Townships are hell, says cross-bearing pastor
A CAPE Town pastor, Xola Skosana, marched almost 14km carrying a huge wooden cross to proclaim that "South African townships are hell"
The march - from Gugulethu to Khayelitsha - took place on Saturday.
Though the huge cross was fitted with a wheel to enable Skosana to drag it the pillow on his shoulder, on which the cross rested, showed that it was still a very heavy load.
"If people do not stand up against their poor living conditions there will be no change in their lives," Skosana said.
"They cannot outsource their responsibility to politicians. People must have faith in themselves to bring change in their society."
Flanked by supporters and carrying his customary "Welcome to Hell: South African townships" banner, Skosana's march attracted about 300 people from the black consciousness-aligned group Blackwash, Abahlali baseMjondolo, local back-yard associations and the DA.
At one stage Blackwash supporters clashed with DA members and a DA T-shirt was set alight.
Lonwabo Kilani of Blackwash said: "The march was not organised so that political parties could hijack it. We burnt a DA T-shirt not because we support the ANC. The DA and ANC are the same. They are responsible for the conditions of the black people in the townships. We could not find an ANC T-shirt. We wanted to burn the T-shirts of both parties," Kilani said.
The march took about five and half hours, with frequent stops to explain to people what was happening.
Bystander Wellington Lubambo, 51, said he was happy to see that the church cared about the living conditions of people in the townships.
"We have lived here for the past 16 years and only promises have been made. No one has ever come back to fulfil those promises. We have neither electricity nor clean water and this place is dirty," an angry Lubambo said.
"Our children are always sick because of the dirty water running down our streets."
Abahlali baseMjondolo leader Mzonke Poni urged the crowd not to be loyal to political parties.
"Political parties have disappointed us for too long. As a result, many of our people are politically confused. Last year they were wearing Cope T-shirts. This year they are wearing different T-shirts," he said.