How fast are you? And how furious?
A friend shared these words with me last night about a restaurant called Lelapa in Langa:
The restaurant was started by a domestic worker who decided to take an opportunity to start a restaurant as tour operators were starting to do township tours.
And what drove her to make the leap was finding a restaurant bill in her employer’s washing for a night out that was more than her monthly salary.

Two things make me angry about this completely-not-unique scenario. One is the distance between rich and poor. Being one of the most unequal nations in the world, this is something we see around us all the time.

But the second is that people will read this and defend it. Vehemently. It will be suggested or implied that the employer completely deserves what they have. Presumably because they have worked harder and earned it. If anything is said at all, it might be that the domestic worker deserves a little more. [But obviously not the same amount!]

Can we stop making things about race?

On top of that, i can’t imagine a single person in the whole of the country would read that scenario imagining the domestic worker as white and the employer as black… That’s just not the reality in our country.

There are definitely places where the employer could be black, but even then the strong likelihood is that the domestic worker is as well. We can stop making things in this country about race when race stops being a determining or descriptive factor.

Can we go a little Faster?

What saddens me even more about those who defend the gap between wealthy and struggling-to-live is that most of them that i know call themselves christian. Yet there is such a huge disconnect between the way of Jesus, the kingdom of God, and the massive divide we see all around us.

i have just finished reading the words of Isaiah in the Bible. In chapter 58 he goes on this rant about fasting which includes these powerful words:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousnessa]”>[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

The whole chapter is worth reading because it starts with the people of God crying out to God because they feel like God is distant.

God’s response is: you have made yourselves distant from Me!  The way you live is nothing like who I have called you to be and how I have called you to live.

It’s not as if it is much different today.

What will it take to move us?

i have written a lot about how the homeless have been treated in just one of the camps sites in Cape Town [Strandfontein] while there are at least two similar sites at Wingfield and Paint City [Bellville]

And last night i came across this article which is a horrific look at how the City of Cape Town is wanting to change by-laws. In such a way that would give law enforcement unprecedented opportunity to abuse their power, particularly when it comes to the homeless. ‘

It is time for us as the church – and society as a whole – to get Furious. To speak up and speak out and refuse to let something like this be snuck through. While we are all distracted by the lockdown and pandemic.

And it’s time for us to Fast: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke…

Can we commit to being those who work towards the kind of world that doesn’t make allowance for one person’s meal to cost the equivalent of one person’s monthly salary? Is that really too much to ask?