Ndebele urges faiths to heal society
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele has urged all faith-based movements to play a role in the regeneration of morality and the creation of a society with a strong work ethic.
Ndebele was speaking in Eshowe, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday at the 130th anniversary celebrations of the martyrdom of Maqhamisela Khanyile, the first black man to be killed for his belief in Christianity.
Khanyile was killed on March9 1877 because he had decided to be baptised a Christian.
The event was part of the Albert Luthuli celebrations, which began last month.
Ndebele said the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa, and other faith-based organisations, played a crucial role in advancing development, democracy and peace.
He said the churches made significant contributions in education, including establishing mission hostels.
"The church openly sided with the struggle for liberation and sacrificed much in its quest for a free people. People like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak, Motlalepule Chabaku and countless other [clerics] took a definite position against apartheid and stood up to be counted," said Ndebele.
He said religion could still play a fundamental role in the rekindling of a higher morality in society.
"A free religion will teach us how to be better fathers. A new-found spirituality will teach girls and boys how to be better citizens of the future.
"Spirituality will teach the rapist to stop raping, the robber to stop robbing and the murderer to stop taking the lives of others," Ndebele said.
He said religion would teach the community to be responsible citizens by refusing to serve as a market and refuge for criminals.
"We cannot depart from this script, which teaches us that hard work, honesty and patience are fundamental values that will in the end make KwaZulu-Natal a better place for all us to live in," he said.