The historian Prof. Hermann Giliomee said there are times when you cannot merely assume that we will always have the poor with us, but that you need to stop and observe what poverty looks like. He believes that at times people might be so caught up in poverty that they simply cannot get out of it. This was his remark regarding the great poverty of the Afrikaner and the accompanying Economic Conference of 1939.
We are bombarded daily with absolute generalisations such as:
“It is very clear to me (and I am sure to the vast majority of people in this country) that we need Ramaphosa to lead South Africa for the foreseeable future. He is BY FAR (sic) the best we have in terms of leadership. “
“South Africa’s democracy depends on the DA succeeding…”
“Most problems South Africa face today are of such magnitude that – even if we had successive miracle worker governments from today onward – these problems will most likely still be with us in 20 years’ time.”
Reading these statements, I want to cry out in frustration and desperation: “says who?!”
“Says who?” – is a phrase I have often heard when I was young and so unintentionally inherited it from my grandmother. She would utter this phrase with resolute usually preceded by a disapproving tut-tut, to my great embarrassment. She could say this about something the pastor said, or something the doctor claimed, or even about what the bank manager said when my grandfather went to ask for a loan in order to survive the drought.
In July 2011 ATS conducted a qualitative research study in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape. The aim of this study was to understand the economical activities and context of people who are not employed within the formal employment sector.
One lady acted as an interpreter for us. We did not give any training, advice or input. Our only aim was to discover what was going on at grassroots level.
Yet, when we later went back to report our findings to the community, to our surprise we found that our interpreter, who had helped us the previous time, was there to meet us with the exiting news that she had started her own business.
We did not expect this and when we asked how this had happened she remarked that during our interviews with the community she felt challenged to find a way to secure an income for her and her child.
Here is her story. She had a tremendous feeling of pride in what she had managed to achieve and explicitly explained the role of the Holy Spirit in her new venture.
Auckland Park Theological Seminary (“ATS”, for short) is the oldest Pentecostal and charismatic theological seminary in Africa. The seminary is an academic institution and has been engaged in theological training and education since 1945.