Building life-flourishing societies: Racism as the Roadblock

by CWM Communications Team

CWM Africa Region recently organised a training programme on “Youth & Racial Justice Africa”, gathering 25 youth participants from CWM Africa member churches and ecumenical partners, as well as resource persons to involve youths in liberation missiologies and explore how they can collectively address racial justice issues in their continent. Held from 23rd to 27th April at Boksburg, Johannesburg, Africa, it brought together youths understand what South Africa endured during apartheid and to learn about the present situation of racism in Africa.

The keynote address was delivered by Rev. Basil Manning, a theologian and activist from United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), and UNISA and Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) theologian Rev SL Nxhinti delivered a presentation on misleading theologies on racism. CWM Africa youth attendees engaged with one another on what racism means in their respective contexts, together with youth delegates from South Africa Council of Churches (SACC), All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Hope for a Child in Christ (HOCIC) and Botswana Council of Churches (BCC).

On the second day, they came face to face with the brutalities and realities of racism during a visit to Constitution Hill and Apartheid Museum, which illustrates apartheid and the 20th-century history of South Africa. During this event, they discovered that Black South Africans had no right to share space with white people. As a result, the youths resolved to stand firm against the plague of racism that has plundered their continent, opposing racist behaviour in churches and communities while also proposing viable alternatives.

The final day surfaced voices and wisdom from the margins, as they reflected on mission from the margins and with the margins, with Miss Lesego Plank- PHD Candidate (UNISA) speaking on youth and racism.

The event concluded with a statement they produced denouncing racism, and that they will take active action to combat racial discrimination, no longer sitting in the trenches watching the hidden and unhidden pillaging of Africa. They pledged to go beyond rhetoric and produce practical solutions, starting from homes, churches, to their spheres of influence. An inter-regional meeting is slated to be organised in future.

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