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What’s hot in spirituality and religion in South Africa

31 December 2012

Those who read this blog over the last couple of weeks might have noticed the South African Annual Blog Awards vote logo in the sidebar on the right. It was an invitation to readers who liked this blog to vote for it.

saba2012votebadgeWell, I don’t know how many do like this blog, and how many of those did did like it actually voted for it, but all the votes have now been tallied, and the winners and runners-up have been announced. And here are the winners and runners up in the “Religion and spirituality” category:

I think that gives a pretty good idea of the vital role played by re,ligion and spirituality in South Africa today.

In fact, one could say that it confirms the message of my recent post on Reality TV — that one can truly say of South Afrca, Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk.

Is this really where the soul of South Africa is?

Or perhaps it is just the soul of the South African blog-reading public, and the South African blog-reading public is way out of touch with South Africa as a whole.

But the South African blog-reading public has voted, and this is what turns them on spiritually. Read especially the two runners-up, and weep. Or perhaps I’m missing something. So if I am, read them again, and tell me what I’m missing.

But my son works in a Tshwane bookshop, and his observations of the taste of the South African book-buying public seems to fit pretty well with these results.

This is the soul of South Africa!

This is the best that South African religion and spirituality have to offer.

Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Graham Downs permalink
    31 December 2012 5:14 pm

    Don’t be disheartened, Steve. I didn’t vote, because I never saw the logo. I never saw the logo because I very seldom visit the website for this blog. I subscribe by email, but rest assured that I read over 95% of all your blog posts that I receive by email. I would’ve voted if I’d seen it!

    You know as well as anyone the preferences of not just the South African public, but the international public. And it’s not inconsistent with how the Bible tells us things will be. Holding the torch, and keeping the faith, is never easy, and was never meant to be easy. Somebody’s got to do it, though. If anyone I know can do it, you can!

    • 31 December 2012 6:32 pm

      Graham, I’m sure there are lots of blogs better than mine, but that the two runners up, especially, were such utter, indescribably bad kitsch gives me little hope for South Africa. As South Africans voted for the worst inmate on Big Brother, so they vote for the very worst blogs they can find. I really did not know that there were South African blogs as bad as that.

      • Graham Downs permalink
        1 January 2013 12:20 pm

        This is wild speculation and a sweeping generalisation, so take it with a pinch of salt, but in my opinion:

        The average regular blog reader, like the average person who buys books at your son’s bookshop, and like the average Big Brother watcher is upper-middle class, and probably female. They have a reliable, dedicated Internet line and Dstv, and they have a decent amount of disposable income to spend on their Internet line, books, and their satellite TV. They also have at least some disposable time to spend reading blogs and books, and watching Big Brother.

        They also tend to be quite self-centred people, with little or no real care for anyone’s needs but their own. Oh sure, they try and maintain the outward appearance of concern with the rest of the world, by their blog comments and Facebook statuses; maybe they even regularly donate money to a charity. Just don’t ask them to get directly involved.

        These people are only concerned with things that directly interest, affect, and entertain them. So they’ll follow blogs which they feel help to enrich their lives, they’ll read books which help them escape from the real issues, and they’ll vote for the Big Brother contestants who provide them with the highest entertainment value, have the best body (which they flaunt the most during shower hour), etc.

        Your blog, and other Christian-centric blogs, preach selfless messages which requires people to think outside their little boxes. Following these messages often requires sacrifice, or at the very least puts people out of their comfort zones. People don’t want to hear these messages: they want to live in their little cocooned bubbles, and they certainly don’t want to be faced with any kind of guilt.

        I should know a lot of these things, because in a lot of ways, at a lot of times, I’ve just described myself! But bearing all these things in mind, the results of the 2012 Blog Awards don’t really feel all that surprising for me anymore. :-/

  2. 31 December 2012 5:36 pm


  3. open your eyes permalink
    1 January 2013 11:39 pm

    Steve, I have looked at the runner ups and good work is being done there. I saw that 3rd runner up Ask Nanima is trying to empower home industries especially breadwinners to earn a living. Truly in touch with South African grass root problems. Charity initiatives are promoted. Also what is great they have an active community where they help each other with everyday life problems.. we need more bloggers in this country trying to make a difference

  4. 7 January 2013 2:08 pm

    I don’t know why the runners up in the ‘religion and spirituality’ category were chosen for that particular category, but Penton Independent Pagan Media does indeed serve an existing and growing community of Pagans – real people who are as serious about their faith as you are. We won the category because our readers supported Penton’s bloggers. Wishing you luck for the 2013 awards if you are entering.

    Damon Leff
    Editor: Penton Independent Pagan Media

    • 7 January 2013 2:44 pm

      You might have noticed that my complaint was directed mainly at the two runners up. I hadn’t participated in the SA Blog Awars before, mainly because none of the blogs I read seemed to fit into any of the categories on offer. This year there was a category in which some of the blogs I read seemed to fit, but two of the top- three didn’t seem to fit the category, the last especially.

  5. 7 January 2013 3:13 pm

    Perhaps it is you who is out of touch with an evolving South Africa, a country where people are increasingly exercising their right to freedom of religion and exploring other faiths besides Christianity?

    While you imply that readers of Penton (and by virtue, their largely Pagan readership) and the runners up have hearts, “full of unwashed socks,” and that their souls are, “full of gunk”; I see something wholly different in Penton’s win (and the runners up). I see a religious group (Paganism) who perhaps takes better advantage of social media, the internet and technology to bring adherents together in a unified voice.

  6. 7 January 2013 7:27 pm

    Penton is always an interesting place to read and is read internationally. Pagans being minorities in many areas need sensible information about what is happening in their community word wide, also problems and solutions that people have found for those problems. It was where I learned about the unfortunate witch hunts that are problem in many area of Africa, something most people thought ended in the distant past, but in fact only changed locations over the time. In my own religion I am taught that all people are connected and that what happens to one group may spread to affect everyone. So I am concerned about anything that I would not want to go through myself. In protesting these witch hunts, where totally innocent people are falsely accused, then punished and sometimes killed, I am doing no more than I would do in my own neighborhood. All of us humans are related at some point in our ancestry so we should treat each other as members of a very extended family.


  1. South African Blog Awards 2013 | Notes from underground

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