The long road to Nelspruit
Date and time taken: 17 February 2009, @ approximately 09H55
Nikon D40, 20mm focal length, 1/2000 sec exposure F/4, ISO 200
I captured this shot while on my way to visit the new stadium being constructed for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. This area also known as Eastern Transvaal or the lowveld, is famous for its scenic natural beauty. Anyone travelling to the Kruger National Park from Johannesburg, must pass this way, on long winding roads which have now been upgraded from the narrow, pot-holed roads of the past.
When I changed the look and feel of my blogsite (yet again :-)), I decided to use this photograph as a metaphor for the site: the long and winding journey on the path of knowledge and wisdom through critical thinking.
If the leader of the ANC, and President-in-waiting Jacob Zuma is to be believed, god has declared his unequivocal allegiance to the ANC. Speaking at an election rally in Mpumalanga yesterday, Zuma “says his party is approaching the general elections knowing very well that God is on their side.”
Zuma was further quoted as saying “When priests pray for poverty to end and for development, then it means God agrees with the ANC because the ANC stands for those things,” and “We in the ANC know God. When the ANC was born, it was baptised. We have respect, we are beautiful, we conduct ourselves in a good way.” Notice how easily anyone can speak on behalf of a non-existent entity. Notice how easily the self-praising lies flow of the tongue.
As a cynical believer you might want to question why god, who once threw his weight behind the former apartheid government, has now changed his allegiance. Or, you may also wonder why god has abandoned the multitude of religious political parties that are also contesting the upcoming South African general elections, to favor the ANC. And the cynical believer might rightfully conclude that god in his wisdom somehow approves of corrupt politicians and inhuman political systems. As a cynical non-believer you, like myself, might conclude that god (and by extension, religion) is simply the most powerful tool in the hands of power-hungry zealots, manipulated with contempt to coerce and enslave.
Self-interest is the hallmark of politics (and politicians) and religion serves self-interest very comfortably indeed.