Procession of witness marks 20 years of South Africa’s democracy

By Bellah Zulu
Posted Apr 21, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) held a “procession of witness” to mark the 20th anniversary of the birth of South Africa’s democracy and also express concerns over current issues affecting the country.

The procession, which is being supported by both Muslim and Jewish leaders, was held on Holy Saturday, April 19, and started from District Six in Cape Town, South Africa to the Parliament building.

Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba formally announced the procession at a press conference in South Africa on April 18. He was supported by the secretary general of the Muslim Judicial Council, Maulana Abdul-Khaliq Allie.

Other Christian leaders also were in attendance, including the national moderator of the Uniting Reforming Church of Southern Africa and president of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Mary-Anne Plaatjies-van Huffel.

The coordinating organization of Orthodox Synagogues in South Africa, the Union of Orthodox Synagogues also sent a message of support, as well as the Western Cape moderator of the Ned Geref Kerk, a Reformed Christian denomination in South Africa, Braam Hanekom.

Makgoba said that the procession was organized to, among other things, demand for “a change in the practice and behavior of all parliamentarians, captains of industry and commerce.”

He added: “All those in all sectors of society who have influence and power should return to Nelson Mandela’s way of governance and leadership — governance that was not threatened by healthy social discourse; governance that was always mindful of the plight of the poor and the marginalized; governance that took seriously its responsibility to all people who have given leaders their trust.”

Makgoba said that although the procession is “primarily a response to the crisis in government presented by the worrying developments surrounding the Chapter Nine institutions and especially those concerning the Office of the Public Protector, we are also responding to the plight of communities ravaged by gangsterism, drug abuse and poor education.”

“We glory in the fact that God has guided us through the darkness of our struggle to the bright dawn and blessings of liberation,” said Makgoba.

“[But] we also confess our silence over many years, and our failure to respond compassionately to God’s cry in the lives of the people of our land — especially those who are poor, naked and those denied their daily bread.”

South Africa youth leader Tony Lawrence also has played a major role in mobilizing and encouraging young people to show up in large numbers. Already hundreds have expressed their willingness to attend by registering on social media events created for the procession.