Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "People are tired of Covid-19 restrictions", says His Exc. Mgr. Sithembele Sipuka, Bishop of Mthatha and President of SACBC (Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, which brings together the Bishops of South Africa, Botswana and ESwatini), in his end of year message, highlighting the state of the nation and the Church in South Africa.
"By most accounts, the upsurge, or the second wave is due largely to people not adhering to Covid-19 preventive measures. What is concerning is that these measures are not flouted for reasons of survival, e.g., people cuing for grants or for food parcels but for cultural and entertainment reasons", denounces Mgr. Sipuka.
For example, the Bishop mentions funerals and ancestral related functions (imicimbi). In these cultural events people gather closer to each other, they eat from the common dish (isithebe) and drink from the same billycan (ibhekile).
"The disregard of regulations for Covid-19 for entertainment reasons manifesting in group gatherings and parties is committed largely by young people. These practices provide the perfect opportunity for the spread of the virus, and as leaders, whether we like it or not, we shall be involved in the aftermath of these fatal behaviors, so we must do something about this problem", said Bishop Sipuka.
According to the President of SACBC, at the root of the practice of gathering in groups and partying by the young people and thus posing the danger of Covid-19 transmission is the "prevailing hedonistic culture that propagates pursuance of pleasure at all cost, even if that means inconveniencing and endangering others". "Against this selfishness, the value of human solidarity proposed by Pope Francis in his latest Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” and the value of postponing momentary pleasure for the common good are alternative values that we could present to young people", suggests Mgr. Sipuka.
"More importantly, we need to point out that the present inconvenience imposed by the Covid-19 regulations is nothing compared to the inconvenience to social life and economy that will come about from infection with Covid-19, there will be a lot tears and regret!", he concludes. At the end of November there were 775 502 cases of Covid-19 with 21,201 deaths in South Africa. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/12/2020)