South African Leadership Morality Term Paper

Pages: 14 (4242 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Written: January 18, 2019

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Nonetheless, significant progress has been made as South Africa evolves from a closeted society to one where the rights of the gay community are openly championed[footnoteRef:12]. [12: Dixson Pushparagavan, "The History of LGBT Legislation," South African History.]

A great number of South Africans are becoming sympathetic to the plight of the gay community. LGBTQ violence which has included corrective rapes and the killing of a lesbian couple has been met with uproar from the general public as they become more aware of issues that the LGBTQ community faces in South Africa. While tolerance towards the gay community has been growing, it is still noteworthy that there are tremendous risks associated with being part of the LGBTQ community in South Africa that stands at 800,000 strong. This was the conclusion of a report titled “We’re Queer and We’re Here!”[footnoteRef:13] [13: Jasmine Andersson, "What Is Happening to LGBT Rights in South Africa?]

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There have been horrific incidents targeting the LGBTQ community that have been condemned by almost all right-thinking South Africans. A gay couple were abused by the police and told to remain naked. There have been reports of a church beating gay men and making them pay for what they called ‘damages’ on realizing that they were gay. There was a protest in Johannesburg after a film discussing the issue of gay men among the Xhosa community was set to be screened in a local theatre. The most brutal incident that has ever been directed at the community was the torture, rape, and subsequent lynching of a lesbian couple, Anisha and joy. The incident shocked the country and united many people towards the push for LGBTQ rights. South Africa remains one of the first countries to have LGBTQ rights explicitly in its constitution. Nonetheless, there still exists a complicated relationship between the general population and the LGBTQ community[footnoteRef:14]. [14: Jasmine Andersson, "What Is Happening to LGBT Rights in South Africa?"]

Term Paper on South African Leadership Morality Assignment

Before 1994, sexual activity of any kind between men was explicitly prohibited by South African law. In 1994, the age of 19 was set as the age of consent for sexual activity for heterosexual and same-sex sexual encounters. In 1996, the government moved to give the LGBTQ community constitutional protection thereby becoming one of the very first countries in the world to do so. Via section 9(3) of the constitution, discrimination based on gender, race, and sexual orientation was disallowed. Same-sex marriage would be later legalized in the year 2006. With all these progress milestones, it is still important to note that there is still overt discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community in South Africa. This is not a problem unique to South Africa, though. Many countries around the world are still dealing with homophobia even after putting forth pieces of legislation to advance LGBTQ rights[footnoteRef:15]. [15: Ibid]

The official figures for the number of members of the LGBTQ community in South Africa are 800,000. Taking into account that South African society is still dealing with homophobia, it is clear that the real number is a lot higher than 800,000. Many people fear ‘coming out’ fearing that they will be shunned by the families and communities. Nonetheless, there is a positive trend towards tolerance in South Africa that now makes it a lot easier for gay people to come out. The rise in tolerance can be attributed to a younger population that is more educated and more exposed to other cultures and practices. With greater tolerance, there is going to be a greater appreciation of the roles members of the LGBTQ community can play in the provision of moral leadership in the South African context. Further, their purchasing power, what is often referred to as the “Pink Rand”, will be better appreciated[footnoteRef:16]. [16: Ibid]

One of the areas that will be impacted as the ability of the LGBTQ communities to help provide moral leadership in the nation becomes better appreciated is the level of violence against LGBTQ individuals. With greater tolerance, these incidences of violence are expected to drop significantly. In South Africa, Black members of the LGBTQ community are likely to be victims of violence by one percent higher than the general population (8% versus 7%). White individuals, on the other hand, are more likely to be insulted verbally (45% versus 39%). LGBTQ members of Indian or Asian descent are more likely to experience physical abuse and violence from their family members than the general population (11% versus 7%). Tolerance of LGBTQ lifestyle varies by region and this influences how open LGBTQ members in various regions are open about their sexuality. LGBTQ members in the Western Cape are more likely to be public about their sexual orientation (70% as compared to 57% nationally). Gauteng comes in second at 60%. The LGBTQ individuals that are least likely to be open about their sexuality are living in Limpopo (35%). The area where violence against LGBTQ individuals is most likely is the Eastern Cape region[footnoteRef:17]. [17: Jasmine, "What Is Happening to LGBT Rights in South Africa?"]

Even with the challenges that LGBTQ individuals face in South Africa, it is important to note that the nation is doing a lot better than most African states as far as LGBTQ rights are concerned. Homophobia in most African states is more prevalent than intolerance for people of a different religion and ethnicity as well as for people for people living with HIV/AIDS. East African states are the least tolerant of homosexuals[footnoteRef:18]. [18: Ibid]

In every society, the church plays a crucial role in providing moral leadership. While it is inevitable that there will always be tension between church-in-society and church-in-body, such tensions can be avoided by building exceptional structures in the church such as those seen in groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Quakers. The bigger churches have not excelled at building these structures as well as smaller churches have. The important thing for churches to consider is to not let these tensions affect their ability to provide moral leadership or their ability to guide their followers towards good deeds. In South Africa, a majority of the population identify as Christians. Within the Christina religion, there are several denominations that serve South African believers. Each of these denominations has their own leadership and organization structures. All these denominations are minority denominations. There is no clear majority denomination in South Africa. All the denominations have as much a chance to provide moral leadership to the nation as any other denomination in the country[footnoteRef:19]. [19: P. Coertzen, "Freedom of Religion in South Africa: Then and Now 1652 – 2008," Verbum Et Ecclesia 29, no. 2 (2008).]

Just like most nations of the world, South Africa houses several Christian denominations. There are also different religions that exist within its borders. The social face of the nation is therefore complementary and is as diverse as the people who live within it. These religions, denominations, and institutions overlap and are mutually dependant on another in some way. If they are to provide moral leadership to South Africans, there is a need for them to find ways to work together[footnoteRef:20]. [20: P. Coertzen, "Freedom of Religion in South Africa: Then and Now 1652 – 2008]

The reality that most institutions are mutually interdependent makes none of the institutions in this plurality autonomous. None of them is a law unto itself. They must find ways to co-exist and to enable all South Africans to work towards a common purpose. This makes the provision of moral leadership much more attainable. Further, relationships between South Africans can only get better when people of all denominations are committed to the one unifying purpose of all religions which is the love of God and neighbor[footnoteRef:21]. [21: Ibid]

All societies, including South Africans, have to reckon with both a plurality of institutions and a plurality of directions. Just as society has found a way to deal with a plurality of institutions, it must also find ways to properly manage a plurality of directions. Just because members of an institution or association subscribe to a particular ideological direction does not mean that they have to be intolerant to all other ideological directions. People of other ideological directions should also be respected and tolerated if their philosophy and practices bring no harm to other people. In the case of the church and the state, disagreements, as they seek to provide leadership to South Africans, does not mean that one of the points of view is inferior to the other. Both the church and the state have a duty to provide leadership to the citizens. The state must be accepting of differing views while working to deliver its mandate to the people within this context without subjecting its subjects to any prejudice[footnoteRef:22]. [22: Ibid]

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