Fighting For The Future Of Our Country

– by Graeme Dorrington

Becoming numb becomes a coping mechanism for many South Africans, but we need to stay present, engaged, and alert to the sufferings of others around us. No matter what your profession, each one of us is called to make a difference. 

I’ve always found it difficult to balance my faith and my work. I tend to become absorbed in my work at the expense of my faith. I think there are many people like me. I have enjoyed practicing law as it is a career that allows for obvious ways of being able to make a difference in people’s lives. This is easier said than done as being self employed one needs to generate an income. One needs to do the best for your client, but frequently this puts you at odds with being able to make the difference you would want to make.

Our country is in dire straights
I have focused part of my practice on advising on government’s BEE transformation programme, because I recognise the desperate need in this country to transform our economy. I am deeply worried about our future primarily because of the lack of real transformation in our economy. Just this morning I watched as men waiting for work in the street, crowded around a bakkie builder who had pulled up looking for labour. The men were clearly desperate for work. As he pulled over, they sprinted to his car window clamouring for him to choose them. It was all so desperate. It was humiliating for the men. His choice was going to be based on who got to his window first. He chose 4, and the other 5 drifted back to sitting on the pavement in the hope that someone else will give them a chance to make money to feed themselves and their families.
I sensed a resigned desperation in these men. I was so aware of how much has changed in this country, and yet how little for the person in the street. I quietly prayed for those men I saw today. And I asked God to never let me lose that sick feeling I get in my stomach when I witness desperate poverty, to not lose the desire to make a difference and to not give up in trying to make South Africa, this country I love, a better place. 

We cannot remain indifferent to poverty
I am constantly disillusioned by the failure of business people to understand the frustrations of previously disadvantaged people. I am dismayed at the many politicians who are more interested in their careers and self enrichment, than in helping those living in poverty. I understand how complex South African society is. But it is unforgivable for those who have a lot, to be indifferent to the suffering of those around us who live in poverty and those who are denied opportunities.

Christians must lead the way
We live in this country with so much wonderful potential. We are so battered by raw emotion in this country, it is at times difficult to take it all on board. Becoming numb becomes a coping mechanism for people sensitive and aware of the desperate needs of so many in our midst, and it is a constant challenge as to what we can realistically do.

We as Christians need to lead in the fight for real meaningful economic transformation. We need to continually fight all forms of political and business greed and corruption, and we must never stop feeling sick to the core when we see and experience poverty.

Graeme Dorrington, Cape Town Attorney.

JOY! Magazine (June 2017)

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