Humour and tolerance among qualities that make us South African - reverend

A complaint lodged about the early call to prayer by the Zeenatul Islam Mosquein in District Six has sparked a debate about tolerance and what makes us South African.

On Upfront, Lester Kiewit, standing in for Refilwe Moloto speaks to Reverend Michael Weeder, dean of St George's Cathedral who is particularly active in multi-faith dialogue.

Reverend Weeder tries to isolate specific characteristics of our South African identity.

The one thing that comes to mind is our sense of humour.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

Particularly the black African majority has a a high level of accommodation of tolerance of others.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

Xhosa-speaking people are more fluent in Afrikaans than I am in Madiba's language.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

Although multi-lingualism is a gift that opens doors to the experience of others, Weeder says even more important is the ability to communicate in the language of compassion.

You can talk a lot of nonsense in any language, but the ability to just communicate care and kindness and compassion in one language, I think that takes you further than multi-lingualism.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

He describes getting to know your own roots as delving into an archive of treasures.

It's a treasure trove for us to know how different we are and how wonderful we are.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

For example, if one has just a smidgen of Khoisan DNA, it puts you in touch with Nelson Mandela, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, all of them who celebrated DNA within the Khoi and the San.

Reverend Michael Weeder, Dean - St George's Cathedral

For more of this thought-provoking discussion, listen below:


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