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IS CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS IN-SYNC WITH THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST?

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During the previous week, the multi-award winning and platinum selling Gospel musician – Dr Tumi released a public statement stating his reasons for not participating in an event organised by Muzi Cindi who proudly promotes a widely accepted concept called ‘Christ Consciousness’. This concept is taught by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Pastor Chris Oyakilome who both enjoy a large array of support from their followers globally.
 
Criticism and messages of support overwhelmed Dr Tumi’s lengthy Facebook post, however not everyone took time to interrogate his stance and the underlying factors of his withdrawal, but that’s not the purpose of this article. This article serves to put two concepts on the table and weigh them against the Biblical texts.
 
Before we can inspect the interpretation of the representation of Christ through the two concepts in question, I would like for us to take into cognizance of the nature of the human mind and it’s ability as explained in the scriptures below:
 
1. Matthew 15:10-11 (Easy-to-read Version)
Jesus called the people to him. He said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not what people put in their mouth that makes them wrong.[c] It is what comes out of their mouth that makes them wrong.”
 
2. Jeremiah 17:9 (God’s Word Translation)
The human mind [including the heart or feelings] is the most deceitful of all things. It is incurable. No one can understand how deceitful it is
 
3. Romans 7:15 (New Living Translation)
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate
 
Based on the above-mentioned mentioned texts of the Bible, we can clearly see how deceptive the human mind can be. What more can it do if it is influenced by the intellectual community which always seems to deviate the masses from the teachings of Christ? This community of thought leaders, invest much resources and time into annihilating anything that remotely looks Christian. Thus, it is very important to approach such a community with both reason and logic without using faith and spirituality.
 
In order to conclude whether Christ Consciousness and the Doctrine of Christ work in harmony and in-sync with scriptures, we first need to clearly define these two theories and also interrogate both their primitive roots. In doing so, we’ll tackle them from a historical point of view, then scripturally in order to have a fair analysis.
 
To kick-off this discussion, let us first define The Doctrine of Christ as this is much evident in scripture than the latter.
 
WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST AND WHY DOES IT MATTER THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
 
The Hebrews 6:1-2 account might be the only time where in scripture Christ teaches about the 6 elementary Doctrine of Christ, but throughout the Bible, particularly in the New Testament that we understand the nature of Christ and His role in the universe at large. It is therefore safe to say that first time we are introduced to the ‘Doctrine of Christ’ is when we read the Hebrews 6 account.
 
It reads as thus in the Old King James Version:
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”
 
The Doctrine of Christ unpacks the 6 teachings in which other translations such as the New International Version deems them as “Elementary” to mean “the very basic teachings” of the Christian faith. The teachings are as follows:
 
1. Repentance from dead works
Being born of a natural man, we need to be aware that our nature is corrupt by virtue of the Adamic fall. Our works [thoughts and actions] are continuously corrupted by the evil that exists in this world we are born and live in. It is therefore advised by God for each one to constantly find repentance from our works which lead to death.
 
2. Faith towards God
The Bible makes it clear that only confessing with our lips that Christ is Lord and Saviour, we [every human being] will receive the gift of salvation from God. In order to have a relationship with God, we need to have faith in the existence, importance, power and relevancy of God in our lives. Thus, the Bible likens A-theism as foolishness (see Psalm 14:1)
 
3. Doctrine of Baptisms
Baptism as explained in scripture, is an important element in the continuous growth towards a relationship with the Father (God). This exercise may be a physical activity involving the immersion of one in water, however it holds a spiritual significance of the death of the old being to birth a new man who is in Christ.
 
4. Laying on of hands
The Bible teaches us that the ministry of healing is part of God’s plan for restoration of human life. It goes without saying that the largest miracles Jesus Christ performed in His time were centred around the restoration of health amongst human beings. Thus makes this subject an important element of the foundation of the Christian faith. Healing of the mind and body is pivotal to the spiritual growth of a human being.
 
5. Resurrection of the dead
If we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, it is also a nobrainer that the same Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah who was prophesied of in the OT. He has lived, died and rose again (resurrected from the dead) conquering both death and Hades (Hell/the grace).
 
6. Eternal Judgement
It is public knowledge that the Christian faith believes in the eternal judgement of souls. There might be differing views on how we will arrive at the ‘Judgement Day’ and their varied interpretation of the term ‘Last Day’, however we can all agree to a certain extent that the foundation of our faith embraces a teaching of eternal judgement. This is supported by hundreds of scriptures from both the OT and NT.
 
The writer in the Hebrew texts, lays a foundation for any person who wishes to establish a church or ministry that seemingly adopts teachings of the Christian faith. The 6 teachings forms the integral parts of a statement of faith of any church. Contrary to popular belief, the debatable theories such as Trinity, Speaking in Tongues, Rapture, and many other complex concepts DO NOT FORM part of the Doctrine of Christ. Therefore, a church should not be established on the basis of such theories. Also, revelations do not merit one to establish a church, but ONLY the Doctrine of Christ does.
 
The Doctrine of Christ matters to every Christian believer, because if you find yourself in any ministry or church that do not teach the above-mentioned elementary teachings of Christ, then they are committing a serious doctrinal error!
 
Furthermore, I encourage you to take a look at the material produced by Dr Sam Soleyn on The Doctrine of Christ. I have found him through-out history as one of the most sound teachers on this subject. Follow his teachings from 2012.
 
WHAT IS IS CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS, HOW COME MANY CHRISTIANS DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT AND WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?
 
The first time I was introduced to the subject of Consciousness, before learning of its infiltration within the Christian Faith to be what we now call ‘Christ Consciousness’ was after watching a debate on Subjective Idealism vs. Objective Materialism where Richard Dawkins said “consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.” This statement shook me because I have a problem with the term “emergence” especially when it comes to consciousness.
 
Let me try to explain…
 
Well a very basic definition of emergence is something like complex properties that result from the interaction of simple behaviours. So in essence, when people like Dawkins talk about emergent consciousness, they show nothing of this sort and therefore don’t answer the how part of consciousness.
 
A linguistics and research neuroscientist by the name of Marc Ettlinger (PhD) questions the missing mechanism around emergence in conscious. He puts it nicely by saying that “when we talk about real emergent properties, like those of a network, for example, we can show how a specific type of network (e.g., a Small-world network) will emerge in lots of different situations, (e.g., the brain, social networks etc.) because of simple properties that connections between things have: some sort of relationship between viability and proximity. From this, you get lots of local connections and a few non-local ones in certain proportions. ” Thus, the problem I have with Dawkin’s understanding is that emergent consciousness is not a model that can exhibit properties of self awareness and qualitative experience from chemical properties. Until it does, I think he should reserve his comments.
 
Basically, this concept of consciousness means that a human being can only be conscious of his existence outside a divine being. It means that we do not need the creator in our affairs since we are pro-creators. This is a BIG problem for me and such teaching needs not to enter the Christian faith and should never be taught.
 
WHERE DOES CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS ORIGINATE?
A simple answer would be from the World Mission Society Church of God, also known as the Church of God, which is a new religious movement that began in South Korea in 1964 led by Joo-Cheol Kim. Accordingly to WikiPedia, the church believes in God the Father and God the Mother, claiming to be restoring the truth and practices of the early Church. Because the Bible mentions “the Spirit and the bride” in Revelation 22:17, the Church believes that the bride is God the Mother. Its interpretation of Genesis 1:26–27’s use of “us” and “our” has two gods: a male image of God and a female image of God. It calls the female image of God “God the Mother” and teaches that in the last days, God the Mother has to appear on earth in the flesh. The Church believes that God the Mother is Jang Gil-ja, the source of Mother.”
 
A rather bizarre observation is that the church also believes that Jesus was to come a second time in the flesh. They believe that Ahn Sahng-hong is the Second Coming Jesus, who came with a new name (Revelation 3:11–12 and Revelation 2:17), and it states that he fulfilled biblical prophecies that only Jesus could have fulfilled.
 
Some of these teachings were later carried out by Eric Butterworth who originated the Spiritual Therapy Workshops. In his book titled “Discover the Power Within You” published 1968, Eric introduces his audience to a concept called “Christ Consciousness” which is a more extremist approach to the World Mission Society Church of God. He talks about human beings being aware of their power which is equal to God’s. Jesus Christ is totally diminished in the plan of redemption for humanity.
 
The emergence of the New Age Movement making rounds in America and other developing countries in the world teaches that “The coming of this Master teacher 2,000 years ago was a milestone in the journey that marked a great acceleration in the process of moving back to alignment with the Light within. This master teacher was known as Jesus Christ. The man Jesus was a perfect child of the Goddess and God energy–just as we all are perfect children of the God-force.”
 
Oprah Winfrey who is part of the New Age Movement also believes that while Christianity is a valid way to achieve high states of spirituality, it must not be considered a unique way, or a “correct way,” nor is Jesus the only way. Oprah’s god is all about love and higher consciousness; she does not subscribe to the teaching that Almighty God is also holy, jealous, and just. Oprah also believes and teaches millions of her followers that Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven or to God. This teaching is embodied within the Christ Consciousness.
 
Some of the shocking definitions of Christ Consciousness by the New Age Movement folks:
 
“The “Christ” itself refers to the Light that we are – the Self, the Atman, the Buddha nature, the Child of God, pearl of great price, treasure buried in a field, measure of meal that leavened the whole loaf, or mustard seed that grew into a great tree. The “Christ” is the “particle” of the Formless that is placed in the womb of Shakti, the Holy Spirit, who is the Divine Mother, mater, matter. (Note the Trinity here of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or Brahman, Atman, and Shakti – or, for that matter, Osiris, Isis and Horus.)”
 
 
DOES CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS LEAD PEOPLE TO CHRIST AS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN?
 
John 14:6-7 NIV
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
 
If we were to look into the two in comparison, we would note that they differ vehemently and do not mix at all. If we are Christians, we should all believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life (see John 3:16). The idea that we can look inside and believe in ourselves without the support of God’s influence in our lives is a total distortion of God’s word.
 
If we deny Jesus’ deity, there is no way we can ever believe in the six elementary doctrines of Christ as taught in Hebrews 6. Christ Consciousness is thus a blasphemy to the Christian Faith and is not in-sync with God’s word! Looking at the trends of this movement, I conclude by saying that Christ Consciousness on is a silent New Age Atheism. With the above-mentioned history and understanding of Christ Consciousness, we can rightly conclude that it does not lead people to Christ, but to themselves as self-saviours.
 
UNTIL WHEN WILL ATHEISTS TEACH US HOW TO UNDERSTAND GOD AND JESUS? UNTIL WHEN WILL WE ALLOW ATHEISTS EMBED THEIR BELIEFS INTO OUR FAITH? UNTIL WHEN SAINTS?
 
1 John 5:13 NIV
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

We’re hungry and angry

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There’s a very thin line between hunger and anger…

My intention is not be controversial, nor frighten you, but imagine a day in the future were black people carried pistols with them waiting for a dispute between them and white people to occur. What do you think would happen to the white community in South Africa? Pause for a moment and allow me to talk about our (black people’s) frustrations.

A sad reality I have come to acknowledge is that, we (black people) are walking ticking time bombs waiting for a perfect moment to explode. It is almost as if we have put traps on every white person and cry “racist”. Just look around you and see what I mean. You can even hear it from the tone of our voices each time we speak about white people. We are an angry people. A broken people.

In a conversation I had with a friend on Twitter, I asked her to reflect on the rage we have a black people and in her response, she said “We [Black People] have been mistreated for a long time. Families dismantled, men and women killed, raped, moved from their land. That anger is justified.”

Everything happening to us today, is a manifestation of our bottled emotions filled with animosity and rage. The years of pain, torture, humiliation and intimidation. At times, we hide it through our smiles and that hope of saying “everything will be okay one day”, but motivation and reality are two worlds apart. We wake up each day to a reality that we are still hungry, and our hunger has gradually turned into anger. The thought that at one point in our history, our hard-earned resources have been stripped away from us. Emotions are further boiled when we think about the current government we put in power is snailing down the programme redistribution of land and other resources.

The Krugersdorp Spur Squabble

In the morning of the Human Rights Day (21 March 2017), we woke up to a video that went viral on social media about a case of a black woman and a white male who were in a heated quarrel at a Spur food outlet in Krugersdorp. Apparently, the fight emanates from their children’s fight which led the man approaching the woman at her table. Unfortunately, the video does not provide us with much information about where the argument began and I believe that it is pivotal to our analysis to reach a conclusion whether there was any racial slurs from the white man. We are only shown when the two are in a serious exchange of words with vulgar thrown from all angles.

There has been an issue of racism attached to the white man’s approach and different scenarios have been painted by the public in their eagerness to find racial undertones. Some of them include;

  • If the woman was white, he wouldn’t have spoken to the lady in that manner
  • If the child was who fought with his child was white, he wouldn’t have reacted the way he did

Speaking on Power FM’s Power Perspective with Vuyo Mvoko on 21 March, Gushwell Brooks representing the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) had this to say “Unfortunately we can’t necessarily read race into/or it was necessarily race inspired the confrontation and that doesn’t make it less grievous. The incident was terribly horrible and needs to be condemned on all possible levels because I don’t think a woman should be confronted in such a violent way no matter what the dispute, especially if we can see that this man had a violent intend…” Gushwell who is the Communications Co-Ordinator at SAHRC continued to say that “We need to remind ourselves that the South African Human Rights Commission works within the law – within the ombuds of the law, whether we are comfortable with it or not, the unfortunate fact of the matter is we have to work with evidence. Based on the video, and my emphasis is on the video because that’s the only public record that actually exist, there was no overt exchange or statement from the man that indicates that this was racially driven. In-fact the dispute (if you watch the video), is around children. Supposedly bullying around children…

If the man was to ask everyone who are calling him “racist” and said “Prove to me by law that that I was being racist”, unfortunately no one will have the legal grounds to say that indeed he was racist. My limited understanding of the law informs me that the nature of the law depends on evidence. It is just unfortunate (as much as many black people wish it was all racial) that the incident does not (in any form or shape) suggest that the man was being racist. Even if the lady shouted “Just because I’m black…” and “you f***** racist” to the white man, fact of the matter is that the man didn’t suggest that he was being racist. However if we were to measure the man’s wrong-doing based on violent behaviour, we could be having a different conversation altogether. As far as my minimal legal knowledge is concerned, in the the video shared nothing suggests that the man was being racist. By the look of things, the man was being his normal self (bully) who needs to start attending anger management classes. Here, we are dealing with a case of violence and intimidation. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the case has nothing to do with race.

On Helen Zille’s Tweets

Were we too quick to judge Helen’s tweets?
My offices in Pretoria are right at the church square. One afternoon during lunch, I walked out with a colleague to get food and observed the buildings around us and reached a conclusion that there are some good story to tell about colonialism. As inhuman as the system was, there are few elements we can appreciate about the system. I share the same views about the ANC. I’m not a fan of the organisation, but there are few elements I can appreciate about their work towards developing this country and for that, we need to constantly admire.

The other day I listened to a conversation between three old black men who were complaining about the current political and social setup. They were all echoing their frustrations and sharing their admiration of the apartheid system which in their words was far better than the current system led by our very own black people. They gave clear examples of some of the developmental initiatives that the apartheid system came with and emphasised that things are worse. To my surprise, these are the same old men who said “maburu ne ale sehlogo” (Boers were very ruthless) earlier on in the conversation. For a moment, I struggled to understand how one system can both be ruthless and good at the same time. But when I read what I Helen tweeted, I didn’t jump to attack her, I chose to wait for her to finish talking in order to understand the context in which she was basing her statements from. Unfortunately tweets are only 140 characters and you can’t explain yourself properly even if you were given another change. Once a tweet is out, it is out! Your reputation is on the line.

But why are we angry and when/where did it all begin?
Are we both (black and white people) tired of pretending to each other? Have we tolerated each other enough to a point that we are now tired of pretending? Surely the reconciliation programme since 1994 has serious cracks, and they are rapidly surfacing 23 years later. But who’s to blame for the evident failure of the programme? Did the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Surely there’s great lessons to be learned outside the TRC. Maybe we need to go back to the points of discussion and the compromises made. Maybe that’s where our anger started.

It is sad to see my fellow black people going around with red pens, finding faults in every statement white people make. Everything bad done by white people has turned into a race issue. The media is doing a very good job of fueling the fire by raising the past injustices in their reporting. “Because I’m black and you’re white…” line is rapidly growing within our daily conversations. Our anger towards white people distract us from being objective in calling out wrong-doing. Our anger is confusing clouding our judgement and reasoning towards issues.

I beg not to be misunderstood in my stance. I am in no way supporting whites. My argument is not to dismiss the evident fact that there is white supremacy in our society. All I am saying is that we are so angry to a point that we keep turning every incident into racial disputes which is depriving us from the opportunity to see other whites as human beings. We are promoting black versus white instead of seeing each other as one human race. Yes, let us call out and shame all racists, but careful not to incite violence in our approach.

The 2008 and recent xenophobic attacks suggests to us that we are both hungry and angry. We have turned our anger towards people of our own skin colour. We are afraid to confront the people with economical power and have turned our anger to our African brothers and sisters. Our hunger for land is turning us into monsters who are ready to devour everything around us even if it means killing each other. The increasingly service delivery and the #FeesMustFall protests say a lot about our hunger problem. Maybe Mmusi Maimane was correct after all; “we are a broken nation.”

I dream of a day when we (black people) turn our anger towards coming up with real and tangible solutions to the pertinent issues we are faced with. We do have the power to change our circumstances. Our disunity and tribal egos are getting the best of us. Anger is not the solution to our hunger. Let’s put our brains together and find solutions!

The State of Credit Capture – Secure in Credit Comfort

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The system was designed in such way that we no longer see buying things cash as wise. There’s a credit culture it has created. A culture of having without owning. A culture of borrowing without wanting to borrow. We’re locked up for life. If you think about it, you’ll realise how inhuman this system is.

Look around you. If walls could speak they’ll tell you how the system destroyed family (especially the black family). The family unit has been crushed because the system demands blood, sweat and tears. It needs us to work for credit. Since when was it correct for us to get excited when we qualify for credit? What went wrong?

The system mocks and discards those who can afford to purchase without using credit. It romentise credit and protects those who qualify until they are unable to feed it.

It almost seems and feels weird for one not to be in debt. We have normalised what is abnormal. We aren’t afraid to swim in a pool of debt. Sadly, our wealth creation is in the intensive care unit (ICU) surviving on oxygen drips yet we preach “economic freedom in our lifetime.” We March to banks on Monday for the Apartheid money “they owe our government” and then run to them to get credit on Tuesday morning. We’re trapped in the system.

“Come on in and get a discount when you join us.” – the famous line said by those who are also trapped in the system. The most disturbing reality is that we are beginning to believe in this fable. It’s a hoax! It’s a trap. It’s all lies. Oh, I forgot that we know all that. We know it all. We know that we are captured and “mara re tla reng.”

What’s wrong with Haiti?

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A century ago, US troops invaded and occupied a small country called Haiti. They stayed there for almost two decades, installed a client government, imposed new laws and fought insurgents in bloody battles on difficult terrain. Thousands of residents perished during what turned out to be 19 years of ‘de facto U.S. rule’.
 
Today, many Americans think of Haiti as a country that is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake, but fewer realise that it’s recovering from an invasion that took place in 1915 which resulted in their state president being assassinated.
 
Americans had stepped in under the guise of dismantling anarchy and fostering democracy. But in reality, two things drove their actions: a desire to curb Haiti’s economy and government in a direction that was more in line with their own and concern over imperialist interest from France and Germany. U.S. leaders soon pressured the Haitian legislature to elect a new pro-American president, Philippe Sudré Dartiguenave.
 
When we look at Haiti’s current challenges, we often overlook the bigger problem it has been facing since 1915 and that is Americans invading another country to extract it’s minerals and imposing laws and dictating presidential elections. We are just not looking deeper into the crisis Haiti is facing. We are simply ignoring the overwhelming and most visible facts of Haiti’s real challenges. In an article I published in 2013, I go even deeper to question “are the so called natural disasters really natural?” is my quest to understand the challenges facing Haiti.
 
What you must know is that around 2,400 sq km of northern Haiti – or about 8% of the surface of the entire country – could be ripped away from local farmers and given to US and Canadian companies. In 2012, the mineral wealth for this area, which includes gold, copper and silver, was estimated to be worth more than $20bn.
 
Alarmingly, some contracts have been granted behind closed doors, without scrutiny or participation by Haitian civil society or parliament. Opening this kind of opportunity to foreign investors without proper laws, enforcement and transparency in place has created much anger among the population and some politicians alike.
 
What is happening to the citizens of Haiti is an emotional and traumatic experience. We cannot deny the evident pain the people of Haiti are facing, but we can’t keep quiet about the underlying issues that America has with Haiti. If a government is destabilised, it cannot control or prevent the disasters it finds itself in and that is where Haiti finds itself.
 
I will continue to pray for Haiti, but I also want America to leave Haiti alone.

June month events and the bubble gum youth development

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As painful as this may sound for my fellow cadres, this country’s political leadership doesn’t really grasps the idea of sustainable development. What’s more weird is that we are also beginning to accept it as a perfect norm. Reality is; our leaders are not obsessed with delivering excellent initiatives that bring about real empowerment for the youth. Youth development has been reduced to some one-hit-wonders. I truly fear for the lives of my fellow young people as we gradually move towards the local municipal elections.

Over the years of being in the youth development space, there are couple of personal and corporate lessons I have harnessed which I will always cherish. However there are also some challenges I have encountered with the system of development in the country which I believe that this short thought piece will highlight only a single aspect of the bigger problem.

One big monster slowing down and crippling youth development SA is “a lack of political.” Holy Scriptures advises us that “where there is a will, there is a way.” I think one perfect example to show that our leaders lack a political will to address matters of national importance is with the #FeesMustFall movement. The movement was literally silenced and has become a subject of the past. There’s really no hope for us to look forward to free education in our lifetime. There’s this new culture within our leaders of becoming defensive in their response to real challenges facing young people. This you can see it in parliament when they respond to even simple questions. Honestly? I feel hopeless to carry out any social cause.

Having been to many offices seeking support from government, I believe that it is safe for me to say that the only problem slowing down youth development in the country is the lack political will. One can spend six months meeting local, provincial and national officials seeking assistance and still be left helpless.

In a country where more than 60% of the population is youth, you would really think that the main focus of government initiatives would be to enhance lives of millions of young people. One would think that the biggest focus of government’s programmes are aimed at addressing many challenges young people face.

With over 54 million South Africans, 18.5% who are between the ages 10-19; and 24 per cent are aged 15-24, we know that indeed South Africa’s population is largely made up of young people. It is just unfortunate that some of the current policies and programmes are far from addressing socio-economic development of the youth. They seem to be youth-focused, but the reality is that they are worlds apart from the youth development agenda.

The problem with the current political leadership in South Africa is their obsession with “one hit wonders”. Their minds are geared towards events which tend to push certain political agendas instead of crafting sustainable programmes. They would rather spend millions in a single event than financing a well-thought feasible programme that will create sustainable opportunities and address the three major challenges many South Africans face (poverty, unemployment and inequality). It is improper to sit in conferences, indabas and endless summits each week discussing stuff we will never implement.

One famous line from these leaders “this is a good programme, however we don’t have a budget for that. We are trying to cut costs in our department. Please try us in our next financial year…” has left many development practitioners helpless. Sadly, our leaders will always have a budget to finance an event that will be used to rally around and make them seem to be doing something on the ground, especially when media is there to cover the “the good stories to tell.”

This bad habit of only carrying out youth events in the month of June creates wrong perceptions in society that youth development is only about having a youth-focused event on the 16th of June. Such tendencies needs to be uprooted in our leadership and dealt with. A commemoration of an event can never equate to advocacy of sustainable youth development in a country.

Youth development should never be mistaken for a one-night-stand or a bubble gum you chew and throw away once it loses its flavour. It will not take one occasion to develop 60% of the population of this country. Government needs to look into supporting some innovative and sustainable youth development programmes that will impact millions of young people in a positive manner.

This country doesn’t only need new ideas, but it also needs a political will from those who hold strategic positions in government to support youth development practitioners in all their efforts to ease up their work-load.

Will Malema root out emotional voters?

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I believe that every revolution starts with a single thought. A thought turned into an idea manifests into a belief that the masses are willing to die for. Like it or not, Mr Julius Sello Malema has deliberately planted a single but yet big thought in our minds that many black people in South Africa are now beginning to ask themselves: “Did Tata actually sell us out or not?”

Whoever is behind Mr Malema, is very strategic. That individual has mastered the tactics of the ANC and the art of hitting it hard where it hurts. Clearly it cannot be Malema. There’s obviously someone at a very tactical level influencing the things that Malema says in public. We must admit that Malema recently sounds like a well trained CIA agent with a clear mission.

In all honesty, there’s nothing new and special that Malema said about Mandela. Truth is, people speak about it all the time in their private spaces and they debate about it to pass time over a chill session with friends. Malema was just the first, prominent public figure to boldly say it without fear or favour. We choose to laugh the subject off by saying “you know that Mandela is a no-go-zone. The man was a saint.”

For years, the ANC has been using the iconic image of Madiba to win hearts of millions of South Africans in efforts to hit home runs at every election. The famous statement “Do it for Madiba” in their campaigns has been their signature note to convince the masses to put an X next to their leaders at every election.

This of course has been carefully mastered and showcased by their media strategy of glorifying the late struggle hero which tends to put him as the only Super Man who “saved us from 300+ years of oppression.” And they will always remind us that he was ANC. All the documentaries and films televised prior to every election captures our emotions and draws our hearts to the “liberation movement” that “our parents used to fight for the freedom we now enjoy.”

Working in the youth and community development space, I have listened to many black South Africans who tend to feel that the Madiba brand has been abused. Speaking to some young people, they feel that “Mandela has been glorified as some sort of a deity, snatching away God’s title and role in society.”

Every revolution has a leader. That leader is usually considered a hero and later exalted as a deity. History has taught us that we [human beings] have done it with Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammed and other leaders. Mandela was not a special case, we also magnified him.

In his recent media briefing, Malema emphasized a strong point that he does not belong to “a Mandela religion.” This is through his observation that the world has created a religion out of Mandela. It now worships and bows down at the very mention of his name. As a result, we created fear in ourselves to even carefully study and criticise Mandela’s political leadership.

Malema’s counter-strategy of hitting hard at the Madiba Legacy and questioning the very thing that most people believe Madiba robbed us from, was not only brave but very strategic. Malema posed a very big question which most of us have been asking ourselves “What really happened to the Mandela who stood up for nationalisation even after coming of out of prison?”

As we are approaching the 2016 municipal elections, the ANC will still apply the “Do it for Madiba” strategy to many of us who are “politically bankrupt” and the millions of poverty stricken people in South Africa. It is a no-brainer that free t-shirts and food parcels will still be the order of the day, after all, poverty has increased. Nothing is new under the political sun.

What the ANC is failing to understand is that the voter is becoming more educated and mature in putting an X next to any face. This is a biggest threat to the ruling party that has, for years been blessed with millions of “emotional voters” who have secured them majority of seats in parliament. Will that change in the future? Only time will tell.

We might be debating whether Malema was correct or not to say that Mandela compromised his principles and sold out the revolution, but what matters now is that Agent Malema has accomplished stage one of his mission to root out emotional voters in South Africa.

ANC DJ Sbu

Would the ANC take a bullet for DJ Sbu?

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Sibusiso Leope, famously known as DJ Sbu has become a “weekend special” for the tabloids. It has become more predictable as to who’s making the front page of Sunday World. Is this a PR Strategy from him or a deliberate public image sabotage? We can never know (for now), but what need to ask ourselves is would the African National Congress (ANC) take a bullet for him?

As a stalwart to “the movement” [ANC], Sbu has paraded green and yellow colours in the public domain showing his undying love for the movement. We’ve seen during the 2014 elections urging millions of young people to vote for the ANC. He used his media power and influence to get millions of young people to tell the good stories the ANC has done for them.

The proudly Tembisa raised, multitalented business man has recently come under more fire for offending the law on different occasions. Seeing the many problems he’s facing, some have jokingly said “you can never call Limpopians idiots and get away with it.” One tends to wonder if Sbu brought all this drama to his life or it is karma dealing with him. Oh well, maybe that’s none of our business but what’s more questionable is the silence of the ANC which he is forever advocating for.

A nation without heroes, fails its hopeless youths

Remember Bonginksosi Dlamini? The man who made hundreds of young South African’s dreams come true in just 3 days? Bonginkosi also known as Zola 7 has inspired many of us to dream and never stop dreaming. He has used him media influence to touch lives of kasi youths. What happened to him was just unfortunate. What we should be afraid of is DJ Sbu following suit. Lord knows how badly our youth need another Zola to ignite their broken and stolen dreams.

DJ Sbu motivates and inspires thousands of learners in public schools every month. He gives out bursaries to learners through his foundation and empowers entrepreneurs with his entrepreneurship seminars. Regardless of the many scandals and bad things he might have done, to thousands (if not millions) he remains a hero. Sadly, his heroic crown to the many hopeless youths might be stolen each time they read the papers about him.

What happens when the brotherhood neglects its own?

What is the point of being part of a brotherhood that cannot take a bullet for you, when it has taken hundreds of bullets for other members? Do you stop being a member when it fails to support you or do you just keep on loving it because it brought you economic liberation?

It goes without saying that the ANC has undying support for certain key individuals in their organisation. Sadly, that is not the case with all those who wear the green and yellow colours with pride. DJ Sbu is one of them who haven’t received much support recently.

Seeing all the drama between the SABC and DJ Sbu, I was reminded of Julius Malema’s words in 2012 after being booted out of the ANC Youth League. He said “We are used like toilet paper that is flushed in the toilet. We are used like condoms – those who use condoms will know how condoms work, they use them and they throw them [away] somewhere else.” Sbu’s recent Facebook posts suggests a great frustration in his life. I do feel Sbu’s frustration which led him to decide to go continue to study so that he can come back to lead the ANC-led SABC.

Having been part of organisations for 6 years, I have learned that every leader is protected by his/her followers (members of the organisation). Some protect their leader even when he/she is evidently wrong. Some feel obliged to support the leader or face the axe. They make organisational decisions with their salaries, families, and future in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting/condoning irresponsible behaviour and bad leadership. All I’m saying that it would be good to see the ANC being an organisation that can stand for all its members and protect them at all cost.

Some of the many reasons that makes me despise the ANC its inability to protect and preserve black talent. ANC that claims to advocate for black lives, fails to understand that black lives matter as well. If the ANC doesn’t do something to help DJ Sbu, there won’t be any “good story to tell” about his life a year from now. All the good work he is doing will be covered up by the bad ones we’re constantly reading about.

DJ Sbu is not like the prodigal son who left home, he is still loyal to his home. It is hard to believe that his home is loyal to him.

Dear ANC, this youth month please take at least one bullet for DJ Sbu to save millions of hopeless youths who are inspired by his life.

South Africa’s fascination with America

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SA and USASouth Africans have this great fascination with Americans and it always camouflages under statements such as “they are international”, “they did it first”, “they are part of the first world countries”. Honesty? I am not moved by any of those statements.

City of Tshwane’s fascination with Nicki Minaj and Minister of Fun (Fikile Mbalula)’s fascination with Beyonce has cost us millions and they all say “it is good for business”. I then ask why our tourism in Kruger National Park has generated millions since 2013 and you never see American musicians perform there? Are we running out of business ideas and in turn feed our fascination?

Admittedly so, I too used to be fascinated by Americans. I listened to their music, I watched their movies, I read their books and did almost everything in the name of living “The American Dream” in South Africa. I dreamt of being in America. I sometimes imitated their [funny] accent in an attempt to be one with them you know what I’m sayin’? Well that didn’t follow logic when I started reading about America and learning the historical and political history about it.

The warm welcome and massive cheers Barack Obama received when he entered FNB stadium at the memorial of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 was a clear indication of undying love South Africans have for America – not that it is new. And No, it is not because it was Barack Obama – the first black president in America. Not that he did anything different from George Bush’s administration. In fact, he worsened matters when he stepped in.

Thousands cheered as he made what some considered to be “one of the most inspirational messages ever.” We are quick to forget who America is and what it stands for. This is the same president who inspired his troops to kill more Iraq people during his first term of office in the name of defending his country as explained in his famous statement “we will do everything in our power to protect our own. Any person or country that threatens us will be taken down.” which made Americans grow bigger heads.

Reverend Chikane in his book “Things that could not be said. From AIDS to Zimbabwe”, he questions this great fascination (almost obsession) we have with America saying “we forget that this is the same country that was supporting the Apartheid government.”

Just yesterday, a complaint was raised by a South African rapper Refiloe Maele “Cassper Nyovest” Phoolo on why Woolworths SA chose Pharrell Williams aka Mr Happy (who was recently found guilty for stealing Marvin Gaye’s beat) as their campaign ambassador over many brilliant South African musicians (him included), the young man was butchered with vulgar words by his own people who even support his music. Their defense? “Shut up and calm down, you are not there yet. Pharrell is better than you.” I read the many comments from various media houses. If Cassper was in a debate, the poor guy would be ridiculed to the core. He wouldn’t face the public after the debate. Like comrade Jesus, “I wept.”

I guess people have a right to call Cassper a hypocrite since he now collaborates with Americans he admired whilst growing up, but that’s beside the point. My point is that we are so quick to protect Americans than our own. I will not even speak about the recent xenophobic attacks on our very own African whilst many European, Asian and American foreigners are busy rapping our economy and everyone is not complaining about it. That’s a topic for another day (I will address it).

Comrade Jesus’ words that “…no prophet is accepted in his own country.” (Luke 4:24 KJV) is correct, however Americans have made it a point that they protect their own no matter what. No artist will be famous outside their borders without being known by millions within their states.

Remember Ebola? When their own (Americans) were infected, prominent figures like Donald Trump were using their social media campaigning to Barack Obama by posting short clips requesting him to protect their own people. I wonder if we would do the same considering that we recently failed with the TB Joshua saga. What a shame of a nation we have become.

It was not long when teens in townships paraded on the streets with American flags printed on their clothes. It was “cool” for them to wear the flag so much that they posted pictures on their social media profiles. The Kendrick Lamar haircuts we saw and the many Barbies (Nicki Minaj) who organised twerking events in the cities. We saw all that and as elders we were so excited and continued to fund their American Parades without thinking twice.

And then there is Sibusiso “DJ Sbu” Leope. Oh South Africa, have mercy. These past few days I have said on my Facebook page that if the ANC truly loved DJ Sbu the way they protect number 1, they would do everything in their power to protect him no matter how wrong he is.

Folks think we don’t see the many Americans coming to South Africa in Sandton doing seminars funded by South African companies and government, using our public broadcasting platforms when our own are still unknown by millions of South Africa.

When will we stop with this fascination? The fact that they have better equipment than us doesn’t make them more talented than us. Until we nurture and protect our talent, we will still sing their songs boldly with every line of their lyrics than knowing our very own National Anthem. I mean the black South Africans who stumble on the Afrikaans verse and the Afrikaans who stumble on the Sotho verse of our National Anthem.

I wonder if there is one American who knows full lyrics of one artist in Mzansi.

The struggle to define our own struggle

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It was Frantz Fenon who once said “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” The youth of ’76 were able to conquer the Bantu Education System because they had one clear mission. Victory was achieved also when the thousands of women across South Africa who marched to the union buildings on the 9th of August 1956. They were also victorious because they had one clear mission. The question posed to us is “Have we [ordinary citizens] identified our own struggle in this generation? What will tell our grandchildren when they ask us about our struggle?” We remain divided in our thinking.

The famously quoted, Russian communist and political theorist – Vladimir Lenin observed that “one of the chief symptoms of every revolution is the sharp and sudden increase in the number of ordinary people who take an active, independent and forceful interest in politics.” In light of recent events, quite a large pool of young people in the country have been showing an increasing interest in politics. Argued by some, this interest is propagated by an influx of corruption that we are exposed to on our media platforms.

According to Lenin, wherever you see an ordinary man [person] on the ground start engaging into politics and being politically active, that is a symptom of a revolution.

It all started in the ANC Youth League when the radical young people first spoke of “economic freedom in our lifetime”. This ideology carried on to become the foundation upon which the new kid in politics – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was formed. YES, I am all in favour of obtaining economic freedom in my lifetime, however the following are some of the many questions I have been battling with lately:

1. Have we clearly defined our own struggle?
2. What does economic freedom look like in our generation?
3. Does “The Global System” allow us become economically free or is it just another far-fetched dream?

I asked one radical gentlemen a week ago to paint me picture of what economic freedom in our country would look like. To my shock, he was unable to pin-point some of the basic things would actually affirm to us that we have achieved economic freedom apart from the land issue.

I would like to believe that we got the vision correct when saying that “we are fighting for economic freedom in our lifetime”, however do we have a clear mission on how to attain it? What are the strategic measures in place to aid us in achieving our vision? Is our mission going to be a multifaceted approach inclusive of both political, religious and social systems? How do the champions of this vision going to clearly articulate the mission to the ordinary citizen on the ground?

Allow me to introduce you to three types of young people in South Africa who all believe that they are economically free:

Person A

This person lives in the townships and rural areas with a family of 5. He believes that if he has a job paying at least R3 000 per month, then he is economically free.

Person B

Person B is a young person living in the flats, earning roughly R12 000 per month. He is able to do more of the things that person A cannot. He also believes that he is economically free.

Person C

Person C is a young person living in the suburbs, in a house owned by the bank. Person C walks away with roughly R20 000 per month. He is able to do more than what person A&B can and he too believes that he is economically free.

Now looking into all the three people, who according to you is really economically free? Keep in mind that all these people do not own a company, land, or industries (e.g. the media, manufacturing, mining, etc.).

Over the weekend, I was wrestling with understanding the words of Kanye West in his recent interview on BBC Radio One when he said “The new form of racism is CLASS.” He continued to explain that; we live in a society that is segregated to the core. We have 1) the poor, 2) those that think they are middle class, 3) the middle class, 4) those who envy the elite and 5) the elite. All these are greatly divided and as a result, thus disabling us to establish any form of communication around this topic. The gap keeps widening up daily.

What is economic freedom? Does it mean that we must own land? Does it mean that I need to work at the largest company in Sandton or does it mean that I need to have means of survival on a daily basis? We need to answer these questions.

I believe that as a young nation, we need to sit down to have conversation around what does it really mean to become economically free. Until we clearly understand what that means to us, we will not be able to have a clear mission to achieve it and thus we will betray our generation as Fenon said. Our children and grandchildren will call us failures.

Let’s take it upon ourselves to have our own struggle. Define it clearly and find ways to conquer it.

Let’s have these conversations
Twitter @abutirams

Inequality in the church: Obedience or Ignorance?

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Church Toilets

Church Toilets

Does the bible promote inequality in churches?

…and God said, “Go ye forth, milking dry the springs of prosperity from all peoples and nations. Take from the poor, prey on the sick, and manipulate the needy. In this manner, each may have jet planes, mansions, and shiny jewels according to the strength of his hustle and depth of his compromise…”

If you are a not a frequent reader of the bible, you might assume that there is such a scripture. Truth is, that is what many of the Christians leaders around the world consciously practice.

The Prosperity Gospel (originally known as Seed Faith) began as what could be considered a “grift” (scam) that took shape in the early to mid 50s through tent meetings that moved from town to town, and city to city, in a procession of eighteen wheeler trucks. It initially attached itself to the Pentecostal movement who were excited to hear about the advertised claims of miracles that would happen at these tent meetings – the precursors to the cleaner looking multimillion dollar “healing and miracle” events of today.

In the early 2000s, we witnessed a staggering increase of these men and women who are drawing millions of Christians around the world to believe that they are superior beings “ordained”, “highly spirit-led” men and women of God who deserve better than what their congregants have.

This teaching is adopted from the misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 9:14 and 1 Timothy 5:17 and has led many into despair and an increasing poverty in their homes. Yes the bible teaches that we need to honour our leaders, but the bible doesn’t say that “you should take all your money, and you will see what the Lord will do for you.”

During some of my engagements with many believers in the Christian faith, I always alert them that in order to understand any scripture in the bible, one needs to first insulate themselves with the Holy Spirit and also take heed of the context and settings thereof. When, where, who and to whom the message is said determines how it will be received and perceived.

One popular scripture used by church leaders in trying to justify their self-proclaimed superiority over congregants is Ephesians 4:11-12 where Apostle Paul writers “And he [Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints [us], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” The scripture is very clear and needs no effort to understand. It says that the church and society at large is given these five-fold ministries in order to empower us to become better people. Notice that the Paul says “for the perfecting of the saints” and “for the edifying of the body of Christ” which simply means they are tasked to perfect [empower] us and not us perfecting [empowering] them.

Let’s say you sell oranges on the street and each bag has 15 oranges. You then decide to take out 5 out of the bag and leave the rest 10 inside. The 5 oranges are used for display and advertising purposes to lure potential clients. When you have 5 oranges outside, does it mean they transform into mangoes? Do they change what they are now that they are outside the bag? No! It simply means that the 5 are given a much greater task than the 10. They are supposed to take care of the 10 in the bag. Hence Paul continued to say “For the perfecting of the saints [us not them], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12 KJV).

So then, we now know that these folks are tasked to make sure that we lack nothing. But that has changed in our society. Sadly, pastors are regarded as the most important people in the church that the congregants themselves.

Early 2014 I heard from a close pastor of a con artist who was visiting a couple of local Pentecostal churches claiming to be a prophet of God sent to assist them with musical instruments. This man robbed pastors and even kidnapped one of them. I partly blame these “men of God” for not being able to “discern” the fella’s crooked ways. He used cajolery, deception, and manipulation to get what he wants from gullible church leaders.

What I’ve learned about humans is that most of us are so desperate for success to a point that we can do literally anything to attain it. Anything can go extreme. We are caught up in the “he/she has this and that. I also need to have it.” We never understand what people had to go through in order to become successful. We’re just looking for instant means to get rich. Be cautious of fraudsters posing as ministers and preachers of the word who deliberately prey on the insecurities of people by acting as though they know things that their followers cannot know.

In his brilliant song titled Royalty, Mali Music writes “Wolf in sheep’s clothing with a cross on his chest. Taking people’s money, and promising them to be blessed”

I want you to ask yourself: “Am I being obedient to God when I keep giving all my belongings to these ministers or am I deliberately ignorant?” If you buy your pastor a car ‘cause “God said so” when your neighbour slept with an empty stomach, then I have a problem with your God. Highly anointed people will use their anointing to make money in an earnest but not by guileful manner (emphasis added throughout).

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Paul’s profound words in Galatians 6:6-10 that the “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.” Therefore we are all equal and we all deserve the Mercedes Benz, private jets, and special treatment as the bible teaches in Romans 12:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:12 about the body of Christ.