On Thursday I celebrated my birthday. It was a mixed celebration. I was born in 1975 in a hospital in Johannesburg staffed with Roman Catholic nuns. Those days were the days of apartheid in South Africa.
On Thursday I read through some essays penned in the 80’s entitled, “Growing up in a divided society”. Amongst these essays I discovered one by Helen Zille (now leader of the DA). Her essay entitled, “Beginning life in an Apartheid Society: Childbirth in South Africa”, had me in tears. The first few lines read:
"No two births anywhere are alike, but in South Africa, childbirth reflects extremes of privilege and deprivation comparable to anytime in the world."
I live in South Africa as one who benefited from a previous regime that oppressed others. As a Christian I believe that I therefore have a responsibility to give back some of what has been given to me (which is a very ambivalent giving – for was it given by God or obtained by pillage and oppression?) This has been one of the biggest challenges for me in being in South Africa as a follower of Jesus. I strongly believe that my re-birth has everything to do with facing some of the oppressions of my first birth.
Later in the day I listened to an excellent speech delivered by Klippies Kritzinger at the Acts conference in Stellenbosch. All of this turned my birthday into an occasion for yet another opportunity of the new birth of ideas and journeys. Stay posted …