Angus Buchan speaks at the Mighty Men conference in Paarl. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Thousands of men from around the Western Cape and further afield gathered at Elohim farm near Paarl this weekend for evangelist Angus Buchan’s Mighty Men conference.

This gathering is the first of its kind to take place away from founder Angus Buchan’s farm, Shalom, in KwaZulu-Natal, where previous events have drawn up to 400 000 men at a time.

Buchan, the main speaker at the event, landed on the farm in a silver-grey helicopter just in time for the service early yesterday.

Known for his book and film, Faith Like Potatoes, Buchan is working on a follow-up film that will incorporate footage from this weekend’s event.

By early yesterday 15 000 men had arrived, although organisers said they were expecting up to 50 000 – more than the number of men in the defence force, according to project manager Craig Maasc.

A communion service will take place today at which women and children will be welcome.

Maasc explained this year’s theme, “Dying to Serve”: “These men are dying within themselves, in order to serve their families and to serve their communities.

“We are having this conference and challenging men to take up their rightful position to restore family values and stand up to broken families.

“Children from broken homes are looking for fathers and that is why they decide to turn to the streets – to gangs and drugs.

“We also said that they can learn from their fathers.”

Maasc said only men were invited because in normal society men did not cry, men did not back down and were meant to be strong. But at this event they could speak and pray for each other.

Planning took organisers six months and people came from far and wide to host and speak at the event.

Among the facilities on site were open-air showers, food stalls, medical services including four doctors, ambulances, the fire department, an ATM and an MTN signal transmitter.

Next week there will be a similar event in Polokwane, where they have prepared for 150 000 men. Another event is planned for the Karoo at the end of April at which 40 000 men are expected.

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