Quaker Conversation, Session 7: Social Revolution & Adaptive Community; Parallels between Apartheid & a Pandemic Mentality

Quaker Conversations Series, Session 7, with Nozizwe and Jeremy Madlala-Routledge from Southern Africa Yearly Meeting

Saturday 30th January, 2021

This event is in partnership with FWCC Africa Section.

The year 2020 will go down in history not only as the year of one of the most devastating pandemics the world has seen, where close to two million lives were lost and economies and livelihoods disrupted, but also a time of deep reflection on our common humanity and the need to recalibrate how we relate to one another and attempt to rebuild our economies and societies.

As it raged, the COVID 19 pandemic highlighted and deepened social and economic inequalities, while simultaneously polarising and mobilising our societies into action. The polarisation manifested in global protests against racial violence, gender inequality, and a strong demand for economic, post-colonial and social justice. 

For us having lived in Apartheid South Africa and having participated in the anti-apartheid struggles, we believe parallels exist between the social revolution to end apartheid, which the world declared a crime against humanity, and the growing global action and solidarity in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Having witnessed the triumph against adversity that manifested in the release of Nelson Mandela from prison after 27 years, and the negotiations for a democratic South Africa, we are optimistic that the COVID 19 pandemic will galvanise us to work together in global solidarity, both in terms of developing vaccines and rebuilding our communities and economies. We are aware that the hopes and dreams we had for a post-apartheid society have yet to be realised, and that freedom is a constant struggle and we need sustained actions for global justice. 

As the Quaker community, what lessons can we draw from our own rich history of social activism for justice? How can we use our testimonies to contribute to the new global impetus to rebuild  after the COVID 19 pandemic? The pandemic has taught us that we build complex adaptable communities, working in cooperation and not competition. We have been reminded of the importance of ensuring we and our governments are accountable and that the earth’s resources are used for the greater common good. 

“The (present) crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born;  in this interregnum (transition), a great variety of morbid symptoms appear” (A Gramsci 1891-1937). 

Join us in conversation on Saturday 30th of January at 12noon UK time, as we reflect on the challenges the pandemic unveiled and consider how Friends/Quakers can use our testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Cooperation, Equality, Justice, and Sustainability to contribute to the world all want.

Join us as we begin to lay the foundations for our actions in the context of the new normal and in preparation for our FWCC World gathering in Durban in July 2024.

Register via Eventbrite to receive the zoom link for the day.