A “unifying” tournament on Saturday between church leaders from Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu north of Durban, is being perceived as a step in the right direction.
The aim of the event is to unite and build relations between communities that were polarised by the unrest in Phoenix last July when more than 30 people were killed.
Residents in Phoenix gather with the aim of fostering social cohesion: 01 August 2021
The committees that were formed on both sides have done tremendous work in bringing hope and unity among communities. The tournament organised at the Inanda sports ground is one outcome.
Event organiser, Craig Bouchier, says this is the beginning of reconciliation and they are happy with the turn-out.
“We share the stories so that both can relate and to work together and show to the community that church leaders are together. We show as church leaders are united and they also can have fun together.”
Sarah Montgomery, a representative from the KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches (KZCC) says church leaders have a responsibility to promote peace and stability among the communities they serve.
“The role of the church is two-fold, you find a church in every local community bringing the community together, bringing together people from various background racially, ethnically, socio-economically, geographically and how can we bring all of these people together to start talking and to start meeting across those lines of divisions.”
The tournament is regarded as the beginning of building a lasting peace in Phoenix.
One of the church leaders, Sbusiso Mthakathi, says he is optimistic that more community members of different races will come to the next event.
“There is a positive impact from this event and we have been having some journey before and this event is the product of the journey we have of peace building and the bond is getting closer, particularly coming here at Inanda as you can remember that Inanda historically, were Indian residents.”
Bouchier hopes to invite the families of the victims to attend their next event.