A Riot in Four Parts

Part I:

We saw South African small business owners weep bitterly over the vandalizing of their shops. It’s unfair, barbaric, foolish and just downright evil to steal from your own people who worked so hard for so many years to build a small business, feed their families and hold their hand out to those coming up the ladder. We know this is what successful family members in Africa do all the time– sacrifice to help those lagging behind. No, they do not deserve to have their shops looted and burnt down. They deserve to be protected by the angry mob that looks like them! End of this part of the sermon.

Part II:

Do you live in a capitalist society? Ok, listen, and listen carefully. Anyone in a capitalist society who thinks honest hard work and well-earned success makes them immune to attacks from angry mobs is perfectly deceived. You’ve got your head buried six miles underground. You live in a society that allows for a class of humans to exist in the shadows like animals. They come out in the night to scavenge and survive. Visit any African cosmopolis and see what I mean. Jo’burg, Nairobi, Lagos.. The glittering skyscrapers of daylight turn to ghostly pillars looking on as a different world creeps out in the dark side of the city. This is the side that will one day explode and burn down those glitzy malls and streets with your shops in them. So if you live in those gated estates and hate being disturbed, just know you’re a spit away from the hoi polloi across your fence coming to turn your hard-earned fortune into ashes. That’s just how the capitalist jungle works. You can weep bitterly all you want– yes, we all know you don’t deserve it– or you can throw away that persecution complex and recognize the opportunity to fix systems that don’t work. If not for yourself, then for your children.

Part III:

Here’s what to do- Get involved in making a better society. Stop wearing that individualism jacket you love so much. Sure, you can do you, you must do you, but you don’t exist alone, and doing you requires a village. Open your eyes to the reality around you. Stop building this personal relationship with a selfish god who hates social justice. Stop acting like politics is beneath you. And no, belonging to these exclusive self-help clubs doesn’t count; it’s still individualism. Neither does throwing a homeless person a blanket and checking the good-Christian box. You African Christians really don’t like the real badass Jesus who whipped corrupt people, called their leaders hypocrites, white-washed tombs and generation of vipers! That man had some choice insults. Be badass. Attend your neighborhood meet with the local politician or go to their offices and ask the hard questions, research how to recall them for not doing their job, tell them off for dividing you. Organize and plan to end that human indignity called “slums” that surround you. ???? ??????????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ???????, ??? ???? ? ???-???? ?????. Pass it on to your children.

Part IV:

Not your people- If you haven’t heard anything I’ve said so far, you just keep on cocooning yourself in your success and see if one day your house and your shop won’t be razed to the ground by your own people… no no, they are not your people. They are the humans you shut out; the ones you said failed to work hard in a school system that requires 75% of them to fail; the ones you say did not make it to university like you in a country where less than 10% can afford college fees; the ones you say made poor choices like steal a chicken and ended up in jail for ten years. They are not your people. And they don’t care about a revolution or a better society when they destroy your shop. They just want to release their sting, make someone else feel the pain. They will burn your success and eat you alive. And when they do, just know you’re not innocent either. Get involved in building a society that will not be overrun with angry mobs and weaponized hustlers.

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