Seven unpredictable weeks to Apocalypse?

by Iswamo Kapalu

The year is drawing to a close. With only seven weeks left in the year, the time is soon coming where we will have the opportunity to reflect on all that has happened.

Here at home, we had a year where protests rocked our universities with unclear results. This was a year where local government elections shifted our political landscape.  It was a year that saw the tide finally start to turn on the scandal-ridden Zuma administration and the party that carried him.

Racism, not one to be outdone in South Africa, reared its ugly head on more than one occasion exposing the depth of the divides we thought we were healing.

We weathered, what we hope, was the worst of the drought. We got a new Public Protector. Our Finance Minister was charged with fraud. We decided to leave the International Criminal Court. We flirted with economic crisis.

Abroad, thousands more people died in the Syrian Civil War and refugees continue to pour into Europe and the Middle East. Fascism is making a comeback in the global west.

America voted a second-generation billionaire as the voice of the “downtrodden” white working-class. Britain decided to leave the EU. The Democratic Republic of Congo is fast hurtling towards another political crisis.

With all this and the occasional natural disaster, you would be forgiven for glancing at the sky every few moments; hoping to see a “man with hair like lamb’s wool and skin like fine brass descending from the heavens” [1] to bring this show to a close.

So far, no such luck I’m afraid. But with seven unpredictable weeks left in the year, fingers remain crossed.

But whether or not the times are in fact apocalyptic, there is an inescapable feeling in the air that that we stand at the end of something. What that is, time and future historians will tell. But there is in the air a sense that all certainty is unravelling, that the world is realigning and that the “inviolable” is now vulnerable. Our hope and vision for the future now seems unaligned with those we share the country and the world with, and there is no shortage of men and women ready to exploit our dissonance.

Although the year has made this discord frighteningly vivid, the events of the year may only be symptomatic of an end that has been coming for some time.

But as the year ends, and as we enter a time of year reserved for celebration, family, rest, thankfulness and reflection, it may well become necessary that we engage in an exercise of recommitment. Recommitment to the best of our values; knowing that they now face a challenge of unknown proportion. Recommitment to our principles; no matter how much we like those who violate them. Recommitment to peace; even when conflict entices.

Indeed, the time has come for us to reconcecrate ourselves at the altar of love, peace and hope – so that we may emerge from our changed world with the best of ourselves intact. That we ourselves, can shape the changing world to reflect that which is good in us.

[1] Revelation 1:14-15

Mr Iswamo Kapalu
LL.B. (Wits)

Iswamo Kapalu is a young South African of Zambian origin. He holds an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand and currently works as a researcher, writer and social justice advocate at the Jesuit Institute.
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