A Call to South Africans to recover our humanity
Anene Booysen is a name on the lips of almost every South African this week. She has become the visible image of a deathly scourge that haunts us all – the scourge of rape. As happens more and more frequently, Anene’s rape was accompanied by extraordinary levels of violence.
Anene has been robbed of her life. Her mother has been robbed of a child. But it is not only Anene who has died brutally this week. The hope of our rainbow nation dies, agonising cry by agonising cry, every time a woman is raped - approximately 3500 times a day. How is it that the dream nation has become the rape capital of the world?
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar. Lent is a time of repentance and fasting. Leaders in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) have called on all members of the Church to use the season of Lent to recognise that every time we fail to act against gender based violence, we are complicit in its perpetration. Anglican churches are being requested to light a candle on Wednesday in memory of Anene and all women who have suffered the violence of rape. Male members are being asked to declare “not in my name. This violence may not continue.”
All Clergy are being asked to address the issue of rape and to invite members of their congregations to seek ways together for all of us to end this moral sickness and recover our humanity.
ACSA is also calling upon
• the government to formulate and implement a national strategy ; and
• the police and justice system to bring the perpetrators of Anene’s rape and death to justice.
Christians affirm that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Each human being who is raped by our violence, left to die by our lack of compassion, grieves the heart of God. For the sake of the memory of Anene, for the sake of her mother Corlia Olivier, for the sake of our humanity, let us stop this deathly illness in our society.
Issued by Bishop Rubin Phillip, Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ