A New Kairos Moment for South Africa

Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, reflects for the Jesuit Institute South Africa

Two very different kinds of leadership. This is what we have seen dramatically highlighted through the events in our country over the past ten days.

In the Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius asks us to reflect on the opposing leadership strategies of Christ versus that of Lucifer. He paints a graphic and metaphoric picture of Lucifer seated in that great plain of Babylon, on a throne of fire and smoke, a horrible and fearsome figure. He uses three strategies to ensnare people: the desire for riches, the desire for honour or status and pride. Once they are hooked by any, or all of these, they will do whatever they need to in order to protect them, whether lies, corruption, theft or manipulation of people.

In the second image we are invited to imagine Christ standing in a great plain in a lowly beautiful and attractive spot. His strategy is the exact opposite: simplicity instead of riches, service instead of honour, and humility instead of pride.

In our political landscape we have seen both kinds of leadership clearly in the last week. The leadership of extreme self-interest epitomised by Jacob Zuma, and the leadership example of service and humility epitomised by Ahmed Kathrada. The leadership of those who risk their positions by speaking truth to power, and the silence of a leadership whose agenda it is to protect their own interests even at the cost of the suffering of many others – most notably the poorest.

Read the full post at www.jesuitinstitute.org.za