Transcendent values: a nation burning but a case for hope — Mark Volmink

PHOTO: Clay LeConey/

Patricia Aburdene, one of the world’s leading social forecasters, one of the USA’s top ‘thought leaders’ in trustworthy business, co-author of New York Times number 1 best-seller, Megatrends 2000, an internationally acclaimed speaker said the following: “Transcendent values, such as trust and integrity, literally translate into revenue, profits and prosperity — conscious money starts with your values — not your wallet or possessions but with you!”

Our country is in turmoil, as violence and thuggery loom large. It has been said that South Africa as a nation is broken and that the future for our young people, looks bleak. I say there is hope if we rebuild our nation on transcendent values.

Dennis Peacock , author of On the Destiny of Nations: Resolving our Economic Crisis, describestranscendent values as “primary , fundamental and widely adhered to ideas and beliefs that define and interpret all lesser values, which serve to create unity for a nation and guide their behaviour”., defines transcendent values as “Values that surpass all differences and unify a group”. What these definitions emphasise is the creation of unity — and where there’s unity there is strength and hope.

As a nation we need to heed the call from organisations such as New Nation Movement, who advocate cardinal values as foundational for any great nation. We must rediscover, embrace, and have national conversations about:

• Justice — where fairness and equity prevail at all levels of society. A society where “those who gather much , don’t have too much and those who gather little, don’t have too little”.
• Integrity – where wholeness, honesty and consistency inform all our decisions and actions.
• Love – where there’s unity, generosity and bridge building in the true spirit of ubuntu.
• Diligence — where every individual strives for excellence and faithfulness.
• True freedom of expression – where citizens have the freedom to obey God, unhindered by the state or any other organisation.
• Wisdom — where we act in accordance with sound knowledge, understanding, discernment, becoming better stewards of the resources — scarce resources in particular, such as water, energy , food — that have been entrusted to us.
• Self-governance — where every citizen internalises laws, disciplines, beliefs, and values, in a way that enforces within her or himself, obedience to those standards.

These (and other) transcendent values should be introduced into every segment of society — our families, schools, universities , state departments, the private sector, civil society, and places of worship. Articulating and living out transcendent values must become part of our DNA as a nation and be firmly established as the bedrock of our society. These transcendent values must be religiously guarded as the wellspring of our nation, to strengthen and maintain
generational momentum.

South Africa’s tarnished global image, stained with its high crime rate, corruption in public and private sectors, food insecurity and suffering, to name a few, all point to the urgent need to fortify our country’s social capital. The future of our nation calls for the establishment of a sturdy and resilient moral foundation. Strong families with positive values, are key to building peaceful, stable communities, which will ultimately produce a powerful and broadly prosperous nation.

We need to visualise and work towards a future South Africa where its citizens internalise transcendent values that enable them to be policed by their own convictions, and not by external forces or new laws. Patricia Aburdene reminds us that the consistent application of these overarching values leads to a wholesome quality of life where people flourish.

So, let us question our relativistic culture that resists transcendent values. Let us rewrite the founding documents of our beloved nation. History has shown that nations who “lived by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”, experienced prosperity and peace, and those who did not (and do not), suffered and continue to suffer immensely. Notwithstanding the current gloom and despair in our country, we need to find ways to refresh ourselves, reimagine a new South Africa, where peace, opportunity and prosperity reign and start rebuilding a stronger South Africa; one where a better life for All is deeply rooted in future-defining, transcendent values.

Leadership guru John Maxwell says: “Everyone rises or falls on leadership.” Our leaders (some current but mostly new) still have an opportunity to change the trajectory of our nation by ensuring that these supreme, unifying values permeate through all sectors and social structures. Our failure to go down this road could keep South Africa in a state of decline like a computer from which the antivirus program has been uninstalled. Reluctance to prioritise a transcendent values-driven approach to nation rebuilding is not only counterintuitive but will see our country discarding the source of its morality, rationality and humanity and losing its soul.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date with God stories of Africa and beyond

DONATE — Click on the link to donate and help us to keep on publishing uplifting news that glorifies God and strengthens His people. Thank you for your support.

You are welcome to engage with our articles by making comments [in the Comments area below] that add value to a topic or to engage in thoughtful, constructive discussion with fellow readers. Comments that contain vulgar language will be removed. Hostile, demeaning, disrespectful, propagandistic comments may also be moved. This is a Christian website and if you wish to vent against Christian beliefs you have probably come to the wrong place and your comments may be removed. Ongoing debates and repetitiveness will not be tolerated. You will also disqualify yourself from commenting if you engage in trolling.

One Comment

  1. Dominic Fisher

    Thanks for a hope inspiring read Mark. It feels that the gulf between the current values displayed by our leadership and what we need as a nation requires an urgent moral reboot. Anti-virus reinstallation iniated by this article and all our conversations. Thanks for always being a moral IT guy.