Well, it’s that time of the year again as the Cape Robin-Chat (Cossypha caffra) has 2 eggs in its nest. The Clivias (Amaryllidaceae) are budding if not flowering already. The Implala Lily (Adenium Obesum) is in full bloom as are the luscious Jasmine, the Coral tree and some cactus, whose name is unknown to me. Our swinging hammock has another coat of varnish and should be fine for another rainy season even if presently looks more like a dry white season all over again.
Missionary Heinrich Voges was ill with some stomach bug on Monday. So we didn’t see him this week, but are hopeful that he’ll be alright for our coming meeting next time around. While the FELSiSA pastors or those, who are with MLC were absent from Seminary this past week, Professor Pless was teaching his first week of two. His topic this time around is the Lord’s Supper in the Church. He was using a little booklet of Werner Elert with that topic. He clarified, that this is actually one of those chapters from Elert’s dogmatics “Christliche Glaube” that have been translated into English. Thankfully he also preached during the Confessional Service, which Pastor Nkambule could not lead as he was down with flu. Pastor Shuping plays a strong part in these services too. Especially his singing adds volume and a welcome bass to the harmonious student choir.
MaBhengu left early on Friday for a funeral of her adoptive son down in Pongola, KZN. She had heard that the prospective renter of Dube House was a Muslim from Khartoum, who had plans to open his Muslim Kindergarten on our Seminary grounds just 2 houses up from our Lutheran one. Can you imagine? Well, we’re paddling back as fast as we can and hope that we can still find alternative renters from as early as September 1. I’m glad Wilhelm Meyer did not go on that mission trip to Malawi as planned. That’s why he could get started right away in fixing the damages in Dube House to have it in perfect condition by that date next month.
Tuesday saw us do another Zulu oral, whilst Wednesday was reserved for the first Zulu Grammar test of this quarter/semester. I was not very happy with either of them and I hope, I’ve not flunked them completely. Angelika is still trying to comfort me, that the system is more for parrot-style learning and not any kind of systematic approach, but I’m not really convinced. I thought, that I had learned rather parrot-fashion this time around. Perhaps it was just not enough.
On Tuesday morning we took Detlev to the airport. He didn’t have breakfast like we did, but we were grateful for that little bit of extra visiting time we had there at O.R. Tambo before he left with Ethiad Air via Abu Dhabi on the way to Daniel in Munich and Matzi in Linz. His time in Konstanz is going to start early in September with an orientation before the regular semester kicks off for his exchange studies the next month. He got all his luggage into one suitcase and it was just below the limit of 30kg. The rest he got stowed away in his handy ruck-sack. Well, now it’s just Friederike with us here in Rubida, but at least she joins us regularly for our workout sessions. All three of us were happy to see Jacques back from his tour to Europe. He’s still the best instructor we know, although we’re getting to experience quite a range in Hatfield – even a real German guru flying in from Livingstone, Zambia and setting up camp here in Pretoria. She was something of a change, but that’s nearly as good as a holiday as they say.
Our Matzi moved out of Kolping-House in Linz and into private accommodation. So he’s renting privately now too. So Angelika put together a recipe book with South African favourites and hot hits from the Weber and Scharlach kitchens. That should give him and his brother some choices when they’ve finished the visit in Munich and move back to Linz later next week to celebrate our youngest’s birthday for the first time away from home and all the way out there in Austria.
The Seminary of the Mekane Yesous Lutheran Church in Ethiopia is now providing correspondence courses here in South Africa and in cooperation with our Seminary. They have more than 50 students enrolled here and are now looking to provide monthly updates and classes here at our Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane – probably on Saturdays, perhaps starting Friday evenings. Let’s see. Pastor Tefera is working hard at getting things sorted and all his people lined up appropriately. The list of prospective students for 2016 is getting longer – nearly by the day. Sadly Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and specifically it’s World Mission department have halved their regular contribution to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane. The sad part of it is, that it never was so much in the first place that halving it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Now, what is left is not even half of the money that it costs to put a student like Ashenafi Desta Gonemo into CTS Ft.Wayne for just one year. Think about that! I’m glad that there are faithful supporters yet, who step up to the plate and help support the three to four handfuls of students enrolled here, but still I worry that we will again have to turn away students just because we don’t have the means to pay for their accommodation and upkeep here – even if it is only for 10 months of the year. If one then hears of Lutheran Churches loosing more than 40 million Rand because of hasty and ill-advised investments one is very easily tempted to think, that we would have been able to use that kind of money much more appropriately. But then it is rather liberating to remember that in the final instance, we will just have to account for the money we had and not have to answer for that, which we didn’t have. So there is a slight comfort in the little gifts endowed even if it always comes with the grave danger of then hiding even that little talent under the bushel or in the ground.
The world finances are in turmoil and not only far away in China or in that crazy place called Greece. No, it’s happening right here too. Our Rand fell below R13 per 1$ this week and some are predicting even heavier losses in the future. Contrary to popular myth, which get’s propagated even in our circles there are prominent voices, who warn against the fallacy that housing/real estate is the best investment. If you’re not so independent and need to be careful, where you put your money for retirement and you’ve not got tons to spare, then perhaps this is advice worth heeding: “The other day I was driving home listening to a favourite radio station, MixFM, when up popped an interview with a local estate agent. Again we were saddled with that hairy old chestnut that “residential property is the biggest investment the average investor will make in his or her lifetime”. I almost flipped my car as I tried to Google the station’s number to try to point out this bald-faced lie.” Caught your interest? Well, you can read the whole article here: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/economy/never-take-investment-advice-from-a-fund-manager/
This week I picked up an old anthropological favourite illustrating some of Nigel Bradley’s more or less famous illustrations: http://www.welt.de/kultur/literarischewelt/article145411706/Einmal-vom-Tropenregen-in-die-Chilitraufe.html
The divide in our country is still as fundamental as ever and it’s not just about race either, although it has a lot to do with that too. I found the article liking the ANC to a religious faction, rather than a political party quite enlightening. It goes a long way explaining, why the raging debate pro et contra is so emotional, dogmatic and very little pragmatic. Although I seemed to have misplaced the reference and can’t pick it up. Here’s a cartoon on why the supporters are so adamant and protective of the big elephant in the room as Zapiro highlights: http://mg.co.za/cartoon/2015-08-20-anc-self-criticism#.VdWim7yEVyw.email
On Wednesday Dr Gary Zieroth asked me to comment on the following article: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/398136/end-south-africa-josh-gelernter. This is what I replied then: “Dear Gary: A comment here on FB is just too short, but perhaps you’d like to look at my blog, where I address these issues on Saturdays and list up news from SA: kwaweber.org. However I think it could get much worse here before, before its called the end. Just look at Zimbabwe. Decades ago, we thought it can’t get any worse, but it did and it still is getting worse there. Then there are those good institutions and working entities in SA remaining, that add hope. Hopefully they will be strengthened and promoted to do, what they are called to do. The church is one, the judiciary another as is the media too. All in all it emphasizes the importance of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane as it trains young men and women to be faithful and confessional Lutheran pastors and deaconesses in challenging times – not only in SA, but on this lovely continent – and we should all remember SA and this continent in our prayers and not only in the Litany. Remember how Luther reminded the Germans back then, that it’s only the prayers of the faithful, that sustained those German lands and people against the terrible onslaught of the evil one? Well, there are a lot of prayerful and faithful people here still. Thank God for that + even as we pray: Kyrie eleison + Christe eleison + Kyrie eleison. A terrible mistake would be to think that it’s the whites predominantly, who suffer. That’s just a fallacy. The black people – and please excuse this racial stereotype – are in a much worse predicament. They suffer from the terrible violence, crime and corruption too – if not worse than the whites do. As the infrastructure collapses they are much less in a condition of finding alternatives etc. Private hospitals, schools, facilities, security guards/structures, neighbourhood watch – never mind water and electricity – are very much out of reach for most – and not only for migrants and those many people trying to find a better life here in the South of the continent and fleeing the chaos back home: Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia and the list goes on… Remember what a strain these migrants/immegrants are causing in Europe and USA – and there are far, far more here in South Africa placing a really huge strain on the infrastructure and causing severe social tensions. This is a fact and I’m not trying to excuse xenophobia, but highlighting the very real challenge of this influx, which even in the old times was a serious concern and reason for ID’s, visas etc. I think it is very high time – and many are heeding that call already – that we stop whining and get involved to stop the rot and make this a better place. Nobody else will if South Africans don’t. And thank God, there are still many capable and willing people to address serious challenges and troubles. That’s not an issue of black and white, it’s a matter of good citizens on one side and rotten apples on the other. That’s why protest and concerted action against fraud and corruption is so NB – and its a very bad sign, that the ruling party is so unwilling to accept criticism and admit wrong doing and does not actually stand up against mismanagement and hopeless incompetence but rather continues to feed the corrupt and fraudulent gravy train of its party adherents with its countless dependents and cronies. There’s presently still much too much political ideology and utopian speculation driving the debate. It should change much more to practically doing the right thing, (what is good, right and salutary) and truly serving the people – in schools, hospitals, municipalities, roads, post office, energy providers etc. Areas that are working like the farming sector are under huge pressure and always in danger of expropriation and of being soft targets for violent crime/robbery/murder. There’s a lot to do and I must now get on with my daily chores. Thanks for the opportunity to address this Gary – even if the answer is far from finished or being properly polished.” Then I went on to post some of the daily newspaper articles that day in support of what I had written… https://www.facebook.com/wilhelm.weber
In this kind of heated debate it seems wise and prudent to consider the posting of Harald Martenstein: http://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/2015/31/harald-martenstein-monica-lierhaus-behinderung-ehrlichkeit und dazu passt auch das Buch von Kissler: http://www.randomhouse.de/Buch/Keine-Toleranz-den-Intoleranten-Warum-der-Westen-seine-Werte-verteidigen-muss/Alexander-Kissler/e487727.rhd
Sometimes it helps to look beyond one’s own context to understand even more clearly how and why people react to certain things and issues. Keeping in mind our own “Rhodes memorial”, street names changing and outright attack (or defence!) of historical symbols and icons you might like to read more about the struggle concerning the Confederate flag and old South symbols in the present USA: http://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/schauplatz/das-heikle-erbe-des-suedens-1.18599094
The eastern parts of Germany and many parts of Poland are today picturesque landscapes. In some of these places you had flourishing towns and cities before the war. Here is an article taking us down memory lane to one of these old German towns Kuestrin: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/reise/ruinenstadt-kuestrin-ist-die-natur-grausam-oder-barmherzig-13757225.html
Yesterday evening Angelika and I watched the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120102/ Hopefully we can still get around to see the theatre production of the contextualised “Animal Farm” by George Orwell in the Market theatre: http://markettheatre.co.za/shows/watch/animal-farm
Good books on my table this week were the following: