Kwanele Kwanele, Enough is Enough!
This was the message from Holy Trinity Parish in Braamfontein as the parish spoke out in a loud voice against abuse, rape and violence particularly against women and children. Following Fr Russell Pollitt SJ and Deacon Billy Davies, parishioners filed out of weekend Masses to voluntarily sign a petition against all forms of abuse and to buy T-shirts identifying them with the initiative. In a powerful homily, which can be listened to on the Holy Trinity website, Fr Russell quoted frightening statistics pertaining to the incidents of rape in South Africa and even more frightening statistics of the conviction rate for these crimes in the South African judicial system. He debunked the commonly-held beliefs that men are superior to women and that the man is the head of the house and therefore women should therefore submit to the men. Backing this up, with sound theology and scripture, Fr Russell called on men everywhere, but especially in the parish, to denounce these beliefs and practices. “These crimes are not happening out there but also right here in our pews”, he said. Challenging cultures that perpetuate these oppressive practices against women and children, he quoted from St Paul telling parishioners that when they have clothed themselves in Christ, their other culture must be surrendered to serving Christ. He stressed, that there are no Jews, Greeks, South Africans, Nigerians, Africans, Zimbabweans, men or women or any of the other labels, but that when we are clothed in Christ we are all one in Christ, we are all equal in Christ.
Parishioners signed the petition and were handed a pamphlet outlining the Kwanele Kwanele initiative of McAuley House School. The parish has partnered with the school. The pamphlet helps readers reflect on what the parish can do to fight this scourge; it defines rape clearly and states what consent is as well as challenges men to ask: “Are you a rapist?” Sadly the pamphlet has snippets of stories from women who came forward to tell of their experiences when Fr Russell challenged the parish last week “to do something” after Sunday News headlines alleged that WITS staff had abused students. The message from McAuley House partnered with Holy Trinity – and the challenge to all of South Africa – is clear: Kwanele Kwanele, Enough is Enough!
Rev Billy Davies, Permanent Deacon, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Braamfontein.