Changing for the better

Things have changed in Hillbrow, South Africa
Things have changed in Hillbrow, South Africa

This evening we’ll welcome a New Year. There are many local traditions related to New Year’s Eve. The custom in Hillbrow, South Africa used to be throwing furniture out of the window. This became really dangerous – you might even see a fridge flying out – and many people got hurt, so this custom has changed: while items are still thrown out, furniture does not fly any longer. I understand Italians had a similar tradition in the old days. These days, we all like to throw away our own “old stuff,” and change for the better. 

I hope a number of things become “old stuff” soon – in Africa and in other parts of the world:

  • terrorist actions: bomb blasts, abductions of girls and other such atrocities;
  • corrupt practices by people in power;
  • extreme poverty.

I think an important ingredient for these practices to become “old stuff” is that each one of us thinks more in terms of communitya value characteristic of African people. Acknowledging the interdependence of all human beings will lead us to look for the common good: only by seeking the good in each and every human being, will we be able to achieve a common good.

If we want to achieve societal change, we need to start by looking at ourselves: what’s “my own old stuff” that I wish to throw away? Which are the attitudes and behaviors I need to change?

Best wishes for 2015 to you and your families!