Church takes a stand against GBV

Reverend Zwelibanzi Antoni urged men to take care of women and children.

Violence is un-African – that is the view of members of the Anglican Church who demonstrated in Gugulethu on Saturday August 8 against the violence suffered by women and children

The St Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild, Diocese of Cape Town, held a silent protest outside the NY3 church with the theme “Enough is enough”.

Men came out in their numbers as the church community sent a strong message to abusers.

Reverend Zwelibanzi Antoni said with the spate of attacks on women, his members had to make their voices heard with a march through the township of Gugulethu, hoping to draw the attention of other men to deal with the scourge of gender-based violence.

He said women and girls continue to be the target of murderers and rapists in the country.

“We have decided to add our voice to what the state president said is the second pandemic against women and children. Women have to deal with Covid-19 and men. As much as we cannot feel their pain, we can empathise with them to say not all men behave like animals. This is not African but foreign to us. There is no place for violence in our households, churches and in society.”

Reverend Antoni said the men of his church are always in support of women and children and women should know that there are men out there who care.

“Kuthi lento ifana nesihelegu (this resembles bad spirit or disastrous spirit). It should start with us as men to denounce violence of all forms. But our women in church, home and everywhere should know that there are good men out there.”

The guild’s president Mzwabantu Magadla said men should not stay silent when there is a problem.

He said during the lockdown many women and children have suffered at the hands of violent men. “Today this is to remind ourselves that we should be a good example not only at church but at home too. We are also here to say not in our name as men. Children should play without fear out there. This silent protest is the way to give support to women,” he said.

Mr Magadla encouraged women who might be suffering some form of domestic violence to report it so they can get help from the authorities.

Gugulethu resident Nomvuyo Matiwane praised the role played by the men of the church in raising awareness about the scourge.

She said the church has shown that not all men are violent.

“I hope many men can set this example. I also hope that these men that are standing here today mean this. Because at times people do things for popularity but when they get home they are a different animal. But this is a good awareness for men and women,” she said.