Where is the Good News?

by Puleng Matsaneng

Recently as I have been reading the newspapers, watching the news on television, listening to the radio and following social media I have been struck by how negative the news is. I found very little that uplifted my soul. My question is: ‘Where is the good news? The bad news dominates all media. Is it because bad news sells well and that the media can make good money? The truth is, the media are not creating these stories. The stories are there, they are happening, terrible things do happen every day and it is good that they are not hidden. However there is a mix of stories and experience in our reality. There are other stories as well, which are hope-filled, but we tend to hear less of these.

In the early days of our democracy the narrative was that we were going to be a happy nation and that worries were a thing of the past. This was confirmed by the term coined by Bishop Desmond Tutu – the rainbow nation. This idea of the rainbow nation worked well for a while, but has slowly died. Was it that the time and flow of that period allowed it to flourish and today people are back to another reality in their lives? Many young people I have spoken to about this, say that the rainbow nation is a good concept but that it is not having the impact they had hoped for in their daily lives. They say that while it is good that people are able to intermingle freely it is not enough. The other implicit promise of the rainbow nation was that all would be well, and that we were looking forward to a brighter future.

We are a society that needs a lot of building up, and we need to face reality. We need to go to back to the old slogan I grew up knowing and practicing with friends “each one teach one”. The slogan gave me a different perspective on life. We were able to focus in a positive way. Many of us are left disappointed and disillusioned about life today. The reality is that there is both terrible news and good news. I believe the root of some of our struggle is greed: it has stolen the human person and created monsters. A story I read recently in the newspaper tells us of a monster – a man who had repeatedly raped his daughter from the age of 11. Our country has monsters but also good people, like those running an amazing project called Book Dash which aims for every South African child to have 100 books by the time they turn five. If we see only the bad news, then we will fail to see the good that might fill our yearning hearts. We must tell those stories too and through them be inspired to act for the good of each South African.

Ms Puleng Matsaneng

Puleng works in Spirituality and researches Ignatian Spirituality in an African context. Her area of speciality is in exploring how African themes and practices of spirituality dialogue with the Western traditions, and how that is understood in relation to Ignatian Spirituality. She has looked at how Ignatian Spirituality can be integrated into the African worldview. Most especially, how the use of song and storytelling can be part of the prayer process. She is currently managing retreats in daily life and training prayer guides. Puleng is also involved in ongoing Spiritual Direction, giving 8-day and 30-day retreats. Her latest venture is a pilot programme of healing workshops that use the principles of Ignatian Spirituality.

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