Speech at Annual Meritorious Award-Giving Ceremony of Setshabelong Bible Church by Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize
9 Apr 2010
Programme Directors, Dr L Skhosana and Mr O Shupinyaneng
Your Worship Bishop Pule Magethi and Mrs Thabitha Magethi
Members of the congregation
Awards Recipients, Bishop Benjamin Dube and Dr Molefi Oliphant
Members of various political organisations
The business community
All workers of the conference
Ladies and gentlemen
Ntumelleng, lenna ke qale ka go dumedisa Mapostola, ka Mohau! Mosebetsi wa lona o montle ka tsela e makatsang!
Your Annual Meritorious Award-Giving Ceremony is held during the most important month in the history of our nation �" the month of April. South Africans will celebrate Freedom Day, on 27 April 2010.
This Ceremony bears testimony to your identification with the wellbeing of the people of this country. It shows, beyond any reasonable doubt, the great work you have been doing, over the years, as Setshabelong Bible Church, to ensure our people enjoy the freedoms we have fought for. Accordingly, we feel very honoured to have been invited to this august occasion.
I wish to commend Your Worship Bishop Magethi and members of the congregation for your steadfast contribution to nation building, through your good work.
The impact you are making to community development, every year, by among other things, recognising and honouring deserving members of our nation, is taking us closer to the goal of delivering a better life for all our people. For this, we say, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, thank you!
Your Worship Bishop Magethi, we are humbled also by your noble and patriotic decision to retain the historic Sharpeville township as the venue, for the Gala Dinner. Not only does this help in keeping Sharpeville on our collective memory.
Coming to Sharpeville to honour those individuals who have given their lives to the betterment of society, sends a message to members of the community that says: ‘they must also assist in building the community’. This is a way of showing the community the many possibilities of improving living conditions, by, for instance, participating in the fight against crime and poverty.
Keeping the Gala Dinner in Sharpeville, tells us that Setshabelong has made a clear option for the poor, just like the churches did during the difficult days of the struggle against apartheid and racism. Your passionate love for the people of Sharpeville demonstrates your social conscience.
Allow me, also, to express appreciation to all the Friends of the Bishop, who have contributed immensely to the success of the 2010 Annual Meritorious Awards and the Conference as a whole. Your efforts in this regard, have reminded me of lessons I shared with National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc), in November 2009, when it celebrated its 45th Anniversary.
I reflected on what transpired during the Business and Labour Hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I said that the progressives from both business and organised labour, who testified before Commissioners, were unanimous in acknowledging that African societies were impoverished, and “destroyed”, by the apartheid regime, which inevitably prevented South Africans from building a united society.
Your efforts, that have made this Gala Dinner, and will make the Conference, a success, will go a long way in boosting the recovery of our communities from the evils and excesses of apartheid rule.
By helping us in rebuilding our communities, you are contributing, in the long run, to the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic nation.
We have said it, many times over, that Government alone cannot transform our societies. The five national priorities presented by President Jacob Zuma, during the 2010 State of the Nation Address, can be better achieved through the efforts of all of us, including, business, labour, religious communities, women, youth, and all sectors of our society.
It is for these reasons that we also emphasized the importance of partnerships in our 2010 Budget Vote Speech, delivered in Parliament, on March 25.
The national priorities, that are at the centre of the ANC’s 2009 Election Manifesto include: education, health, fighting crime, ending poverty and job-creation.
The blessings received so far, including the contributions of the Friends of the Bishop, reveal the abundant blessings of the Lord to humankind, best captured in this year’s theme.
I must say, you have chosen the most appropriate theme for this Conference �" Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be Done! The will of the Most High shall always be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
As we all know, the Annual Meritorious Awards are bestowed on individuals who have shown ‘outstanding effort in community building’. The fact that Setshabelong Bible Church has prioritised these Awards, points to the significant role generally played by such gestures and accolades in human society.
If I were to borrow a phrase from Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s inspirational book, called, The Art of Possibility, I would say, awards for meritorious conduct, are “the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share” (2000: 125).
At one level, by recognising exemplary efforts of individuals, you are inspiring them to excel, even more. At another level, you are deploying them as “a spark” that would ignite in others, the will to do good, and to also excel, just like those individuals who have been honoured for great deeds.
I agree with Rosamund and Benjamin Zander when they say that “our universe is alive with sparks”. As Setshabelong Bible Church, you have on your “fingertips an infinite capacity to light a spark of possibility” (Ibid: 125) so that others may see, and also catch a fire. The meritorious awards achieve just that!
This time around, the two outstanding individuals who have shown outstanding effort in community building are Bishop Benjamin Dube and Dr Molefi Oliphant.
Their good deeds that cannot be hidden from others, will forever serve as a spark that will ignite in others the fire and the will to do good for their communities, in their different ways, using different talents.
I therefore congratulate Bishop Benjamin Dube, for his sterling contribution in advancing the Gospel through music and Word. His heart-warming religious songs are well-known among our people. Your song, I feel like going on/though trials come in every hand, is a touchstone lending itself to many rich interpretations.
To those in deep sorrow and despair, it would say, trust in the Lord your God for delivery and blessings. In another context, it reminds us that the freedoms we are celebrating in the month of April were possible only because, we had to keep ‘going on though trials came in every hand’.
In the same breath, I wish to congratulate Dr Molefi Oliphant, under whose sterling leadership, the South African Football Association (SAFA) brought the prestigious 2010 FIFA World Cup to our beautiful shores. Your good work will always be remembered, even beyond the borders of your country.
The message I want us to take home is that ‘even in giving, it is not for ourselves, but for the common good!’
Lastly, I wish you a successful Conference! May the Lord shower you with blessings unending, so that, your ‘presence on this earth, should continue making the devil and his agents uncomfortable’. Allow me to close with the inspirational words of the Bishop and MaBishop Magethi, contained in their Welcome Letter to all Conference participants, in which they say:
“May the Kingdom of God Manifest in your Lives!!!”
God bless you!
Cell: 082 052 3499
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
9 April 2010
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
9 Apr 2010
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