In a letter from Fr General Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior-General of the Society of Jesus, and Fr Antoine Kerhuel, S.J., secretary of the Society, dated Monday, 8 June 2020, the Feast of St Jacques Berthieu, S.J., it was announced that the new Southern African Province of the Society of Jesus, comprising of the nine territories of the Republics of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia,  Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and the Kingdoms of Lesotho, and Eswatini will be established on Thursday, 25 March 2021, in:

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- Mahadi Buthelezi

Mary, assumed into Heaven, your Fiat is our fiat

On 15 August, Catholics from around the world celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mahadi Buthelezi reflects how this feast day can inspire South Africans, and women specifically, to entrust our country and ourselves to Our Lady.

South Africa was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of the Assumption in 1952. In this women’s month as we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven, we are also reminded of her joy upon receiving the news that she would bear a son who would be the saviour of the world, her sorrow of seeing her son being crucified, and seeing God’s Glory in the resurrection of her son, and finally her glorious assumption into heaven.

Continue reading Mary, assumed into Heaven, your Fiat is our fiat at spotlight.africa.

- Patrick Giddy

Natural evil and God: from Voltaire’s “Candide” to Camus’ “The Plague”

Every age has its cataclysm and every generation asks how a loving God can permit suffering. The COVID-19 pandemic has so far killed just under 700,000 people worldwide and brought untold suffering by way of sickness, death, financial distress, and hunger. This prompts us once again to ask: Where is God? Patrick Giddy introduces two philosophers from different generations who grappled with this age-old question.

There is nothing like a pandemic to arouse the age-old question of God’s relationship to humankind amid human suffering.

Continue reading Natural evil and God: from Voltaire’s “Candide” to Camus’ “The Plague” at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

Beyond the spectrum of colour!

Over the past few months, we have witnessed worldwide calls for an end to racial oppression in all its forms. Social media platforms and influencers have drawn international attention to the issue of colour, often inciting further racial divisions. Anthony Adauka offers suggestions of how the Church can help communities to overcome prejudice.

Movements like the “Black Lives Matter” have placed a spotlight on the struggles of people of colour in America, following a spate of racial incidents.

Continue reading Beyond the spectrum of colour! at spotlight.africa.

- Levinia Pienaar

What a Sudanese girl taught me about Saint Maria Goretti

The life and death of Saint Maria Goretti is often told as a warning against giving in to sexual pleasure. Levinia Pienaar relates an experience during her time as an African-Union United Nations peacekeeper in Sudan, reflecting on this in the light of her experience of catechesis in her childhood parish. Her experience brings home the stark reality that girls and women are powerless to fend off their attackers.

Continue reading What a Sudanese girl taught me about Saint Maria Goretti at spotlight.africa.

- Patrick Giddy

Tradition as an antidote to liberalism and clerical abuse

Reflecting on a new book by Michel Camdessus and others entitled “Transformer L’Eglise Catholique” [Transforming the Catholic Church], Patrick Giddy explains how individualism fuels clericalism. A different approach to vocational discernment drawing on the traditions of the pre-modern Church — could stem some of the current ecclesial abuses.

Our liberal, enlightened culture prioritizes individual agency. Modern culture predicates human fulfillment on the freedom of each person to make decisions about their unique path in life.

Continue reading Tradition as an antidote to liberalism and clerical abuse at spotlight.africa.

- Jennifer Morris

‘White privilege isn’t a badge of shame — it’s a statement of fact’

The reignition of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the protests against police brutality against unarmed people of colour in the USA has caused an online storm here at home and exposed ways of thinking within our society which should worry us tremendously. Jennifer Morris, a new spotlight.africa contributor, writes.

This is my opinion. I’m not a psychologist or a sociologist. I am a fervent supporter of #BlackLivesMatter and believe that it’s long overdue.

Continue reading ‘White privilege isn’t a badge of shame — it’s a statement of fact’ at spotlight.africa.

- Ricardo da Silva SJ

South African President and Catholic Bishops address war against women and children

Following the killings of several women and children in South Africa in the past week, President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Southern African Bishops’ Conference’s Justice and Peace Commission issued strong statements calling for an end to the “war” against gender-based violence. Ricardo da Silva reports.

Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kortjie and Lindelwa Peni — these are the names of seven women murdered in the past week alone in South Africa.

Continue reading South African President and Catholic Bishops address war against women and children at spotlight.africa.

- Margaret Blackie

Your choice is not just about you. It is about all of us.

Some hospitals, especially in the Western Cape, are already under significant pressure. The announcement of the opening of casinos and restaurants does not mean we can do what we want. The sum of the actions of all of us will exacerbate that problem. Your choice is not just about you. It is about care for all writes Margaret Blackie.

The latest shift in lockdown regulations includes opening of casinos, restaurants and hair dressing salons.

Continue reading Your choice is not just about you. It is about all of us. at spotlight.africa.

- Mduduzi Qwabe and Mark Potterton

Tackling racism in South African schools

On 16 June every year, South Africa remembers the high school learners in Soweto who faced off against the apartheid security forces to demand that they be taught in their mother tongue. Twenty-six years into democracy, some schooling practices in South Africa still carry a “subtle racism” that discriminates against black learners. Mduduzi Qwabe and Mark Potterton offer practical suggestions of how schools can embrace diversity and promote true racial integration.

Structural racism and white privilege remain real concerns in the world and in South Africa.

Continue reading Tackling racism in South African schools at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

The Vatican and money: A sign of contradiction?

The international media, on 6 June 2020, ran a story about a financial scandal involving an Italian businessman and the Vatican. Mike Pothier comments on the story, pointing out that the financial dealings of the Vatican are at odds with the values of Christianity that Jesus exemplified during his earthly ministry.

A long time ago a newly-ordained bishop shared this joke with me: “How do we know that the Apostolic Succession is true?

Continue reading The Vatican and money: A sign of contradiction? at spotlight.africa.

- Shrikant Peters

Battling corruption in the South African healthcare system

South Africa is reeling from the latest corruption scandal, this time in the tender process for the procurement of COVID-19 medical supplies. Shrikant Peters explains the impact of the misappropriation of funds on the fight against the pandemic and recommends measures to hold the health sector accountable for the allocation of resources.

Reports of large-scale tender corruption in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) meant to protect the country’s healthcare workers has recently made headlines in South Africa.

Continue reading Battling corruption in the South African healthcare system at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

The need for ongoing healing from the wounds of racism

South African bishops have been condemning the presence of racism and racist attitudes for nearly 80 years. Mike Pothier reflects on the latest appeal by Bishop João Rodrigues for South Africans to continue to find healing from the “terrible sickness” of racism.

On 29 July, Bishop João Rodrigues of Tzaneen Diocese issued a pastoral letter entitled “South Africa, Racism and Healing in the Spirit of Christ,” published on the website of the Southern African Bishops’ Conference.

Continue reading The need for ongoing healing from the wounds of racism at spotlight.africa.

- Jennifer Morris

Cut the government some slack

There is a growing weariness and frustration among South Africans as the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response enter a fifth month. Jennifer Morris comments that the authorities must be held accountable for their decisions and actions, but recognises that they are facing an unprecedented crisis and do not have all the answers.

The facepalm has to be my favourite emoji at the moment.  It conveys just the right amount of incredulity and weary frustration needed to sum up my daily trawl through South African news sites.

Continue reading Cut the government some slack at spotlight.africa.

- Mahadi Buthelezi

Tribute to Andrew Mlangeni: champion against corruption

On 21 July 2020, the last remaining Rivonia trialist Andrew Mokete Mlangeni, who jailed with Nelson Mandela during the anti-apartheid struggle, died at the age of 95. Mahadi Buthelezi prays tribute to him as an example of morality and integrity, both in politics and in life.

Today we pay tribute to a fallen hero of our struggle and our moral guide. Ntate Mlangeni as he was affectionately known, stood like a soldier with an unwavering character and never compromised on issues of moral decay and degeneration.

Continue reading Tribute to Andrew Mlangeni: champion against corruption at spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

I reject ‘Cancel Culture’

Worldwide, a mixture of furore and acclaim has accompanied a strongly opinionated open letter by more than 100 respected artists, thinkers and writers who criticize what has been termed as “cancel culture.” Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya sees the merits of their arguments, explaining that this trend has a tendency to label people based on a single transgression.

When 153 world-renowned authors, artists and academics wrote a letter decrying what they see as the overreaching elements of “cancel culture,” I was encouraged and emboldened.

Continue reading I reject ‘Cancel Culture’ at spotlight.africa.

- Stan Muyebe OP

The R5 billion silicosis settlement is a victory, but miners’ struggle for justice continues

The 26 July settlement to compensate former miners who contracted lung diseases is a victory that merits celebration. Stan Muyebe warns, however, that those affected will draw direct benefit from this ruling only if the trust charged with compensating the miners is well-managed. The Justice and Peace Commission continues to promote the transformation of the extractive industry to eliminate mining-related illnesses.

On 26 July, the Gauteng High Court approved a R5 billion settlement between gold mining companies and former mineworkers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) after working in the gold mines from 1965 onwards.

Continue reading The R5 billion silicosis settlement is a victory, but miners’ struggle for justice continues at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

Legal sanctions against public protector suggest incompetence or deliberate sabotage

The Constitutional Court has sanctioned the public protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkwebane, for abusing the position of her office in failing to report her findings in an objective manner. Legal expert Mike Pothier considers the possible reasons for the public protector’s chequered performance.

Continue reading Legal sanctions against public protector suggest incompetence or deliberate sabotage at spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

Nostalgics, not Nazis but dangerous nonetheless

The upsurge of extreme-right politics on the global stage is alarming. Chris Chatteris SJ looks at a French movement promoting a dangerous and exclusionary worldview that appears, simplistically, to be anti-migrant. But their real qualms are deeper and, perhaps, they need to be heard.

Continue reading Nostalgics, not Nazis but dangerous nonetheless at spotlight.africa.

- Peter-John Pearson

Second SONA of 2019 — offers hope, encourages resilience, lacks detail

In his assessment of the latest SONA, Peter-John Pearson, the priest-director of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, congratulates the president for his attempts at restoring hope and reinvigorating a listless nation, while warning that inspiring arias alone won't go far.

Continue reading Second SONA of 2019 — offers hope, encourages resilience, lacks detail at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

Strategic changes or missed opportunities? A look inside SA’s new cabinet

South Africa’s newly appointed cabinet is “undoubtedly an improvement” on its recent predecessors, but has President Cyril Ramaphosa’s changes been significant enough to result in the turnaround the country needs? Mike Pothier, Programme Manager at the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office takes a closer look at the new-look government.

Continue reading Strategic changes or missed opportunities? A look inside SA’s new cabinet at spotlight.africa.

- Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar

Jesuit Superiors on the situation in Cameroon

Cameroon is a country of deep-seated divisions. In particular, the English-speaking North West and South West regions have repeatedly been excluded from the political process in the mainly French-speaking country. In 2017, Anglophone separatists began attacking government institutions and civilians perceived to support the government. Government forces have responded to the attacks but have been accused of using excessive force against civilians, torture, abuse, and the destruction of homes and property in Anglophone villages.

Continue reading Jesuit Superiors on the situation in Cameroon at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

Racism, they say, is dead

Associated Press (AP) recently cropped Ugandan climate change activist, Vanessa Nakate, from a group photograph in which she appears with her peers at the World Economic Forum. Anthony Adauka SJ points out that incidents like this are not new, and are indicative of the underlying racism that continues to exist. He argues that we cannot speak about care for our common home and equality until we’ve eliminated all forms of exclusion.

“But they don’t know it is also risen, with a risen body,” replied a good friend of mine sarcastically.

Continue reading Racism, they say, is dead at spotlight.africa.

- Sarah-Leah Pimentel

Church in the Congo: The delicate balance of speaking truth to power

A statement by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accusing political groups of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country has generated controversy in the region. Sarah-Leah Pimentel examines the Church’s duty in speaking out against any form of oppression, but points out the dangers that can cloud a sound discernment in speaking truth to power.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a place of untold hardships.

Continue reading Church in the Congo: The delicate balance of speaking truth to power at spotlight.africa.

- Matthew Charlesworth SJ

In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg

On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, in commemoration of the United Nation’s Human Rights Day, the Jesuit Institute South Africa, in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), premiered their new 21-minute documentary entitled “In Another Prison? Migrants in Johannesburg.” The documentary highlights the trauma that female migrants and refugees suffer on their journey to Johannesburg as a result of gender-based violence; a chilling reminder at the close of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Continue reading In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

When love ends badly

A spate of reporting in Kenya on crimes of passion causes Anthony Aduaka to reflect on the reasons why the principles of love have become so distorted. He calls for a restoral of values and the importance of healthy relationships in the family. He adds that the church can play a pivotal role in giving young people a healthy understanding of love.

An analysis of Standard Media Kenya reveals that between April 2018 and September 2019 10 women were murdered in various circumstances after something went wrong in their relationships.  

Continue reading When love ends badly at spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

The new asceticism

Ancient ascetic ideas seem to be making a resurgence but, as Chris Chatteris reflects on an article recently published by a French sociologist of religion, it seems that it now has more secular than religious appeal.

Continue reading The new asceticism at spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Folau gives faith a bad name

Australian rugby sensation, Israel Folau and those who support his outrageous comments on social media might think that his actions make him a martyr for Christianity. For Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya, his posts make him a bigot.

Continue reading Folau gives faith a bad name at spotlight.africa.

- Ricardo da Silva SJ

WATCH — Illicit Financial Flows grow poverty in the developing world

Raymond Baker is the president of Global Financial Integrity and an international authority on financial crimes. Ricardo da Silva SJ asks about Illicit Financial Flows, their impact on developing nations and why it's important for people of faith to act.

Continue reading WATCH — Illicit Financial Flows grow poverty in the developing world at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

Tax Justice Conference ‘Dividends’

Those at the coal-face, those sitting in influential boardrooms and those who teach in prestigious lecture halls, came together to discuss the complexities of international tax justice and its link to poverty at an international conference held in Nairobi. Anthony Egan SJ takes stock.

Continue reading Tax Justice Conference ‘Dividends’ at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

The ethics of tax justice

On day two of the conference on Tax Justice, Domestic Resource Mobilization and Stemming Illicit Financial Flows in Nairobi, Kenya, the focus turned to ethics. Anthony Egan SJ, reports.

Continue reading The ethics of tax justice at spotlight.africa.

- Martin van Nierop

Querida Amazonia and the environment

The recently published Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, at surface value, focuses almost exclusively on the environment. Martin van Nierop highlights some of the passages that most clearly communicate the spirit of Querida Amazonia, but leaves us with the warning that any option for the environment is also an economic and social challenge. Ultimately, he reminds us that Pope Francis’ appeals cannot reside solely on paper, but must take shape in our hearts and lives.

Continue reading Querida Amazonia and the environment at spotlight.africa.

- Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Querida Amazonia – radical call to ecological conversion misses the boat on women.

The Pope’s eagerly awaited post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia was released on 12 February, and responds to the 6-26 October 2019 Synod on the Amazon. Dr. Annemarie Paulin-Campbell notes the general theme of inclusivity but notes that the document continues to exclude women from sacramental ministry.

I have been asked to specifically reflect on the document in relation to what it says about women. In fact the document says very little about women, as this is not its focus.

Continue reading Querida Amazonia – radical call to ecological conversion misses the boat on women. at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

Racism, they say, is dead

Associated Press (AP) recently cropped Ugandan climate change activist, Vanessa Nakate, from a group photograph in which she appears with her peers at the World Economic Forum. Anthony Adauka SJ points out that incidents like this are not new, and are indicative of the underlying racism that continues to exist. He argues that we cannot speak about care for our common home and equality until we’ve eliminated all forms of exclusion.

“But they don’t know it is also risen, with a risen body,” replied a good friend of mine sarcastically.

Continue reading Racism, they say, is dead at spotlight.africa.

- Stan Muyebe OP

The Amazon Synod and the extractive industry — lessons for the Church in Africa

The Final Document of the Amazon Synod provides, among other things, a powerful contribution to Catholic social teaching and the Church’s pastoral response to the communities directly affected by the extractive industry. Stan Muyebe OP comments that African economies could learn a great deal from the Synod discussions, especially its criticism of unbridled extractivism as a model for economic development.

Much of the commentary around the Amazon synod has rightly focused on its doctrinal pronouncements, especially about married priests and pantheism. 

Continue reading The Amazon Synod and the extractive industry — lessons for the Church in Africa at spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

Marlboro man moment for the car and oil giants

The Marlboro Man was the iconic advertisement campaign that ran through the second half of the 20th century to popularise smoking. Its heritage, says Chris Chatteris SJ, is lung disease, something that the tobacco campaigns already knew as they were promoting their toxic product. He says that today’s oil and automotive industries face a similar legacy, unless they are able to cut carbon emissions drastically and transform the way we consume energy.

It’s time to put oil companies and auto manufacturing bosses on notice that they’re facing their Marlboro Man moment.

Continue reading Marlboro man moment for the car and oil giants at spotlight.africa.

- Michaela van Nierop

Anger management — the art of boundaries and communication

Anger is often perceived as a negative emotion with hurtful consequences. Michaela van Nierop shares how she has learnt to process anger. She speaks about the need to o establish healthy boundaries and communicate these clearly to the people around her. This has helped to boost her self-esteem and to resolve conflict in a healthier way.

An emotion I have always had trouble understanding is anger. Anger is often a reactive response to cover up hurt, insecurity, loss, or betrayal.

Continue reading Anger management — the art of boundaries and communication at spotlight.africa.

- Levinia Pienaar

What a Sudanese girl taught me about Saint Maria Goretti

The life and death of Saint Maria Goretti is often told as a warning against giving in to sexual pleasure. Levinia Pienaar relates an experience during her time as an African-Union United Nations peacekeeper in Sudan, reflecting on this in the light of her experience of catechesis in her childhood parish. Her experience brings home the stark reality that girls and women are powerless to fend off their attackers.

Continue reading What a Sudanese girl taught me about Saint Maria Goretti at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Timely reading: “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge

The ongoing protests in the United States in response to the police killing of George Floyd and discrimination against Black people has prompted an international conversation about racism. Mark Potterton draws attention to a 2017 book by British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, pointing out that her observations of “structural racism” offer a timely assessment of current events. It also challenges South Africans to reflect on the continued existence of structural racism in our own society.

Continue reading Timely reading: “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Batley

The future for 19,000 released prisoners

On 8 May, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola announced that 19 000 low-risk inmates will receive early parole in efforts to decongest prisons during the COVID-19 outbreak. Mike Batley welcomes the decision but warns that released prisoners will require close accompaniment from the public sector and civil society to reintegrate them into their communities, especially during the current economic slump.

Recently a number of organisations under the banner of The Detention Justice Forum sent an open letter to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services regarding the decision to release 19000 inmates.

Continue reading The future for 19,000 released prisoners at spotlight.africa.

- Sofia Neves

A crisis of possibilities

The COVID-19 public emergency in South Africa and the world has spurred individuals, communities and governments to support each other in unprecedented acts of empathy. Sofia Neves from Salesian Life Choices imagines a more equitable country in which citizens come together to find solutions to the nation’s current and future challenges.

Safety measures against the spread of COVID-19 includes physical distancing and isolation, amongst others. However, while we are physically isolated, across Cape Town it seems we have never been as connected we are as now. 

Continue reading A crisis of possibilities at spotlight.africa.

- Stephan de Beer

Homelessness and COVID-19: the miracle of Tshwane

The media reporting of hastily-cobbled plans to provide shelters for South Africa’s homeless people mostly focused on the failings of the initiatives. Stephan de Beer shares the miracle of what happened in Tshwane when government and civil society came together to provide a solution for the homeless. Many challenges remain, but the cooperation and good will that has been created may become the foundation for a far more feasible program to assist homeless people.

Continue reading Homelessness and COVID-19: the miracle of Tshwane at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

The theological debate on celibacy — Part 2

The Church awaits Pope Francis’ response to the topics discussed at the Amazonian Synod, including priestly celibacy. Meanwhile, Cardinals Robert Sarah and Joseph Ratzinger have emphasised celibacy as a necessary condition for valid priesthood. Anthony Egan SJ concludes this two-part series by making the case for voluntary celibacy as a possible solution to some of the challenges of the priesthood today. In a previous article, he traced the historical developments that resulted in mandatory celibacy for priests in the Western rite.

Continue reading The theological debate on celibacy — Part 2 at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

The theological debate on celibacy — Part 1

A soon-to-be released book by Cardinal Robert Sarah (with initial contributions by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) examines, among other things, celibacy and the priesthood. The timing of the publication is crucial, preceding a much-awaited response from Pope Francis on the topics  discussed at the Amazonian Synod, including priestly celibacy. This is the first of a two-part series by Anthony Egan SJ, in which he argues that the priesthood has historical and sociological — rather than theological — foundations.

Continue reading The theological debate on celibacy — Part 1 at spotlight.africa.

- Shrikant Peters

The National Health Insurance — vision and practical implications

The proposals for a state-funded National Health Insurance (NHI) policy have generated a great deal of media reporting and reaction. While many people agree that global access to quality healthcare is a national priority, there are equally significant concerns about the cost and quality of the future NHI. Shrikant Peters unpacks the values underpinning the NHI and the implications of the proposals in their current format.

The National Department of Health recently published the NHI Bill, which sets out a roadmap to re-create the South African healthcare system.

Continue reading The National Health Insurance — vision and practical implications at spotlight.africa.

- Stephan de Beer

When refugees have faces and names – affirming our common humanity

The recent tensions involving refugees camped outside the Unite Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) in Cape Town and Johannesburg made national headlines, with many news reports describing the refugees’ demands as unrealistic and their behavior as aggressive. Stephan de Beer spoke with many of the refugees in Pretoria and realized that each story was a unique account of the “deep trauma” of people who have suffered years of fear, war, physical and emotional violence, and disregard.

Continue reading When refugees have faces and names – affirming our common humanity at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

“Song of Songs” and the crisis of celibacy

Anthony Egan SJ recently gave a series of lectures on Old Testament literature and became intrigued by the sexualised language of Song of Songs. Reading it more closely, he posits that this text provides an appropriate and timely reflection on celibacy as a requirement for the priesthood. Celibacy, he says can be both a path to deeper union with God or a distraction to spiritual growth and maturity.

Recently I had the unlikely opportunity to teach a course on “Old Testament Prophets and Wisdom Literature” to undergraduate theology students at St Augustine College of South Africa in Johannesburg.

Continue reading “Song of Songs” and the crisis of celibacy at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Timely reading: “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge

The ongoing protests in the United States in response to the police killing of George Floyd and discrimination against Black people has prompted an international conversation about racism. Mark Potterton draws attention to a 2017 book by British journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge, pointing out that her observations of “structural racism” offer a timely assessment of current events. It also challenges South Africans to reflect on the continued existence of structural racism in our own society.

Continue reading Timely reading: “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Book Review — Open Schools Era (1976-1986)

Dr Mark Potterton reviews a book about the history of Catholic Schools in South Africa by well-known educationalist and Marist Brother Jude Pieterse, in collaboration with Robyn Picas.

Pieterse, J. in collaboration with Picas R, (2020). Open Schools Era (1976 -1986) Johannesburg: Marist Brothers 124 pages. R250

The Open Schools Era by Br. Jude Pieterse, F.S.M., was published in April. Unfortunately, the book launch never took place because of lockdown restrictions.

Continue reading Book Review — Open Schools Era (1976-1986) at spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

Age of Anger: a history of the present

Our society — not just South Africa — seems to have become increasingly violent. People are angry. Political and economic exclusion has often been pinpointed as the reason for the anger and resentment of our times. Chris Chatteris SJ reviews the 2017 treatise by Indian novelist and thinker, Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A history of the present, who explains that the current extremist movements are inspired less by religion than they are by exclusion.

Continue reading Age of Anger: a history of the present at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

Book review — Anne Hope: The Struggle for Freedom

On 17 October, Stephanie Kilroe launched her new biography about Anne Hope, a South African anti-apartheid activist, the president of the lay Catholic community, The Grail, and the founder of community development programme, Training for Transformation, at St. Augustine College. Anthony Egan SJ reviews the book, describing it as a “spiritual biography” that shows “how deep faith engages with the public and private lives of a complex person.”

Although Anne Hope (1930-2015) was well-known in certain Catholic circles in southern and eastern Africa, her influence (though perhaps not her name) moved beyond church circles, particularly during the anti-apartheid struggle.

Continue reading Book review — Anne Hope: The Struggle for Freedom at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ — the impact of a book on the Catholic Church today

A recent book touting homosexuality among senior clergy in the Catholic Church by French author Frédéric Martel has provoked a mixed reception. Anthony Egan SJ shares the power that he believes such a book could have for the scandal-plagued Catholic Church, today.

Continue reading ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ — the impact of a book on the Catholic Church today at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Sexuality education – where to now for Catholic schools?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to make their curricula available online. Mark Potterton, who worked with the Southern African Bishops’ Conference to draft sexuality education guidelines, discusses why it is very difficult to teach children about human sexuality on an online forum.

In 2019, a national debate erupted in response to the government’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education programme which was to be adopted in 2020. The programme seeks to address growing numbers of teen pregnancy, abuse and sexually transmitted diseases and provides scripted lessons to help teachers speak openly about human sexuality.

Continue reading Sexuality education – where to now for Catholic schools? at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Teaching children to recognise disinformation

Discerning truth from falsehood and deliberate misinformation is becoming increasingly difficult as various interest groups compete to dominate the media space. Mark Potterton says that this poses a challenge for schools as they seek to encourage learners to develop critical thinking skills and to take an interest in the world around them.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNESCO warned  that orchestrated misinformation campaigns about the virus, which pose a threat to fact-based journalism, were also putting human lives at risk.

Continue reading Teaching children to recognise disinformation at spotlight.africa.

- Mark Potterton

Education: Rethinking the pressure of exams

Schools spend too much time preparing students for exams, says Mark Potterton, who has served as the Chief Operating Officer for Umalusi, the South African examinations board. He makes a case for different forms of academic assessment that better prepare students for the world of work and can help to overcome structural inequalities in the current education system.

COVID-19 has resulted in an unprecedented disruption to education systems worldwide.

Continue reading Education: Rethinking the pressure of exams at spotlight.africa.

- Nhlanhla Mdlalose

Easing the suffering of winter and COVID-19 in Snake Park Township

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on already poor communities. Many have lost their jobs and are desperate. As winter begins to bite, they face hunger and cold. Nhlanhla Mdlalose writes how he and his friends have found a simple way to feed the most impoverished members of Snake Park Township in Soweto.

Many children have to go through this winter season with torn and holey blankets, and they still share these blankets with their siblings.

Continue reading Easing the suffering of winter and COVID-19 in Snake Park Township at spotlight.africa.

- Salesian Life Choices

Cape Town’s youth: From victims to victors

As South Africa continues to celebrate youth month, Salesian Life Choices, a Cape Town-based NGO runs its “30 Stories in 30 Days” campaign, now in its seventh year, allowing young people living on the Cape Flats to share their stories of how they overcame adversity despite tremendous hardship. Their personal victories are a sign of hope for all youth and encouragement that suffering can be overcome.

In June 2014, Salesian Life Choices, a Cape Town based NPO, launched the ’30 Stories in 30 Days Campaign’ to celebrate South Africa’s National Youth Month.

Continue reading Cape Town’s youth: From victims to victors at spotlight.africa.

Spotlight.Africa

Spotlight Africa strives to be a reliable, reasoned and informed source. It is a ministry of the Jesuit Institute South Africa and will shed light on the social, political and economic happenings in Southern Africa.
It offers analysis and commentary – informed by Catholic Social Teaching and Christian ethics – covering, specifically, things that are and should be important for the local Church and Catholics in Southern Africa.

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