The South African Council of Churches (SACC) released a statement today (August 15, 2016) calling for prayer for the nation during Marikana Week which commemorates the death of 34 striking miners shot by police at Lonmin Mine near Rustenburg on August 16, 2012.
The SACC statement says: “This week is Marikana Week; the week that all South Africans would wish had never been; but alas, it is a week that blasted rudely into our national landscape, exposing the fault-lines of class and power differentials in our society, and marring our façade of innocence in harmony. The tears of widowed women this week at the Farlam Commission soured the noble memory of the Women of 1956. It gave a new meaning to the August Month of Compassion that the South African Churches observe. In Compassion the SACC will tomorrow join the commemorative services at Marikana.
“However, we believe that a deeper act is necessary in the wake of Marikana — a serious national engagement on the social and economic conditions, and the power relations underlying the Marikana tragedy.
“We encourage member churches and all people of faith, to pray this weekend for the wisdom of God upon this nation, to rise out of the quagmire of existence where, with eyes clouded by flashes of self-interest,greed and violent disregard for each other’s dignity and worth, we compete in the zealous quest to outdo one another in the downward internecine spiral of mutual annihilation.
“The Farlam Commission was gazetted by the President on September 12, 2012, the anniversary of the death of Steve Biko at the hands of the South African Police. We pray that the extended Farlam Commission may be the catharsis that draws us to our better selves as a nation; that this nation may yet rise to the promise of the man who was brutally killed on September 12, Steve Biko, who said that “In time we shall be in a position to bestow upon South Africa the greatest gift possible – a more human face.”
“Now is the time, ke nako! This is our task in the face of our national loss of innocence, and the need for a hard look at ourselves and our role – each one of us, in the wilting of our national bloom! Now is the time for a transformative agenda, one critical issue at a time, with concerted effort and focused energy. Now is the time. To this end we shall be convening the leaders of South African churches to consider an approach to the agenda of national transformation that focuses our energies to what should be done to make a difference.
“Marikana in any shape or form – Never Again! May God bless South Africa with the Spirit of Wisdom – Yiza Moya oyiNgcwele, usisikelele!”