Dear Friends and Colleagues.
As the working year comes to a close for a brief period of respite, it does so amidst a deepening economic crisis, growing unemployment and greater levels of desperation in a country and world in turmoil.
For Khulumani Support Group, hardships are a growing reality amongst our more than 100,000 members. Many subsist on social grants; those with precarious forms of employment, the working poor, struggle to provide for the daily needs of their households.
For all of us, our desire is to live productive and decent lives in which we can contribute to the well-being of our homes and communities. This is in line with Khulumani’s hope of contributing to building an inclusive and just society, in which all people experience peace and safety.
In South Africa, the “unfinished business of transformation” has this year become more urgent as our young people give voice to the “fractures, wounds, hurt, and pain that exist in the society”.1 Many of them draw links to the past – to the lack of transformation in the lives of their parents who sacrificed to give birth to our democratic dispensation, and how this reality has continued to limit their own prospects as young people.
Many have expressed their despair, calling on all of us “to vigorously, honestly, and sensitively confront issues of privilege and disadvantage, of race, gender, culture, identity and language … towards forging more just and humane ways of conducting our affairs”.2
Jonny Steinberg reminds us that “We are very quick to forget our own history. It is much easier to invent a gentle, parallel world away from all the pain and the anger. But it really is just an escape.” 3 We all need to face the “unfinished business” that dates back to the failure of the state to embrace the TRC’s recommendations. 2016 should be the year of their fulfilment.
We anticipate continuing the struggle to realise a South Africa in which growing numbers of people are able to “lead secure, decent, productive, rich, and rewarding lives”. 4
We thank you for participating in this journey with us. Thank you for your support. With our appreciation and best wishes to you all for the coming year.
Marjorie Jobson on behalf of the staff and activists of Khulumani Support Group. E-mail: marje @ khulumani.net (no spaces)
1 Address by Dr Saleem Badat at the Rhodes University Commerce Faculty Graduation Ceremony on his acceptance of a Honorary Doctorate, 10 April 2015
3 Jonny Steinberg, Business Day, 17 April 2015, How quickly we forget our rough history.
4 Address by Dr Saleem Badat, 15 April 2015