation to break the cycle of crime and corruption and whistle blowers MUST at all times be protected.
3. Riches and Poverty: unquestionably, poverty is seen to be a serious threat to moral regeneration. This does not mean that the poor are very bad, for often the poorest people display deep moral integrity. It is the growing gap between the rich and the poor that is immoral. All factors contributing to our moral crisis are interwoven. The greed and self- centredness of some at the expense of others, the struggle and often failure of small traders and entrepreneurs to make a living, the fight of capital from the country, all impact on the living conditions of people, forcing them to take measures just to put food on the table. The notion of the rich getting more richer, and the poor more poorer has not been addressed since 2002.
4. Education: the education system in our country inherited structures that were inherently
immoral, designed to enhance the education of one race group and diminish the opportunities of others. It is taking and will take, enormous efforts to redress the imbalances. We are currently sitting with other serious challenges to what we had in the past, viz;
4.1.1 Lack of discipline by many of our children in schools.
4.1.2 Lack of proper infrastructure for quality learning and teaching.
4.1.3 Pass progress as designed by the Department of Basic Education, eg. The 30 pass 86, and the emphasis that no learner must repeat twice in a grade.
4.1.4 Political interference and involvement in the education of our children.
4.1.5 Learner Teacher Ratio in many of our rural schools.
4.1.6 Insufficient knowledge content by many of our educators.
4.1.7 Our schools curricula need some realignment.
5. The Youth: in 2002 we all agreed that contemporary society discourages young people in many ways. They are discouraged by the lack of role modeling by their parents and elders in their communities, they are discouraged by the poor morale of their teachers, they are discouraged by the limited prospects they have of finding jobs. This coupled with peer pressure, has led to an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, the proliferation of teenage pregnancies, the very real threat of contracting HIV/AIDS, and a general loss of respect for the dignity of life.
6. The Media: the media in vital in conveying the message of moral regeneration. It has the potential for influencing ideas and values in a profound way. For this reason, the media ownership and direction needs to be transparent and accountable, and journalists should be well and truly committed to honesty and integrity in their profession. The Media should emphasise stories that promote transformation and the alleviation of poverty, and profile persons of integrity as role models for our youth. There should be far greater local content in our television programmes.
7. Religion: religious groups should be less bent on promoting themselves and their structures and more responsive to a growing, deeply felt need among people for spirituality. This would enable faith communities to contribute to the RDP of the soul.
8. Leadership: leaders are perceived as role models and should therefore be persons of integrity, and good examples, who set the standards of morality, These will definitely include our public representatives. Things we hear and see in our Parliament, need so much to be desired. What are our children learning from the conduct of our Parliamentarians. The absence of ethical leadership is threat in our country and a growing concern which civil society organizations must tackle asap.
Now the question remains, have we achieved all the above to a point were we can abundan our responsibility in building an ethical and moral society? Or are we a community so angry with itself such that we don’t want to face the realities of live before us?
Everyone of us is important and can be an agent for change and Moral Renewal in our own small spaces. Let’s all join hands in support for Moral Renewal in our communities.
Spokesperson for the South African Council of Churches-Limpopo and a member of the Board for the Moral Regeneration Movement (RSA).