With the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in full force, congregants at Eluvukweni Anglican Church, in Crossroads, joined millions of South Africans across the nation to denounce gender-based violence, on Sunday December 3.
The church, which is located in one of the province’s crime hot spots, observed the campaign by holding placards calling for an end to violence.
Congregants lined up along Ngwenya Street at the end of the service, drawing the attention of motorists to the plight of women and children. During the service they also put aside some of their service routine to preach the message of love, peace and happiness.
Speaker Pumla Ntalo said while the campaign strived to highlight challenges faced by women and children, they also wanted to empower them with tools to use when they found themselves in abusive situations. She said the biggest danger to society was silence.
“We see things in our society, but we keep quiet,” she said.
“We want people to know how to act and save someone without putting their lives in danger.”
Ms Ntalo said the church did not restrict its sharing of messages of hope and no violence to the duration of the campaign. “We started well before this campaign and we would like this to continue beyond 16 days,” she said.
She also acknowledged the positive role played by some men in society. “We really admire good role models in our community,” said Ms Ntalo.
Executive member of St Bernard Mizeki in the Diocese of Cape Town, Welile Bada, hailed the organisers of the event and said men in the church – and the entire Cape Town diocese – would like the initiative to continue throughout the year.
“Fathers have a role to protect women and children in their homes before going out to the community,” he said.
Mr Bada said members of St Bernard Mizeki recently held a men’s conference to denounce violence and to look at the role of the fathers.