We must not be ashamed

THE goings-on at the Johannesburg Central Methodist Church, where Bishop Paul Verryn is providing shelter for refugees, are yet another indictment onf "civilisation" in modern societies.

Way back when I was a child my mother told me a story about love that bears a striking similarity to this situation.

An important king decided to visit the royal family of another kingdom to find a wife - a daughter from that family. Lofty preparations were made.

The royal daughters were dressed immaculately and perfumed seductively on the day.

Their servant was ordered to keep out of sight, except when her services were needed.

One by one the princesses paraded in front of the visiting king and he turned them away.

When there was no more princesses to present, the king enquired about the one who had brought in refreshments.

Despite being told she was a servant and inappropriate, the king insisted on seeing and interviewing her and, guess what, she melted the king's heart.

The 2010 World Cup looms large and as we prepare for our foreign visitors and this big occasion, we seem obsessed with showing only the smart and glittering things to make an impression on them.

But how do we achieve this when right in the heart of Johannesburg's marbled Smal Street stands the Central Methodist Church, spewing the dregs of human society?

We have been aware of the existence of these people but self-centredness numbed our hearts.

And so long as society is a jungle that is our greedy capitalist system, we'll forever have such people in "wrong" places like the glamorous city of Johannesburg.

Just like in the case of the visiting king, love knows no bounds.

We'll never really know what will happen when our wealthy and important visitors come to our homeland.

Let's show them all that is our society and not hide away other things.

Perhaps our esteemed guests might just want to do something after being affected by the human tragedy on display at the Central Methodist Church or elsewhere in outlying rural areas.

Being ashamed of these people is essentially being ashamed of our very own selves.

Hans Mangole, Pretoria