Monday 20 April 2015

Call for action against xenophobic violence

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on Anglicans and other people of faith to join acts of public witness this week against xenophobic violence.

He appealed to the people of Cape Town and Gauteng to join:

  • A service at 12 noon on Tuesday April 21 at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, and a silent vigil on the steps of the Cathedral at 1 pm, organised by the Western Cape Religious Leaders' forum;
  • A civil society anti-xenophobia rally at 6pm on Wednesday at the Cape Town City Hall, organised by Cosatu; 
  • A march in Johannesburg at 1pm on Thursday, beginning at the Peter Roos Park, Empire Road, and ending at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the city, arranged by the People’s Coalition Against Xenophobia & Friends.
  • A “One Million March Against Xenophobic Attacks” beginning at 9am on Friday April 24 at the Pretoria City Hall and ending at 11am at Union Buildings in Pretoria. The Archbishop will join Mrs Gra├ža Machel, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Prof. Pitika Ntuli as a speaker.

“Please join me in your numbers,” he asked Anglicans and other South Africans.

“Please pray for an end to xenophobia and for tolerance. Let us be voices of reason, acknowledging the anxiety and desperation which leads to attacks on foreigners.

“Let us look at sustainable ways of removing the conditions which cause these attacks, and each commit ourselves to one act of witness to change the situation.

“We need not fear the future,” he concluded. “During the season of Easter, we celebrate that God in Christ Jesus has overcome sin and death. ”

After issuing a statement on the violence last week, the Archbishop planned this week to join high-level initiatives, including walks of witness against xenophobia in affected areas in Gauteng.

In meetings he held last week with clergy and their spouses, as well as directors and staff of Church children's homes, they shared with me the xenophobia they observed among people they ministered to – including learners and workers – and supported his call for tolerance.

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