Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Birthday, Desmond

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu danced with the Soweto Gospel Choir at his 80th birthday party and was feted by the likes of Bono, half an hour's drive away, another churchman had just completed a month-long hunger strike. Xola Skosana is pastor of the Way of Life church in Khayelitsha, Cape Town's biggest township. He went without food throughout September to protest at the treatment of the poor. "It's interesting to me that a woman would make up a bed in a five-star hotel then come home to sleep on the floor," Skosana said from his rudimentary office. "Or cook the best meal for someone else and come back and live off a slice of bread."

Skosana said: "Black people feel this is the old South Africa. If you come to Cape Town, you've come to the last post of the colonial history of this country. Both politically and economically, white people are in power. In other parts of South Africa, black people don't have to wake up and say, 'Yes boss', and feel psychologically oppressed. In Cape Town, they still have to deal with that attitude."

Nobom Nobele, 29, washing clothes by hand, said her shack has no electricity or running water, forcing the family to use candles and a paraffin stove, and walk 10 minutes to a friend's home every time they need to use a toilet. Her children, aged 12 and four, suffer rashes from unclean water. "The government makes promises at the time they want your vote, but after that they forget," she said. "There's been no change since 1994. We're still hungry, we're still living in a dirty place."

From here

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