Article by Marc Aupiais
In a message given to South Africa's Ambassador to the Holy See: George Johannes, the pope lauded the peaceful means in which South Africa transferred from Apartheid: the race exclusive democracy under the Nationalist Party, towards the inclusive democracy South Africa currently finds itself in. The pope mentioned the "integrity" of ordinary "men and women", whose "honest approach to work", he says: have helped to lay the foundations for a future "peace and prosperity for all".
Having complimented South Africa, including compliments: of the size of the RSA population, economy, and "generosity": the pope quickly turned his praise into a request: noting the South African diplomatic, and military initiatives in: "Rwanda, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe", the pope asked that South Africa help other regions in Africa, saying that it was one of the "most influential nations" on the whole of the "continent".
His particular request noting refugees, certainly had some message in it. South Africa, has seen its citizens capture and burn at least one foreigner: and others have been reported in the news as allegedly jumping off buildings nearby mobs, or as being directly killed. Until recently, Zimbabweans, were consistently turned away by Home Affairs, and other refugees, had complained of conditions in which they were living. Camps, which were set up temporarily due to Xenophobia, had also been quickly shut down: forcing refugees to re-enter communities which had attacked them. Currently, in a controversial move: Pretoria, has recently made public a policy, of allowing Zimbabweans in general (not simply specific refugees) to move freely in the country for periods, which would be reconsidered every six months at Home Affairs' discretion.
According to the Papacy: "difficulties can continue to be addressed in the same spirit of solidarity and generosity already demonstrated by South Africans."
In accordance, with general norms: the Pontiff, also congratulated South African President Jacob Zuma, for assuming the highest office in the South African Republic.
On the 29th of May 2009, the Pontiff, had told the South African Ambassador, among others: of the apparent danger that "injustices among the nations", could drastically endanger the recovery of the Third World/Developing World, from the current economic crisis, and in general: unless better off nations continued to give these poorer nations aid.
In his current message: the Pope, further, sent his best wishes to South Africa's Former President Nelson Mandela. He wished him good health. The pope lauded Mandela: for what the pontificate called his promotion of forgiveness and reconciliation in South Africa. He did not laud South Africa's current President, however: simply giving him "congratulations and best wishes" (Zuma himself had expressed good wishes to the Vatican): best wishes which Zuma was made to share, by the Pontiff: with the "civil authorities and [the] people of [South Africa]". The Pontiff's recorded good wishes were given very broadly, and not just to the president.
The message given to the current South African Ambassador, was very similar to that of the message given to the Ambassador of South Africa's Previous President Thabo Mbeki, except that the pope did not note the ability of South Africa to become a moral compass for Africa this time, and he made no note of any sort of so-called mature leadership in the Country, as he had done to the female ambassador (Dr. Konji Sebati) for Thabo Mbeki, who in fact, was not permanently assigned to the Vatican, and is seemingly currently assigned to France, as she had been to Switzerland.
Rather, he referred to political maturity in the Past Tense, in reference to Nelson Mandela. Benedict XVI, also did not mention South Africa as a demographically largely Christian Nation as he had to Thabo Mbeki's Ambassador. The efforts of reconciliation made by South Africa, which were mentioned above, were again, to our knowledge, and certainly in general: made by Former President Thabo Mbeki, who has become famous for his gerneral diplomatic ability, they certainly are not achievements of the current South African Administration. Where he had made note of a respect for life, in African culture previously: Benedict XVI: now referred to it only in the context of the Church, which he noted had respect for life.
No direct, and outright compliment was given to the current administration in South Africa. Those which were given, were specific and directed at South Africans in general, and not to the current presidency. An example is the congratulations of South Africa's combination of Health and education, and sustainable economic development, as a good thing, which South Africa had rightly chosen, and a focus which should continue. With a very leftist government entering office, the pontiff: had congratulated the conservative policies South Africa had previously held.
Good wishes, in accordance with general protocol were given by the Presidency of South Africa to the Holy See, and by the Holy See to the Presidency of South Africa.
The compliments of South Africa, by the Pontiff, were very similar to compliments given the Mbeki Administration, after Zuma caused Mbeki to resign, compliments which were given by Archbishop of Johannesburg, Buti Joseph Tlhagale, who noted:
""Mbeki leaves a great legacy, which is wealth for the entire nation that will not be dissipated. The upsetting fact was the way in which the African National Congress (ANC, ruling party) decided and handled the end of an experience, just a few months from the natural conclusion of the term""
""Mbeki's government in fact did many things that for the most part remain unknown outside our borders. Schools were for example built throughout the country, even in the smallest of villages; much was done for the distribution of drinking water; housing was built for the poor."
"One of the few shortcomings was that more should have been done against the spread of AIDS", said Archbishop Tlhagale."
"In his reflections, the Archbishop stressed the international stature of Mbeki's diplomacy: "They were nine extremely positive years also in the promotion of South Africa as a peace force in Rwanda, Sudan, Congo, Zimbabwe. Who takes government after the next elections will have the duty to follow up on what was done, though I am certain that Mbeki will remain a key figure in the development of the country and continent". South Africa, in the concrete hope of the prelate, has the potential to face the new challenges posed by the world economic crisis, the means to bring to conclusion the national reconciliation process begun at the end of apartheid and the authoritativeness to guide all of Africa toward peace and prosperity: "Also and primarily this is part of the great legacy left by Mbeki", concluded the Archbishop of Johannesburg."
(4 prior quotes of/about Archbishop from: Independent Catholic News (Independent; British; Catholic) 07 / 10 (October) / 2008)
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