A South African Judges Catholicism

At the Alter
Conducting the Liturgy in Cape Town

Conjuring Up Bitter Memories

The White i.e. European world is still hung up on pigmentation, and the cobwebs of racism have not been cut off and dislodged from their collective psyche. Thus the choosing of a Pope from Africa is not about to happen, soon. I see them here of the Roman Catholic faith immersed into its symbolism and culture. There is this one Roman church here in Orlando. It has been there, and I found it there when I was born. It was only active in the community in as far as it can recruit its pious members.  As a child I was taken there by my aunt along with my cousins.

We could not help but observe how the members after receiving sacrament had liquor smell on their breaths. Or how they would walk in ‘holy solemnity’ after ingesting the dry and round morsel of bread(I think), and their lips moistened with the wine, that then you could see that these holy parishioners had just returned from heaven, the way they looked, hands clasped on their chest, walking ramrod-straight-like, and their eyes ogling at the White Mary and small Jesus, and Jesus statues with an open palm showing blood, and others, hoisted on the wall above in the cathedral-like church, that we were always left wondering what is happening.

A Catholic Mass In Soweto

safrica-catholic service in soweto

Indoctrinating the Children in Catholic Dogma

I do not belong to any church, but have my Mtundu (an alter we make for the ancestors), with its candle, snuff and specific cloths for the main ancestors in the pantheon of the ancestors according to our family lineage/tradition. We light a candle, spill some mixture of water and mealy meal, and sprinkle snuff for them to eat and some snuff to smoke.

Afterwards, having called them according to their seniority to last one who died most recently, we talk and tell them of our problems and plight and intone them to help us get ahead. This is what my grandma has taught me, and I have learnt even much more than the basic practice I am just describing over the years.

Now, the thing about it is that the very transformed members who ate the sacrament, when they get home, they take out their drums and jump into their traditional ancestral dress and call on the spirits and interact with them, in order to get instruction who to do about some cultural sacred rites to appease and satisfy and communicate with their ancestors for whatever outcome these acts will bring them – hopefully success and the like..

Venerating the Ancestors
xhosa0004 Xhosa women in South African performing ritual Dance

What I am saying is that the appointment of a Pope from South America is going to have a damaging effect on the membership that is now dwindling and then this is helping foist rising force that is the Islamic religion here in South Africa. People are poor and they complain that these Churches, Anglican, Lutheran, Roman, Methodist and the rest of them are fleecing them penniless, and so people are going with the Religion of Islam, because they provide grocery and comfort and support, instead of asking for ‘tithes’ as is done in the aforementioned Churches.

Islam is Growing among Black South Africans!


A Harbinger of more Muslim/Christian Conflict?

The appointment of the Pope is coinciding with the Churches I have mentioned (the Roman Church in Particular, is going down in membership and relevance. The youth are worse. But, having said that, they will follow the Pope, whatever shape of form the doctrine will be decided by the parish, I think that making Africa irrelevant was a big mistake, because, as I am onto this piece here, one can see and witness the cracks and splits that are occurring, and my take is that Africans will continue to evolve and revolve the church until, like the Anglican Church of Africa, had to break with the Church of England at one point.

The Anglican Church in Africa is now run by Africans, and is called The Anglican Church of Africa.  It is divided into several different African countries, and most are named-according to the name of the country where they are based.  They are also called Anglican Church, African Episcopal Church, of Africa- very close to and reminiscent of the naming of the churches in America by African Americans in the late 18th century, as in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Or Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

My take of all this is that the African people here in Mzantsi, having left and leaving the churches.  They are headed to traditional healers, some fly-by-night churches and others in African Traditional churches; which are receiving many African peoples into their ranks and are burgeoning with in-coming recruits from the “traditional” Christian Churches mentioned above. As you say, the Catholic Bishops settled for a descendant of their former enslavers and colonialists of Argentina (Falkland War comes to mind), that the Papal’ocracy is a farce for me.

It will not change anything with the appointment of this new Pope, because what is happening to their Roman Church base in Africa may be beyond their power to reverse. I still talk and do the sacred practices and rites to and for my ancestors the way I was taught by my Grandma. I know many more people are now practicing this part of our culture and spirituality from the way families are now doing things – which may vary from family to family – but they retain the same protocol and form.

This is the religious double vision they will have to reckon with. The Roman church and other such-like religious institutions have introduced gambling, and is in cahoots with the gambling dens and their Moguls, that are sprouting all over the South African landscape. They bussed and are still bussing thousands of their members to these gamble caverns, start by giving them some paltry money to gamble when they reach the fleecing dens; the rest they will have to cough-out of their own cash in order to continue gambling.

  A South African Gambling Palace

A South African Casino

The Catholic Church is Good for Business!

People have now become addicted and are loosing huge sums of money/houses and jobs; yet there is still no one addressing this insidious odious affair. What the church is doing, is to constantly rebuild and renovate established buildings and their old church buildings over the years. The folks around them are poor, and the children who go to their schools are made to pay exorbitant fees.

So that, honestly looking at the arrival of the new Pope, I do not see any changes for the better in the African Roman churches here in South Africa, except those in the White Suburbs-well, that’s another long story. This is what we see happening and then some, here in Mzantsi… I do not see an African Pope coming in the next distant horizon, and the Roman Church here in South Africa, is not doing that very well, and this has been going on now for many decades.

Basilica of Our Lady Of Peace:  An African Vatican?

African Basilica

Yes! If African Catholics Follow the Example of Anglicans

And they Won’t Have to Look Far for a Pope!

African Prelate III

Take you Choice: Cardinals Frances Arinde and Peter Appiah Turkson


 SkhoKho SaTlou

South Africa

March 15, 2012 


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