Three churches took their campaign against violence to the streets – quite literally – this weekend, when they preached to pedestrians and passing motorists at the entrance to Langa, near Bonteheuwel.
The New Holy Apostolic Jerusalem Church, United Methodist Church of Southern Africa and Uniting Presbyterian Church of Western Cape joined forces to speak out against the abuse of women and children as the international 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign is observed.
The campaign runs annually, from November 25 to December 10.
Emphasising his message, preacher, Ntuthuzelo Mtikwa raised his arm and ran around the intersection preaching and reflecting on the story of Amnon and his sister Tamar as told in the book of Samuel in the Bible.
Telling the story, Mr Mtikwa said Amnon had told his sister Tamar to bring the food into his bedroom “so I may eat from your hand”.
“And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, come to bed with me, my sister,” he continued, adding that such behaviour -and all kinds of woman and child abuse- should be condemned.
“Mayiphele lento (such a thing should not be done),” he told stunned people on the streets. He called on churches to be instrumental in the fight against abuse and spokesperson for the churches, Siyakudumisa Ndamase, said the intention of the campaign was to help combat sexual violence through the active involvement of the churches. “It is about time that as churches we stand up and say no. This is exactly what we are doing as these three churches. We are denouncing the abuse of women and children. We are out here calling for people to stand up. We all need to take a stand against this scourge,” he said.
Mr Ndamase acknowledged that gender-based violence was complex but he believed it could be stopped and that with the help of the community, nothing was impossible. “Churches carry the hopes of many. It was good to see Langa residents coming to listen to our pleas. That means we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
After marching tthrough he streets of Langa, they came together at the Methodist Church where they listened to guest speakers.The organisers felt they needed to grow the campaign and promised to extend an invitation to other churches in Langa in future.
One of the organisers, Madoda Mheleni said the next event would not only deal with woman abuse but with other social ills too.