Cape Town - In the wake of the gang violence which has taken over Manenberg, residents have decided to embark on prayer marches.
Every day at 5am, people in different parts of the area pray in groups. The initiative was started by Pastor Sidwell Southgate of the Christian Healing Ministries Church more than two weeks ago.
“This came after we saw so much violence in the area and a lot of innocent people were killed, and I thought we as the church can’t sit and do nothing about it. We started praying about two-and-a-half weeks ago.
“Normally gangsters shoot when people go to work, so we initiated the prayers from 5 to 6am because a lot happens in that hour, like robberies. We decided to pray in different places in Manenberg, so where all our people are staying they get outside and start praying.”
He added that they also pray for the safety of the schoolchildren as they have to get up early in the morning and walk through the violent area.
“We care for our community and we are offering our time to come and pray. Our hearts go out to the children who go to school and those going to work. We thank God for the police officers involved. People usually ask where is the church when the gangsters start shooting and why are we not doing anything.
“I believe that God cares for Manenberg and He laid it upon our hearts to start the morning prayers. We know that prayer changes things.”
Southgate told the Cape Argus they had noticed a bit of a change in the community since the marches.
“We have noticed that the area is a bit calm now. We are not here to attack people, we just want peace. We will keep on praying. It’s not for a church, but this is for the entire community, everyone is welcome to join us. The church is the answer to the violence.”
Manenberg Community Policing Forum chairperson Vernon Visagie said they are grateful for what Southgate is doing.
“Manenberg needs every bit of help that we can get. We appreciate the sacrifice that the pastor and the spiritual leaders are making. We are also happy that nothing hectic has happened in the last few days, and we don’t underestimate the power of prayer.”