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Clerics buy a round in Eastern Cape shebeen and preach no to GBV

Pastors aim to extend their awareness campaign to all taverns across Nyandeni

Tyarha traditional leader Nkosi Nonkqubela Ndamase,SA Council of Churches in Nyandeni sub region moral regeneration leader Arch deacon Wiseman Dumisani and SACC Nyandeni sub regional chair Rev Surgeon Boko, joined by Presbyterian Church of Africa congregants and other stakeholders,stormed the village's most popular tavern on Thursday where they spoke to patrons as part of an awareness campaign aimed at fighting gender-based violence and femicide.
Tyarha traditional leader Nkosi Nonkqubela Ndamase,SA Council of Churches in Nyandeni sub region moral regeneration leader Arch deacon Wiseman Dumisani and SACC Nyandeni sub regional chair Rev Surgeon Boko, joined by Presbyterian Church of Africa congregants and other stakeholders,stormed the village's most popular tavern on Thursday where they spoke to patrons as part of an awareness campaign aimed at fighting gender-based violence and femicide.
Image: SIKHO NTSHOBANE

Young men enjoying beers at a local tavern in Tyarha village in rural Libode gasped in disbelief on Thursday when a group of pastors and church leaders, clad in their robes, turned up and stood everyone to a round.

Some patrons panicked, fearing the church had come to bring down the wrath of the Lord, but the pastors quickly reassured them, saying they were there on a mission to speak to young people about serious issues facing the community.

The clerics, from the SA Council of Churches (SACC) in the Nyandeni subregion, said they wanted to sensitise young people who wasted away their lives in taverns and shebeens, about the evils of gender-based violence including femicide, where men specifically attacked women, often in their own homes.

Stunned patrons, such as unemployed 18-year-old Siyavuya Goqweni, said he felt blessed to be quaffing a “holy” drink.

“I thought it was a joke but I’m sure we will definitely go home drunk because this alcohol is probably well-fermented,” he quipped.

However, he said he appreciated learning more about GBV and femicide and promised to play his part in fighting the social scourge.

The clerics were joined by Nkosikazi Nonkqubela Ndamase, who heads many villages in Libode including Tyarha.

Ndamase almost lost her life when her house was set on fire by unknown people late in 2020.

SACC Nyandeni subregional chair, Rev Surgeon Boko, told the young patrons that their gesture of a free round was not intended to encourage boozing. 

He said they wanted to get the patrons’ attention as he had a very important message for them.

Boko said: “I once drank alcohol as a young boy and my mother did not like it.

“Some drink because they are frustrated at not being able to find jobs.

“This beer does not mean they should go and kill people.

“It does not mean you should rob people or rape women and children.”

Earlier, Boko, whose Presbyterian Church of Africa congregation is located in Tyarha, told DispatchLIVE that taverns and shebeens should be places where people went for fun and entertainment.

Yet they were places where the most vile and heinous crimes against women and children were hatched over beers.

What made it worse, was that some taverns were drug dens.

“Women and children are under attack.

“Only a few churches play a role in shaping society at the moment.

“We felt we needed to be visible in our own area to help fight the scourge of GBV and femicide.”

He said church leaders often became too comfortable preaching to the converted -— their own congregants.

Boko said the time had come to put on their suits and hit the streets to make a positive change in society, with and among the people.

Boko said churches were not immune to the horrific abuse of women and children, citing the arrest of a 50-year-old self-proclaimed prophet on charges of statutory rape, statutory sexual assault and abduction for marrying a 15-year-old schoolgirl earlier in 2021.

“We want our voices, the voices of the churches, to be heard,” he said.

Churches have always played a key role in people’s lives, he said.

People were baptised by priests and when they got married a pastor presided over the wedding, and upon death, pastors officiated at funerals.

Nkosi Ndamase lauded the SACC for the initiative, saying many women in rural areas died gruesome deaths at the hands of men.

Some were killed after being accused of witchcraft and others for their state social grants and pensions. 

She said in the villages under her jurisdiction, many young people were so hooked on drugs that they became violent to a point where their own parents were terrified of them.

Boko said they wanted to extend their awareness campaign to all taverns and shebeens across Nyandeni.

DispatchLIVE


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