Posted by: howvoicebegan | 04/02/2011

Our Own Union Buildings

I often find that when I pass judgment on others, I see my own flaws instead. A judging experience ends up as a conviction and challenge to change what is wrong in myself.

With my parents visiting this week, I have been revisiting many sites around Pretoria that I haven’t been to in a while, one being the Union Buildings. It has lush grounds of several species of exotic flowers, meticulously maintained, gardening perfectionism at its finest. It is truly a spectacular site set in front of such an impressive brick building.

Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa

Beautiful grounds of the Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa

On my way to the Union Buildings, I usually have to pass by the informal settlements of Mamelodi, which span as far as the hills beyond. These shacks provide housing for thousands of families in Mamelodi. The informal settlements are crowded and have few resources like sanitation, running water, and electricity. Despite the vast area they cover, there are no police or medical centres within the settlements. These are people steeped deep in poverty.
RDP housing (housing provided through a government program) is available but construction is a slow process and the waiting list is long.

Informal settlement in Mamelodi, South Africa

The contrast is extreme– manicured lawns juxtaposed with poverty– and it makes you wonder, What are the government’s priorities? Who happily pays to keep the lawns immaculate without venturing into the informal settlements? It can make you angry to see vast poverty at the doorstep of the government.
But, before I could walk away much further, my conviction changed. I, and the rest of us, all have our “Union Buildings” in our lives; we all have those luxuries and lavish things that take our resources. Where our treasure is, so is our heart (Matthew 6:21).

Certainly it’s an oversimplified example and the government can’t solve poverty by turning gardens into unkempt jungle. God showed me that it was time to stop overthinking what others should do and start thinking about what I should do.
I don’t want people to question where I store my treasures and where my priorities are. I want all aspects of my life to be obvious before others about where my motivations are. If I focus too much on what others are doing, I leave little room to serve with my heart’s full capacity.



  1. In the land of Atefe like clay you my land and I taught gardening but which flower gardener feeling understands any clay gardener as much as a drop of dew or a calycle recognize and love?
    God bless you dear Leslie Dawn

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