PARTY

Nefarious missionary activities did bring suffering - ANC

Office of Chief Whip says President's assertion was sound, not an attack on Christianity

PRESIDENT AND CHRISTIANITY

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is disturbed by the gravely misleading reports by some in the media regarding the statements made by President Jacob Zuma at KwaMaphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday (see Times report).  Some media reports have claimed that the President has blamed Christianity for "bringing on the existence of orphans and old age homes". This is not true!

In stressing the importance of ubuntu, the President lamented certain aspects of the Western culture which he said had contributed to the corrosion of African value system and culture - which are fundamental to national cohesion. He said that, while African culture has since time immemorial taught people to care for each other, embrace and show kindness to one another, the advent of Western way of living condoned ‘each man for himself' principle. This has resulted in elderly people being condemned to old age homes and parentless children sent to orphanages.

It is an historical fact that some missionary enterprises came to Africa under the guise of Christianity to aid the process of colonisation, which subsequently undermined and eroded African cultures and traditions. Indeed even apartheid, which was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations, was practised under the cloak of Christianity. A distinction should therefore be drawn between Christianity as a faith and nefarious missionary activities, which have brought sufferings upon our people.

Irresponsible journalism will always find a creative way to mislead, and in this case it inexplicably saw an attack on Christianity in the President's perfectly sound assertion. This has unfortunately created a perception amongst certain religious bodies that the President is against Christianity.

Statement issued by Moloto Mothapo, Office of the ANC Chief Whip, ANC Parliamentary Caucus, Parliament, December 21 2011

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