Cape Town Christians please come back and shop in Somali district!

[notice]In this week’s Righteous Rant  RUTH *,  a Christian living in Belville, Cape Town is concerned that fellow Christ followers are missing a critical opportunity to reach out to Somali people who have moved into the area in great numbers. Gateway News invites you to email your rant to for possible publication in this occasional column where readers get to share what’s on their heart. (* – not her real name) [/notice]

Muslims, Jehovas Witnesses moving in; Christians moving out
One of at least 6 Somali-owned internet cafes on the left hand side of Durban Road, Belville. The signs inside the cafes are written in Somali, not English, Afrikaans or Xhosa.

I am a Cape Townian who is enjoying the beautiful surroundings that the city has and the freedom that we have to choose to follow Christ or just assimilate to the life of just going to church on Sundays, particularly on Easter and Christmas. This is how, in my opinion, we exercise our democracy and freedom to do as we please. We have RIGHTS!!!

John 1:12 (right to be called the children of God) does not seem to be top on our list (as church going people).

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I have recently moved to an area that seems to be the “headquarters” of Somalis in the Western Cape. There are approximately 120 000 Somalis in this one suburb of Cape Town. The people that seem to want to give them literature are Jehovas witnesses. They (Somalis) own most of the shops, internet cafes and outside stalls in the area between Voortrekker road and the train station. When one walks on Durban Road one gets the feeling that one is walking in another country (probably Somalia); even homeless Somalis hang around this area.

This is a central business area and the saints have gone to shop in other areas. I sometimes visit the coffee places (Somali coffee places) and I feel like a foreigner in my hometown. There is a mosque in the area and when it is time to pray, the call to prayer is heard in the shopping centre. The stall owners close their stalls and go to pray. They are free. The sad part is that there is also an Islamic propagation centre here. They are doing business but they also have a mission — to spread Islam, particularly among black and coloured people. They have the space to do it and the saints have given them freedom to do as they please.

My appeal to the saints: Let us go and shop in these places. Let us be present so that they can find someone who can answer Biblical questions, instead of the skimpily dressed young ladies that help out in their stalls (who represent Christianity in the Somali mind). Saints, I even invite you to come and have coffee at a Somali coffee shop and pray for them while you drink their coffee. In my heart I feel that by moving away from shopping centres we are also enabling their “takeover”.

Saints, let us walk and pray around the areas where Somalis have found a home. We may be sorry later if we do not make use of the opportunities now.

One Comment

  1. I would like to add my voice in support here, and add that these are people who in their own country would have had little if any exposure to Christianity; their having come to SA presents them with the first opportunity in their lives to hear the message of the gospel. Failure on the part of Christians in SA to reach out to these people would be a tragic omission of christian responsibility.

    I wondered recently following the Boston bombing carried out by 2 Chechen immigrants to the US, who had been living in the US for 10 years and who in the US had moved from moderacy to extreme radicalization, whether an opportunity had in fact not been missed by Christians to reach out to them in that 10 year period. How differently could things have turned out if they had indeed been exposed to the message of the gospel. Instead the increasing tendency towards multiculturalism extols diversity placing it as the ultimate virtue, discouraging the encroachment of one belief system or set of values over another.