LIFE IS A SYNTHESIS…SOMETHING HAS DISTURBED THIS SYNTHESIS OF LIFE IN SOUTH AFRICA
By: Bongani Gema
Having a toothache is one of the most excruciating experiences one can be forced to endure. The ability of the pain to manifest itself from one sore tooth in the mouth all the way to the ear causing not only the mouth but the whole side of the head and neck to be engulfed in pain.
This example of the intricate workings of the human anatomy has often been used as a metaphor for how we as a society function- hence the oft-repeated adage; an injury to one is truly an injury to all.
Some called it Ujamaa and in Sub-Saharan Africa they call it Ubuntu. Commonly in description of these two impressive concepts the words “togetherness, unity and family-hood” find their way in.
Maybe it was in this spirit of unity that the people of Ncotshane Village in Phongola decided to burn down a church after the dismembered body-parts of four-year-old Lungisani Ntuli were found in a room in the property.
Or, President Jacob Zuma’s plea to the nation for the return of six-year-old Mongezi Phike who was abducted during a hijacking by four men in Bronkhorstspruit.
Such deeds were in retaliation to the ripe immoral acts that continue to cripple, and even question the authenticity of the beloved tale of Ubuntu amongst these native people of Africa.
But as one Eusebius McKaiser, a political commentator, so aptly put it, “To pass off Ubuntu as an incoherent philosophy is like questioning the authenticity of Christianity because of one evil act by a naughty disciple of Christ.” Of course we don’t only speak of one evil act by one naughty disciple. We speak of the thousands of women who suffer almost with impunity the barbaric acts of immorality.
The police crime statistics released in September 2012 state that in 2011\2012 there were a total of 9 193 sexual offenses reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS) in the Western Cape alone. This translates into just under 27 cases per day. Countrywide about 64 514 sexual offenses were reported. Many go unreported.
Also remember Phumeza Nkolonzi, who was murdered in cold-blood in front of her grandmother and six year old niece. According to a report by the Daily Maverick, Nkolonzi allegedly cried “Why” but the gun-man was silent as he kept on shooting.
The answer that the gun-man failed to give Phumeza was that it was because of exercising her human right to be openly lesbian in a democratic South Africa.
Acts such as these have perhaps convinced many to consign the notion of Ubuntu to histories long list of failed social-organisational theories. But Dr John Dube, pastor and politician, hit the right note a century ago when he said, “Life is a synthesis…the synthesis of life may be divided into the religious, moral, intellectual, political and physical spheres…something has disturbed this synthesis of life in South Africa.”