Churches shun call to preach against xenophobia
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Methodist Church of Southern Africa was the exception as churches in South Africa largely failed to denounce the spate of xenophobic attacks.
The church stood bold and firm before marching the streets of notorious Johannesburg areas as Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville to condemn the violence against foreigners.
On Sunday, the church marched at different locations across its denomination in Johannesburg to send a clear message of its strong opposition to xenophobia.
“The Methodist Church has once again opened its doors to help those bearing the brunt of the on-going violence.
“Unity, healing and transformation are values that the Methodist Church of Southern Africa holds dear, hence our unequivocal condemnation of the ongoing attacks on foreign nationals,” the church said in a statement.
Earlier on, Methodist Church Minister, Bishop Paul Verryn, warned perpetrators of xenophobia.
“I would like to warn you South Africans! I you kill someone, an innocent person for that matter, and think you will be in peace, truly, peace and harmony will never be at your doorstep. We need to recognise that xenophobic violence is a contradiction of what the South African constitution stands for.
“Whether they are foreigners, South Africans or makwerekwere (derogatory term for foreigner), we do not have to do what is happening now. We, as a nation, have spat in the face of God this week,” Verryn said.
The Methodist Church of Southern African Africa in central Johannesburg has, before its closure earlier this year, provided shelter to scores of refugees that fled crisis in their homelands to seek sanctuary in South Africa.
Elsewhere, it was business-as-usual as Pentecostal churches spoke Holy Ghost Fire, spoke in tongues, and collected money from church members.
These churches, popular for bragging they have “men of God” and “prophets” in their midst were conspicuous with their silence.
President Jacob Zuma had earlier called upon all churches to lead the nation in praying for peace and friendship in the country after violence against foreign nationals.
The President said the majority of South Africans believed in peace, unity and friendship and had nothing to do with the sporadic incidents of violence that had taken place.
The internationally-condemned latest round of xenophobic violence, which started in KwaZulu-Natal Province and has spread to Gauteng, left about ten people dead with more than 5,000 others homeless.
This has evoked memories of the attacks in 2008, which left than 62 people dead with more than 250,000 displaced.
– CAJ News
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