The country and the South African YMCA is reeling from shock and is appalled at the brutal xenophobic and femicide attacks that are being witnessed; the rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana being a singular case in point. South Africa is bleeding and in the midst of multiple crises that threaten the social and moral essence of our democracy and our communities. There is the dual war against our mothers, sisters and daughters; and against foreign nationals, our brothers and sisters from across our continent. As a proud member of the Africa Alliance of YMCA’s (representing 22 national YMCA movements from across the continent), we are profoundly angered, embarrassed & remorseful about what is happening. We identify in solidarity, love and compassion with each victim, their families and communities.
The SA YMCA associates with many other declarations of outrage and calls to action, of the Churches and other Faith-based and organisations across civil society. We do so specifically out of our Christian and YMCA vision and mission of working with Young people – in “Empowering them for Life, Leadership and Service”.
The SA YMCA will specifically advocate for and commit itself to the following :
That femicide be seen as a crime affecting all citizens, not only women, and that it be proclaimed a crime against society.
That xenophobia is a crime affecting all South Africans, not only foreign nationals and declared a crime against society.
Calling on government to urgently review our legal framework to ensure safety and justice for all who call South Africa home.
That at the core, these dual issues are a violation of, and an assault on our most basic human rights to safety, dignity and life itself.
We further specifically commit ourselves as the SA YMCA to :
Urgently strengthen our work and programs related to transformative masculinity, the empowerment of women and the fighting of all and any abuse against women, children and any minority or vulnerable groups.
Strategically review all our programing & budgeting to prioritise the current issues at hand. We will specifically review our Youth Justice program to strategically sharpen its focus and align it to the dual scourges of femicide and xenophobia.
Continue to provide effective safe, power-spaces for women and youth in our communities – with renewed vigour.
Actively and decisively call on and collaborate with other Youth structures and organisations – to form a United Front of Action – to rid our society and communities of these scourges.
The SA YMCA will urgently engage with its Africa and World YMCA structures to invite their solidarity and collaborative experience to oppose these evils in our afflicted and wounded society – as they did in solidarity with us in the 1970’s and 1980’s in standing against the apartheid regime, and its ultimate defeat.
We call on President Ramaphosa, and all elected Leaders from across all Political parties and leaders in all sectors of society – to provide decisive leadership on these critical issues – and to commit to a renewed moral, values-driven and ethical Leadership. We particularly call on all fathers, brothers and sons across the beloved Nation, to stand up, denounce and resist every form of violence – and stand in solidarity with our mothers, sisters and daughters, our brothers and sisters from across the continent.
GOD BLESS AFRICA. GUARD HER WOMEN, YOUTH & CHILDREN. RID HER OF ALL VIOLENCE AND ABUSE. GUIDE AND TRANSFORM HER LEADERS. AND BRING HER TO PEACE. LORD IN YOUR MERCY, HEAR OUR PRAYER.