In the message to South Africa below, Rev Jannie Pelser of SA Mourns issues a call on citizens to participate in a national day of mourning on Friday by wearing black refuse bags over their clothing, to mourn for evils in our land, and to be part of the solution, committing to acts of kindness and unity.
Our country is not at a good place and most people, are concerned and distressed about the challenges we face.
During the last week we have seen an increase in the disturbing incidence of xenophobic attacks. People have lost their lives, shops and businesses were looted and burned to the ground. Various countries in Africa have reacted by boycotting events, intimidating South Africans and threatening businesses. Some embassies have been closed as a result.
Vehicles and burned and roads were blocked. The SAP has had to deal with angry mobs and rioters. Empty promises are made but little changes, contributing to even more violence and disturbance.
The vulnerability of women and children in South Africa is underscored by the most disturbing abuse, rape and even murder. According to statistics a woman is murdered or raped every three hours. How is this even possible in a nation such as ours?
Various protests have been held and our state president has declared a state of emergency. He also used the phrase “mourn” with reference to our country and has asked churches and people of faith to pray for our nation.
Meanwhile economic realities, unemployment, poverty and destitution all pose a real threat to the stability of our nation.
The organisers of SA Mourns in conjunction with various other roleplayers felt led to declare September 13 a national day of mourning.
We mourn what has become of our nation. We mourn the loss of lives. We mourn the lack of integrity and honesty with some of our leaders in South Africa.
We mourn the lack of hope and feelings of despair and depression amongst people. We mourn the presence of anger and even violence as people express their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.
We mourn the overall downward spiral in morality. We mourn the desperation of young people as they face an uncertain future without employment and stability.
We mourn the opportunistic utterances made by political leaders which do not contribute to harmony in our country. We mourn the absence of the Church in places where help is desperately needed. We mourn the apathy among some of God’s people.
We mourn the past and we mourn the present. We mourn our lack of discernment and unbelief. We mourn that even schools have lost their credibility as places of safe learning. We mourn prejudice, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, racism and pride in our nation.
Like the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:4-6) we clothe ourselves in sackcloth, trusting God to intervene and give us another chance.
Wear a black refuse bag over your clothing as a sign of mourning as you go about your regular business. Talk among colleagues about the current state of affairs and consider ways in which positive input can be made. Pray for intervention and a change of heart.
Don’t criticise, we are all good at that. Be part of the answer and solution. You can make a difference.
May God, as in the time of that great city, Nineveh, show mercy as we, the citizens of this nation commit ourselves to acts of kindness and support, whilst seeking better understanding between the diverse peoples that share this country.
More information is available from: Rev Jannie Pelser: 083 601 9094, firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook SA Mourns.
Madelaine van Wyk: 011 665 2516.