Labour Day or Workers Day?
Some name the 1st May “Labour Day” while others “Workers Day.” Some name it both and others one of the two but putting the other in brackets! Which is right? Whichever name or names one gives this day, what is at stake are both the worker and the work. It is the issue of the dignity and value of the human person as well as the dignity and value of human labour for the individual and society.
This day and month could be an opportunity for ecumenical and interreligious mutual awareness on this issue trying to discover the ‘St. Josephs’ of other Churches, religions and even of those who do not believe in God. The Encyclical of St. John Paul II ‘Laborem Exercens’ (On Human Work) could offer us some food for thought in this exercise.
When we look around us and look at the statistics vis-à-vis the youth and employment-unemployment, we cannot remain indifferent. The figures of unemployment are so worrying that some speak about it as a ‘ticking time bomb’! How are we handling this ‘bomb’ in our respective areas?
Nnyombi Richard, M. Afr. Bulletin in English Bulletin en Français
Born in Latin America, Reborn in Rome At the beginning of this New Year, I travelled to Mexico to attend a meeting organised by our Province of the Americas on Justice and Peace, Integrity of Creation, Encounter and Dialogue. In preparation for this journey and during the long hours at the airports and in the air to Mexico, three points attracted my attention: a) The large number of Catholics in this region – Brazil and Mexico are considered first and second respectively as the most Catholic countries in the world; b) Liberation Theology from Latin American c) The gift of Pope Francis from the Latin American Church to the Universal Church in particular and to the World in general READ MORE. AUSSI EN FRANÇAIS.
Builder of Bridges between People – Passion for dialogue Our confrere Etienne Renaud passed away in June this year. From the many testimonies offered at his funeral, two phrases seem to summarize his missionary vision and life: Builder of bridges between people – Passion for dialogue. This is the legacy that Etienne passes on to us as we continue on our missionary journey in our stormy world. I invite you to meditate on Etienne’s words which he pronounced in his homily, 25 years ago, when for the first time as Superior General, he received five young men – from different races and nationalities – into the Society on the day they made their Oath (Toulouse, 2nd January 1988): “You are going to find a continent in search for unity, countries confronted with racial and tribal conflicts. The communities of the Missionaries of Africa, not only international but also inter-racial will be a sign and a call. The group you form today is a symbol of what will be our communities of tomorrow. You are going to find a continent in search of justice, countries confronting the problems of corruption, violation of human rights, inequalities in the sharing of meagre resources. You will have to open your hearts to be in solidarity with the poor and the oppressed. The struggle for justice is not optional. The Church everywhere must be a sign of hope. In the countries where you will be sent, you will find people marching on the way to God, using other paths different from the one that Jesus opened for us. I think, in a special way, of Islam and all types of religious movements springing up in Africa. Remember that the unique solution for a Christian is to go up to the end of the Gospel demands, to be contagious of Jesus Christ, in the respect of other religious paths.” May his soul rest in peace. Nnyombi Richard, M Afr. See Video funerals of Etienne Renaud And an article written by Fr. André Ferré
In this part Carl shares with us about his own way to deconstruct and to process systemic violence. He introduces the term “new historicities” as a tool to question oppressive dominant discourses in history. He gives us insights from attachment theory in order to understand the dynamics between child soldiers and their commanders. He creates awareness on the demands of being exposed to traumatize people and living in traumatized societies. Finally, he shares about the role of imagination and the new understandings of power. READ MORE
See also the first part of the interview: Interview with Carl Stauffer
Recent government’s position on the ATI bill: what‘s the real issue? The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) welcomes Government’s recent announcement from the Ministry of Information that a consultant has been engaged to harmonise the Draft ATI Bill with “13 other existing pieces of legislation. This is, indeed a very necessary exercise if this important piece of legislation is to realise its intended purpose. As JCTR, we remain committed to championing the enactment of the law and to work collaboratively with the government to ensure that the law is passed without any further delays. We appreciate the government’s effort in updating the public on the status of the bill this far and we want to believe that every explanation we have received so far is valid. “The only challenge we have is that these explanations seem to be isolated and somehow not foreseen”, says Sr. Kayula Lesa. FULL TEXT
Carl Stauffer was born and raised amidst the war in Vietnam. In 1994, he and his family moved to South Africa under the auspices of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a faith-based international relief and development agency. In South Africa, Stauffer worked with various transitional processes such as the Peace Accords, Community-Police Forums, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Local Community Development structures. From 2000 to 2009, Stauffer was appointed as the MCC Regional Peace Adviser for the Southern Africa region. His work has taken him to twenty African countries. This interview is a very interesting resource for our JPIC commitment. In this interview, divided in three parts, Carl Stauffer shares with us how he is deconstructing and processing the systemic violence he has found during his ministry in Africa and now in the States. In the second part of this interview he remarkably uses a whole imaginary from the African traditions to develop the seven roles of a peacebuilder. He says: “I wanted to find a new language, and I wanted that language to be contextual to Africa, as well as contextual to my Christian faith, and many of the Christian leaders I was working with in Africa. So the language borrows from all of those, different streams and my need for creativity. I wanted to make it as contextual as I could within what I was experiencing at a gut visceral level, on the ground, in practicing peacebuilding in Africa for 16 years.” Links: Anti-Slavery campaign Interview Series with Carl Stauffer (Part 1) Anti-Slavery campaign Interview Series with Carl Stauffer (Part 2) Part Three will be posted next week.
Press Statement on behalf of Caritas Zambia by Samuel Mulafulafu, Executive Director, Caritas Zambia For a visitor who may have come to Zambia in the recent months this year, he/she would be wondering whether there is still a functioning State in Zambia. The level of chaos, hooliganism and lawlessness in Zambia has reached such unprecedented levels that one would be right to question whether there is a functioning government in Zambia. The dangerous part of this situation is that the political party in power, the Patriotic Front (PF), which was elected by the people to guarantee their rights, peace and security and justice, is deeply at the centre of these problems. The majority ordinary Zambians are yearning for a peaceful life that satisfies their basic needs, yet those they entrusted with this duty of promoting the common good have abdicated their role in preference for endless squabbles for power and fights for dominion and hegemony? Even as this exhortation is being written, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is severely rationing water causing great danger to patients and visitors to the hospital and yet our leaders don’t see such problems as priorities when compared to political squabbles. READ MORE Also: In-Fighting in the Ruling Party Illegal Land Occupation Freedom of Information Bill The Constitution making process
Treasuring the Dance of Life Challenges to Religious Formation in an ever-changing World New interview with Michael A. King who has been dean, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and Vice President, Eastern Mennonite University, since July 1, 2010. Michael shares with us his vocation journey, his vision on Seminary Formation in an ever-changing World and the way he treasures the Dance of Life. He says: “We never encounter the world outside of a story or stories that have already told us countless things about the world, our place in it, and how we should then live.” He invites us to be aware of the danger of living caught in a fictional world: “Even a script rooted reliably in history and God and able to tell us what is really true remains fictional unless we appropriate it.” Part one Part two
Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup. This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022. According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents. READ MORE
The Oasis Forum has consistently urged Government to consider protecting the on-going constitutional review process with a legal framework. Evidently, the history of constitution making in Zambia has shown that in the absence of such legal provisions, this process as well as the outcomes have been prone to manipulation and capture, all sorts of inefficiencies and outright confusion. For sure, history seems to be repeating itself today with the current constitution making process. The recent statements attributed to the Spokesperson of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution clearly illustrate the repercussions of undertaking constitution making processes without paying serious attention to the importance of underpinning the process within a legal framework. First and foremost, it is saddening to note that the Committee has failed to avail the people of Zambia with the final opportunity to validate their input in the process. The shortcoming in time could have been a foreseen challenge had the process been premised on a clearly laid down roadmap. Second and perhaps more threatening, reminiscent of past tendencies, it would be a serious error for the document to be handed only to the Republican President. It is only just and fair that this document lands in the hands of the Public who are the rightful custodians, the Republican President and Parliament at the same time! It is on this basis that the Forum is earnestly appealing to the Patriotic Front Government, Members of the Drafting Committee and the Minister of Justice to exhibit genuine patriotism by adhering to principles of constitutionalism. In fact, it is not too late to institute a process of legally protecting the on-going constitution making process. This request is in the interest of all well-meaning Zambians! Fr. Cleophas Lungu (Oasis Forum Spokesperson) Previous statement:
By Padre Florent S. Sawadogo, M.Afr, Missionarios de Africa, Paroquia de Dombe Well prepared and discussed during sector meetings in Mozambique, the antislavery campaign finally took place in the absence of the Sector Superior, Timothée Bationo, who went to Burkina Faso for the Plenary Council. On the 29th August 2013, a minibus well decorated with writing about slavery took off from Beira to Dombe with two seminarians and a driver. The next day was the opening day of the campaign. In Dombe, the thirsty ones for Justice & Peace awareness were ready early morning to embark to Sussundenga led by Florent S. Sawadogo en route to Tete at about 500km from there. Richard Ujwigowa was already in Tete for the ground work. In the morning of the 31st, people from various parishes in Tete gathered at the Cathedral longing to take part into the inputs of the day. The following parishes were represented: Changara, Boroma, Matundu, Sao Pedro, Sao Jose, Moatize Cathedral and Matema. There were also some representatives from the Catholic university (UCM), other universities, the commission of Justice and Peace of Tete and some individuals like the Bishop, two visiting Brazilians and some authorities from political circles and NGO’s. Among the Missionaries of Africa, two Fathers, two stagiaires and two seminarians spread the message of our founder Cardinal Charles Lavigerie to 108 people originating from Sofala, Manica and Tete. The topics for discussion were: the history of slavery, the slavery of yesterday and today, the traffic of human beings and commerce of human organs, medical assistance on these cases, testimony of an elder about slavery in Mozambique and a drama which summarized this issue. In the morning of the 1st September, Richard and Florent celebrated the closing Mass of the campaign at the outstation of Matema where the Missionaries of Africa are planning to live and work at the parish. The seed of “the fight against slavery” has grown in Mozambique. May the Holy Spirit strengthen the hearts of men and women of good will to fight against modern slavery! The Antislavery Trade Campaign in Chimoio By Maurice Odhiambo, Stagiaire in Dombe Community The Antislavery Trade Campaign came to Chimoio on the 7th and 8th of September 2013 at the Catholic University of Chimoio. Richard Ujwigowa welcomed the 500 participants present. Other organizers were Florent S. Sawadogo together with the stagiaires Maurice Odhiambo and Serge Kasongo. The conferences focussed on historical and new forms of slave trade, human trafficking and their devastating consequences. Different dramas, dancing, reciting of poems, drawing and singing took place at the end of the day. It was a very wonderful night. So much so that no one could sleep. It was accompanied by music to keep the atmosphere conducive. At the end, the juries combined all their results and the first three winners in each item presented won different prizes. It was not only for the best performers but there were also rewards for all the participants. The function closed with the Holy Mass on the 9th at the same venue.
12-15 September 2013, by Hugh Seenan, M.Afr The social study week in Nazaré was the climax of the three Provincial Capitals Caravan, Tete (Tete), Chimoio (Manica) and Beira (Sofala), promoting our anti-slavery campaign commemorating the 125th Anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie, our founder’s campaign. It was a joint week run by the Missionaries of Africa, the Archdiocese of Beira and SANTAC, the SADC sponsored group against Child Trafficking and Abuse. The participants included local traditional leaders, Catholic Secondary School pupils and their teacher, students and teachers from the Catholic University of Mozambique, local and provincial government agencies involved in this area, members of parish Justice and Peace groups as well as local religious and priests. With the help of SANTAC we had experts in the areas of law and social policy in this area. Key themes and presentations of the Missionary of Africa campaign were integrated into this. There was much interest and lively debate in a friendly atmosphere. Through SANTAC we had the presence of Fransisco Júnior, the top television investigative journalist in Mozambique and correspondent of VOA. He spoke about a famous case he was involved in, a report on girls trafficked to South Africa. He also made various interviews for VOA Portuguese service (radio and website see
The week was a fitting climax to our year of commemoration and through cooperation with SANTAC we hope to continue the campaign.
Beira, 15th September 2013 As I am writing these lines, one of the major events organised at the level of SAP to mark the 125th anniversary of Lavigerie’s Antislavery campaign, has just come to an end. The sector of Mozambique was the only one capable of pulling off something in the line of the bus tour we had envisaged at the initial stage of the campaign. A minibus set off from Beira on 29th August and travelled to Tete, the boom town along the Zambezi River, picking up some people from our parishes of Dombe and Sussundenga. A two day awareness event was organised in Tete and the same happened in Chimoio a week later. Hundreds of people took part. The grand finale took place in Beira, at the centre of Nazaré, from 12th to 15th September. Conferences, debates, radio and television interviews, drama and the 4-day-long continuous and interested involvement of some 80 participants were a considerable achievement by our confreres here. Claudio Zuccala, M.Afr Francisco Júnior, Actualizado em: 12.09.2013 18:16 Em Moçambique os padres católicos estão a organizar um encontro para reflectir sobre o problema do tráfico de seres humanos. O encontro decorre na cidade da Beira, centro de Moçambique. Para além dos religiosos, participam no encontro oficiais da polícia, da procuradoria da república e representantes de diversas organizações da sociedade civil.
”Não à escravatura”, é uma campanha que decorre desde o início do ano, em 22 países africanos onde a congregação católica “Missionários de África”, também conhecida por “Padres Brancos”, está presente.
Em Moçambique, e na zona centro do país, os religiosos já promoveram diversas actividades nas províncias de Tete e Manica, e, de hoje até domingo, vão reunir-se num centro, em Inhamízua, periferia da cidade costeira da Beira. Um encontro de reflexão onde se falará do tráfico de seres humanos.
Com a presente campanha, os Missionários de África pretendem também celebrar os 125 anos da campanha lançada pelo seu fundador, o cardeal Charles Lavengerie, para a abolição da escravatura em África.
Fundada em 1868, a congregação “Missionários de África” estabeleceu-se em Moçambique em 1946 nas províncias centrais de Manica e Sofala onde, para além da sua missão evangélica, tem contribuído para a formação de líderes religiosos sobre a doutrina social da Igreja, justiça e paz, preservação e protecção do meio ambiente, bem como no diálogo inter-religioso.
Não obstante o encontro da Beira marcar o encerramento da campanha “quebremos as correntes”, as acções de prevenção e sensibilização não vão parar tal como referiu à Voz da América, o Padre Hugo Seenan, um dos organizadores do encontro de reflexão sobre o fenómeno de tráfico de seres humanos que iniciou esta quinta-feira e termina domingo, em Inhamízua, arredores da cidade da Beira.
FENZA Conference: September 17, 2013 This was the theme of the conference organized by the FENZA team on Saturday 17th against the backdrop of the Antislavery Campaign celebrations and commemorations which are coming to an end this month. Four inputs were given. Claudio Zuccala, the JPICED Provincial Coordinator, presented the historical background in which the campaign was launched by cardinal Lavigerie -with specific references to the situation encountered by the first White Fathers when they arrived in Zambia at the end of the 19th century-, and the link with contemporary forms of slavery. Brother Jacek Rakowski, director of the Home of Hope, spoke about the slavery inherent to the life of children living in the streets. Sister Sabina Namfukwe, of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Child Jesus, currently matron at the Zambia Catholic University, shared her experience in the field of fighting Human Trafficking in rural areas in Zambia, especially in villages near border towns. In her presentation she explained the methods used by the traffickers and the main causes and contributing factors that lie behind the problem. Finally, Mr Francis Chivuta, coordinator of the National Freedom Network in Zambia and directly involved in human trafficking awareness raising and victim support, illustrated the aim, the goal and the methodology used by the NFN which was launched in South Africa in 2011 but is now operating in different countries. The conference was made lively by PowerPoint presentations and short video clips on the topic. Some of the participants raised interesting questions and gave their own enriching contribution to the debate. One of the strongest outcomes of the conference is the necessity to create a network of all the parties interested and committed to fighting modern slavery. That would enable us to pool together our resources and plan for the future. We are all convinced that it’s absolutely necessary to keep high the alert level and to do whatever is within our outreach to try and stop any form of slavery. It’s good to keep that in mind as the FENZA team will draw up a table of contents for the next series of conferences. N.B. Most of the material used during the conference is readily available. Please contact Romaric Bationo at email@example.com or Claudio Zuccala at firstname.lastname@example.org