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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- Vatican News

Remembering Ennio Morricone and his sense of the Sacred

The Oscar-winning composer, Ennio Morricone, whose music defined the atmosphere and success of hundreds of films of all genres, has died in Rome, aged 91. Lesser known are his production of Sacred Music and his admiration for Pope Francis. Linda Bordoni from Vatican News reports.

The glory of Ennio Morricone’s genius cannot but elevate the listener to the heavens in a score written for Pope Francis and the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Jesus.

Continue reading Remembering Ennio Morricone and his sense of the Sacred at spotlight.africa.

- Lawrence Mduduzi Ndlovu

The well-being of priests in times of crisis

People of faith turn to their religious leaders for comfort, spiritual counsel, guidance, and emotional support during times of crisis. Fr. Lawrence Mduduzi Ndlovu observes that although priests are called to accompany their parishes, they often do not receive the psychological, spiritual, and practical help they need to continue their ministries. He says that the COVID-19 offers an opportunity to rethink the pastoral approach.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just another moment in history.

Continue reading The well-being of priests in times of crisis at spotlight.africa.

- Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC)

Bishops’ J&P Commission: Open letter to SA Youth

To commemorate Youth Day on 16 June 2020, the Justice & Peace department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) penned a letter to the youth of South Africa, calling them never to give up in the face of adversity. Young people are encouraged to fly like eagles to achieve their goals.

Dear young South Africans,

Forty-four years ago, thousands of ordinary young men and women just like you did something extraordinary: they put the country ahead of themselves by taking to the streets to protest the injustices they were facing.

Continue reading Bishops’ J&P Commission: Open letter to SA Youth at spotlight.africa.

- Margaret Blackie

Do not go to church

President Ramaphosa has allowed the places of worship open for service of not more than 50 people. Dr Margaret Blackie, a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University, believes this to be a terrible decision.

Whilst many church buildings may be sufficiently large to ensure that people are a good bit more than 1.5m apart, spending an hour or more in the company of others is problematic.

Continue reading Do not go to church at spotlight.africa.

- Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC)

SACBC offers hope in times of distress

On 13 May, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference wrote a pastoral letter offering a message of comfort to “those in distress” amid the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual stresses of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. The full-text is below, or can be downloaded here.

Letter to those in distress…, during the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Continue reading SACBC offers hope in times of distress 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.

- Margaret Blackie

What kind of a church have we created?

The South African Council of Churches has welcomed the South African government’s decision to allow places of worship to resume services for groups of no more than 50 people. Margaret Blackie questions this enthusiasm at a time when the risk of COVID-19 contamination is the greatest. She argues that an individual hunger to go to church that endangers the community runs counter to the core message of the Gospels.

South Africa has just entered Level Three lockdown in the nationwide response to COVID-19.

Continue reading What kind of a church have we created? at spotlight.africa.

- Margaret Blackie

Do not go to church

President Ramaphosa has allowed the places of worship open for service of not more than 50 people. Dr Margaret Blackie, a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University, believes this to be a terrible decision.

Whilst many church buildings may be sufficiently large to ensure that people are a good bit more than 1.5m apart, spending an hour or more in the company of others is problematic.

Continue reading Do not go to church at spotlight.africa.

- Mahadi Buthelezi

A call for the Church to lead the healing of racism in South Africa

Reacting to the ongoing protests in the United States following the killing of George Floyd by police officers and the lack of political leadership to overcome racism, Mahadi Buthelezi reflects on the continued presence of racism in South Africa. She calls on institutions — including the Church — and individuals to acknowledge the harm of racism in our society and to make reparation as a sign of healing and transformation.The brutal murder of George Floyd has reawakened the pain of racism and hatred by one race over another.

Continue reading A call for the Church to lead the healing of racism in South Africa at spotlight.africa.

- Matthew Charlesworth SJ

President’s address sends a mixed message

Reacting to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on 12 July, Matthew Charlesworth comments that the President could have done more to foster popular good will in pursuing the common good. Nevertheless, he urges citizens to continue to support the authorities by doing all they can to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed us again on 12 July. In his previous addresses, he spoke with a measure of reassurance.

Continue reading President’s address sends a mixed message at spotlight.africa.

- Levinia Pienaar

Missing Mass reminds me of a Christmas in Darfur

As we enter Day 100 of lockdown, the hunger and suffering of many Catholics who long to attend Mass in person continues to grow. Reflecting on the inability to attend Mass, Levinia Pienaar — a new spotlight.africa contributor — recounts her experience of missing Mass at Christmas when she served as a UN peacekeeper in Darfur, Sudan.

The inability to attend Mass in person for the last three months reminds me the year I lived in Sudan and could only attend Mass irregularly.

Continue reading Missing Mass reminds me of a Christmas in Darfur at spotlight.africa.

- Mahadi Buthelezi

Mother Church without women in leadership

The role of women in the Church remains a contested space. Mahadi Buthelezi, our new spotlight.africa contributor, examines biblical representations of women, from the complementarity of men and women in Genesis, to statements by St. Paul that are problematic to modern readers. Observing the pivotal role that women play in the Church and society, she calls for an end to patriarchal systems that continue to see women as subservient.

Continue reading Mother Church without women in leadership at spotlight.africa.

- Shrikant Peters

COVID-19 and the devil’s peak

The numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase daily and medical facilities in several provinces have already announced that they have reached patient capacity. As we approach what Shrikant Peters calls the “devil’s peak,” he warns of the stark reality that medical staff will have to make difficult decisions about which patients are most likely to respond medical treatment.

Unlike some other parts of the world, the South African health system is used to rationing medical care out of necessity.

Continue reading COVID-19 and the devil’s peak 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.

- 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.

- Stan Muyebe OP

Albinism Awareness Month – an opportunity to debunk harmful myths

People living with albinism in southern Africa fear for their lives. Many are killed for their body parts, which are then used in rituals. Stan Muyebe OP calls on government to enact legislation that deliberately cracks down on the ritual killings of people living with albinism, and further urges parishes to use Albinism Awareness Month to create awareness and debunk the myths that encourage violence.

September is Albinism Awareness Month.

Continue reading Albinism Awareness Month – an opportunity to debunk harmful myths at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

Xenophobia or ignorance: changing the narratives

Anthony Aduaka SJ tries to understand the psychology behind the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in early September. He argues that much of the distrust by black South Africans towards other black Africans stems from South Africa’s failure to overcome the racial divisions of apartheid and create the educational and economic conditions for black South Africans to overcome historic injustices.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34)

I am aware that so many people have analysed the situation in South Africa and have given reasons why such incidents should not be part of the historicity of South Africa as a country.

Continue reading Xenophobia or ignorance: changing the narratives at spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Not playing nicely…

The decision by the Zambian Football Association to refuse to play an international friendly against South Africa in protest of the xenophobic attacks, reminds us that sometimes sport can be a useful weapon of international diplomacy and punishment. With so many other countries on the continent that flagrantly abuse human rights, Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya asks why this tool is used so sparingly.

It was not the first time that a state had used sport to register its disapproval of the actions (or inactions) of another state.

Continue reading Not playing nicely… 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.

- 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.

- Stan Muyebe OP

Ecological conversion – Mining should be banned in water source areas

The drought in Gauteng has once again drawn attention to the ongoing issue of water scarcity in South Africa. Stan Muyebe OP examines the impact of mining in areas that are recognised as important sources of water. He calls for private and public ecological conversion by putting pressure on government to implement policies that better protect this precious resource, such as a ban on mining activities in water catchment areas.

The response to the water crisis in South Africa requires both behavioural and policy change.

Continue reading Ecological conversion – Mining should be banned in water source areas at spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Water scarcity — Don’t panic but change consumption habits

Parts of South Africa are, once again, facing water scarcity. The authorities are refraining from describing the emptying dams as a crisis, but Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moyo says that the current drought in Gauteng is a reminder to South Africans that the water that flows so easily from our taps is a precious commodity for those who live without it. It urges us to further solidarity with the plight of the poor and challenges us to change our own consumption habits.

Continue reading Water scarcity — Don’t panic but change consumption habits 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.

- 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.

- Stan Muyebe OP

Social justice: food poverty and affordability during COVID-19

As the lockdown progresses, the poor are the hardest hit. At the best of times, their ability to buy food is based daily or weekly wages. Stan Muyebe argues that this is not a new problem, but has been a growing crisis for decades as food becomes commodified and structures that the poor previously had to access food cheaply are fast disappearing.

Over the past few weeks we have witnessed urgent calls for food relief for the poor, as well as incidents of food riots.

Continue reading Social justice: food poverty and affordability during COVID-19 at spotlight.africa.

- Mike Batley

Restorative justice as a response to theft, fraud and corruption charges

The Zondo Commission’s hearings into state capture appear to be never ending, prompting calls for other creative ways to ensure that the perpetrators make right the immense harm they inflicted through the rampant misuse and theft of public money. Mike Batley from the Restorative Justice Centre proposes that restorative justice can be an effective way to ensure restitution, and compel the perpetrators to admit responsibility for their actions without overburdening the court system and avoiding years of litigation.  

Continue reading Restorative justice as a response to theft, fraud and corruption charges at spotlight.africa.

- Stephan de Beer

The social isolation of homeless persons: creating communities of care

Isolation is a new experience for many of us. For the homeless it is a constant way of life. Their social isolation places them at the margins of society where they are ignored or even criminalized. Stephan de Beer writes that the National Homeless Network is working to ensure that homeless people enjoy the same rights as all other South Africans. In particular, they are working with local municipalities to make provisions so that homeless people can also be safe in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading The social isolation of homeless persons: creating communities of care at spotlight.africa.

- Shrikant Peters

The influence of economics on health

Many South Africans had hoped that the 2020 Budget Speech on 20 February would provide greater clarity on plans for the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan. However, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni mentioned the NHI only once, in passing. Shrikant Peters observes that despite the moral duty to grant quality healthcare to all sectors of the South Africa population, the feasibility of NHI is at the mercy of economic performance. An improved economy, he says, will result in a healthier population and increased taxpayer funding for the NHI.

Continue reading The influence of economics on health 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.

- 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.

- Mphuthumi Ntabeni

REVIEW — Living with the Gods

In ‘Living with the Gods’, Neil MacGregor says that a set of shared beliefs and assumptions (faith, ideology, religion, etc) are at the centre of human existence and progress. Mphuthumi Ntabeni was enthralled by MacGregor’s idea that no organised society, in the past, has ever been able to thrive without a shared set of beliefs. It is simply a crucial part of our shared identity.

Living with the Gods by Neil MacGregor.

Continue reading REVIEW — Living with the Gods at spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

REVIEW — I beg to differ: ministry amid the teargas

Retired South African Methodist Bishop Peter Storey’s autobiography evokes on one level the chaotic and heroic struggle of the churches against apartheid in the second half of the twentieth century. But on a deeper level it is a profound meditation on conscience, courage and what it is to be human writes Anthony Egan SJ.

Continue reading REVIEW — I beg to differ: ministry amid the teargas 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.

- Mark Potterton

The challenges and opportunities of authentic Catholic online education

When schools closed in March, teachers and principals had little time to come up with alternatives to ensure that learning could continue for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown regulations. Mark Potterton describes how his school had the means to implement online learning, and explains practical ideas that the school implemented to ensure that Catholic schools’ values were not lost.

COVID-19 has caused major disruption to education around the globe.

Continue reading The challenges and opportunities of authentic Catholic online education at spotlight.africa.

- Salesian Life Choices

Youth play their part to fight COVID-19

As we celebrate the hope new life during Easter, Salesian Life Choices shows how the youth of the Western Cape, South Africa are also offering hope and helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. They are using their access to technology to educate their communities about the virus and measures to prevent contracting it. They are also already thinking about how to help with the “reconstruction” that President Cyril Ramaphosa called for during his address to the nation on 9 April.

Continue reading Youth play their part to fight COVID-19 at spotlight.africa.

- Sivuyiso Mvani

South African youth are pioneers of change

The recent announcement of the 2019 Matric results showed an increase in the pass rate for learners across South Africa, but many pundits feared that access to financing and a poor economic environment could hamper the dreams of many school leavers. spotlight.africa has asked a few school leavers how they feel about their future. Sivuviso Mvani, a participant of the Salesian Life Choices programme, is hopeful about his future. He reminds his peers that they are “African pioneers” who can help to shape the future for a “thriving Africa”.

Continue reading South African youth are pioneers of change 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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