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May 6, 1994     The Message
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The Message g for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana U.S. observers speak of beauty, joy in South African By BRONWEN DACHS Catholic News Service CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- American Catholics who observed South Africa's first all-race elections spoke of JJ the beauty and joy they wit- nessed at polling stations across the nation as decades of racial segregation came to an end. Auxiliary Bishop John Ri- card of Baltimore described a "kind of splendid chaos: people were in a festive mood at the birth of a nation." Bishop Ri- card observed the voting in Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, an area fraught with longstanding tensions between blacks and right-wing whites. "People were just elated," said Dominican Sister Joanette Nitz of Detroit, a staffer at the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights and an election monitor near Cape Town. "I saw one young man dancing" after he put his ballot in the box. In Port Shepstone, in vio- lence-torn Natal province, Fa- ther Donald McIlvane of Pitts- burgh said he was impressed with the "emotion put into this election." "It was beautiful to see blacks and whites in line to- gether ... a symbol of the new South Africa as it moves into becoming a truly multiracial society," said Father McIlvane, who has worked for years with the Pittsburgh Area Religion and Race Council. But that was not the situa- tion in Uitenhage, where polling stations in and around the town were "consistently all white, all colored (mixed race) or all black," said Bishop Ri- card, noting there was "inher- ent suspicion" among all racial groups in the area. Because the black popula- tion had been "grossly underes- timated" in Uitenhage, there were problems April 28, Bishop Ricard said, adding that there was no doubt that the process he witnessed was "significantly ' Jill Ann White Administrator Hwy. 57 So. Washington, IN 8812-254-4516 rairle Village iving Center I III II I mll , Ed. L. Lee Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 II I II I II I I I free and fair." People waited in long lines for ballots to arrive at 13 polling stations in black areas April 28, Bishop Ricard said. Others were still lining up to get identity documents to en- able them to vote, he said. It seemed many blacks had decided not to vote, fearing the temporary voting cards were "another government ploy to control them," the bishop said. However, he added, many changed their minds when they discovered the cards were destroyed immediately after people voted. "South Africa has no idea how many black people there are," Bishop Ricard said. "Some areas have been depop- ulated, while others mush- roomed." I III All polling stations received 3,000 ballots, when some needed only 300 and others needed 6,000, he said. However, the bishop said plenty of polling stations had been set up in black areas, and he was confident that they were within walking distance for the people they were meant to serve. "I felt by and large people conducting the polling stations were extremely well trained, even in the most remote and smallest polling stations," Bishop Ricard said. Holy Cross Father Oliver F. Williams of the University of Notre Dame, Ind., a U.N. ob- server in Ladismith, in the Western Cape, said it was "al- most a theological experience" seeing Afrikaner farmers II MILLER & MILLER "A family name you can trust" 424-9274 Vincennes Bicknell Sandbom Monroe City. Princeton Patoka Member F.D.I.C. bringing hundreds of black workers in to vote. "It seemed they realized apartheid was wrong, and tak- ing their workers to vote was part of their redemption," said Father Williams, associate provost and professor of man- agement at Notre Dame. There was a giveness and Father Williams. farmers =are people, right that wrong" he said, adding ers seemed tional observers see this. Support Catholic schools using the Tradition A percentage of each purchase you make using the goes to support Catholic education. Call 464-3322 or extension 3322 for details. Issued by Don't think for a moment monks are only found in history books. COME & SEE ... How Benedictine monastic life is lived at Saint Meinrad. COME & SEE ... how work, prayer, time for oneself, and time with others fit toge '-;, COME & SEE ... how God has called so many different kinds of men to live as monks'i ' MIGHT YOU BE ONE OF THEM? Come and see. "Come & See" Week at Saint Meinrad Archabbey May 29- June 5, 1994 If you are a Roman Catholic unmarried, and thinking upon the Rule of St. the ages of 20 and 30, prayer and work based a week with us. I I LinCo Coffee Services 46 Varit of Coffees arid Teas m MATCH. II I For more information and an application, write or call: Ft. Kurt Stasiak, OSB, or Br. Maurus Zller, OSB Saint Metnrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN 47577-1010, 812-357-6302