“Recent acts of naked racism which have made the news, combined with the #mustfall movements are clear indications that we as a nation are still wrestling with apartheid and our colonial past, despite the miracle of 1994,” say church leaders hosting a service of reconciliation in Port Elizabeth on December 16.
“We cannot seem to find a constructive way out of the impasse. To build our nation, we must confront our past. We must find ways to heal and seek forgiveness,” they say in a press release about the service on the Day of Reconciliation at the South End Museum.
Organised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Church Leadership Group, the service is part of a broader process of church-led healing and reconciliation amongst all races within the church itself and across the metro, says the press release.
The service will supplement the SA Council of Church’s the South Africa we pray for initiative, the WhiteS-to-Whites (W2W) South End dialogues, the roll-out of Heartline’s “What’s your story” initiative and a Christian leader’s reconciliation process across all metro churches.
The South End Museum was chosen for the service because it commemorates the forced removal of some 8 000 persons (and expropriation of 450 properties) under the Group Areas Act in 1965, to the Bethelsdorp, Gelvandale, Helenvale, Woolhope (now Malabar) and a section of Kabega Park.
During the service four of the former residents of South End will share their experiences of the forced removals
They will be followed by two persons who will respond on behalf of the city in recognition of the hurt and to apologise for the deep hurts caused by apartheid.
There will then be a washing of feet and the sharing of a love meal.
“We pray that Service of Reconciliation and other initiatives like it will give rise to a different story, an alternative (positive) narrative to the current resurgence of racially-divisive rhetoric and statements in South Africa, and to respond in a meaningful way to the anger and hurt underlying the call for decolonisation and the #mustfall movements,” says the statement on behalf of the Healing and Reconciliation Task Team of the NMB church leadership: Ds. Danie Mouton (NGK), Pierre van Wyk (Uitenhage Ministers Fraternal) and Trevor Jennings (Transformation Christian Network).