Appreciating the value of technology is a lesson that some churches in Kimberley in the Northern Cape have embraced under lockdown.

The freedom to assemble was taken away from them by COVID-19 restrictions. Churches are now allowed to hold services with limited numbers. But some churches like the Zion Christian Church have opted to remain closed.

The church is a place where most come for spiritual upliftment. But religious gatherings were barred during Alert Level 5 of national lockdown, leaving many churchgoers frustrated.

Churchgoers express how the hard lockdown affected them: 

Margrieta Van Der Berg says due to ill health, the church is where she gets her strength. She adds that when her freedom to assemble was taken away, she endured the most difficult time of her life.

“Yes, it was taken away from me because at this time we need Jesus. We cannot live without coming to church and saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.'”

Another church member Anita De Villiers says the hard lockdown made her appreciate technology more.

“I think there were so many people who started to realise what technology can do for us and that was a survival method. I don’t think there was any other way,” says another church member Anita De Villiers.

Pieter Weideman says it is unfair that the freedom to attend church services was taken away. He says Christian faith means they are not afraid of the enemy, like COVID-19.

He too used all modes of technology to virtually receive church sermons.

“I was not afraid of COVID as such, because I know my God. He helps and with all the technology that we’ve got with that lockdown and now through phone and through television at that stage, people did service through a television. It was God right there, through technology.”

The hard lockdown did not only take away the freedom to assemble from church members, most churches say they also suffered financially as they depend on members’ offerings. -Reporting  Motlalepule Morake