We heard from our program director (Thandeka KaMavundla) this morning asking for urgent prayer. She shared that the situation is tense in South Africa as xenophobic attacks and riots have been taking place in the past week, mostly in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Durban. Unemployment is very high in South Africa (around 28%) and locals blame foreign nationals for taking jobs, especially Nigerians. Attacks against Nigerians is also causing tension between South Africa and Nigeria. The following video was posted last week. (Since then, there has been more rioting and looting.)
Generally riots will subside after a few days but this tension seems to be continuing. Thandy described the situation as "scary" and said that they were able to see smoke from a store burning nearby - the same store that helped provide supplies at a discounted rate for the Peer Educator conference that we just reported on last week.
Some schools have closed and others are short of teachers, who are unable or afraid to go through dangerous areas to get to those schools. (Thandy had to pick up her own son twice recently due to mobs approaching the area.) The silver lining in the midst of this is that the Department of Education is asking churches and parents with any training to help fill the gap for absent teachers, so the Reach4Life program has been introduced into some additional (unplanned) schools. The program could be continued in these schools but we are cautious about expanding beyond our current plan - all the Bibles we have obtained this year are already specifically allocated. (If you would like to make donations for additional Bibles, please click here to
on our website. On the "projects" box, drop down to click on "Bibles.")
The supply chain for basic needs has also been disrupted. Thandy says the store nearby hasn't had bread in several days. Some clinics are out of medicine. She says they have never seen it like this since the end of apartheid in 1994 and that it is different in that it is "black against black" as opposed to "black against white." Also, riots tend to take place more in the township areas but now they are happening in the business districts and urban middle class areas.
All of these things are affecting our ministry workers and the communities in which they work. Please pray for them, as well as for all of the people of South Africa - that solutions can be found to address these problems and that they will stay safe in spite of these difficult conditions.
Thank you for your prayers.