When we arrived in Soweto, some of us wandered the streets and we wandered the Maponya Mall, and we became so aware of the violence of Empire and its devastating consequences on ordinary people in Africa.

We hope this can be used in personal meditations, as well as group discussions, perhaps using questions as a guide:

SEE: What are the images you see? Let them first speak to you without making any judgement – simply see them and allow them to speak to you separately.

JUDGE: Which represent Empire and which represent something of its consequences?

What thoughts come to mind as you observe the images, their interconnections and the contradictions you see?

ACT: Are there any actions that you feel you would like to take forward in response to new insights you have made? As a church? As an individual?

Some examples may be:

  • Notice the contradiction between the top left image (empowered women…) and the bottom right – a woman pushing a trolley of recycled rubbish, which she and (her?) man have spent since 5am collecting, and spend all day and every day collecting: Empire needs the poor – to pick up the rubbish that is one of the most ghastly side-effects of rampant consumerism.
  • Towards the right top, there is a monument – it is the monument to all the children who have died during the Soweto Riots which took the struggle against apartheid to a whole new level and laid the foundations of the gaining of our democratic revolution. It points up to the sky as a symbol of hope – but here it points to an image of the Maponya Mall, and below it is an image of the shacks that persist in some areas of Soweto – is this what these children died for?
  • And notice that message on the old power station tower “Connecting Mzansi” conjures up the sense of peace and unity (Ubuntu) -. This is unfortunately a myth, with shots being heard most nights in Klipspriut, an area near the hostels where families are squashed into mass single quarters – represented by the bullet hole in the glass pictured in the top right corner.