It is a "shameful business" to hear that the vuvuzela, which is part of South African sport and customs, is mostly being made in China, says Stellenbosch University theologian and former politician Allan Boesak.
Dr Boesak was responding to questions about the World Cup at the handing over of a report on his three-year long globalisation research project to Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu in Cape Town today. Entitled "Dreaming a Different World", it was co-presented by Dr Johann Weusmann, vice-president of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Germany.
Dr Boesak said, while pointing to Archbishop Tutu who was wearing a Bafana Bafana sport shirt, that SA had just fought long battles to have the vuvuzela endorsed as a "part of our South African culture" in the face of complaints and attempts to get it banned at World Cup events, when the news came that it was mostly being made in China.
Earlier he had highlighted the plight of the South African textile industry, where thousands of jobs had been lost due to cheap clothing imports from China. The industry was one of the case studies taken up in the project's report.
"If the vuvuzela had been made here, how many jobs would have been saved?" Dr Boesak asked. "I cannot understand why we give in so easily to foreign pressure", when it comes to South Africa's local products.
"It makes me wonder what else is being signed away?" Dr Boesak asked.
"Dreaming a different world" is an emanation of the Accra Confession, a status confessionis drawn up in 2004 in Accra, which defined the global economic injustices leading to vast inequalities between the North and the South, or developed and developing countries, as a sin against God.
The Accra Confession was re-endorsed last week during the launch of the new 80-million strong World Council of Reformed Churches as part of the articles of faith that every member has to adopt, along with the Belhar Confession against apartheid, in which Dr Boesak was the driving force.
The Evangelical Reformed Church in Germany embarked on a project to study the effects of globalisation in the context of the Accra Confession in 2007, and decided to partner up with the Uniting Reformed Church in SA to get a proper perspective from a developing country.
Both Dr Boesak and Dr Weusmann admitted there were strong disagreements, but that these had been sorted out over the past six months. "Both churches have now accepted this as our common good. We realise it is unfinished business, because this report won't change the world."
Much of the "very activist" report is devoted to economic issues, and is explicitly meant as ammunition in what is seen as the battle against domination of a world financial elite that is operating according to an "empire logic". Just as Christ rose against the Roman empire, it is the duty of Christians to resist the new global capitalist empire, its writers say.
Separate chapters are devoted to the global food crisis, financial markets ("closing the financial casino"), global water affairs, ecology and militarism. It sets out a detailed programme for international controls for "breaking the dominance of financial markets over the real economy".
Archbishop Tutu put the report in the context of climate change, saying the countries "most responsible for devastating changes are the least vulnerable to the consequences, of which the price is being paid by the poor and the weak".
He also raised the matter of the Russian spy arrests in the US. "It was like a replay of an old movie. We thought we had moved on to greater equality, that we would all work together, but the end of the Cold War had filled us with false hope."