Women’s Day Sunday Sermon – 9 August 2020 by Ms Bongi Zengele.

Sermon for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: 9 August 2020 by Ms Bongi Zengele

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

Video on Gender Based Violence produced by Giggs Creations

We are unable to gather for worship as usual on a Sunday morning at 7.30 and 9.15. Thank you to the following for assistance in co-ordinating this input: Busi Mohlaka, Jabu Soni, Judith Serafim and Revd Vernon Hammond for assistance in editing and Alison Warmback for assistance with transcribing and video production.

The message today is from Ms Bongi Zengele.  Bongi has a BA in Social Work from Wits and a Masters in Theology and Development from UKZN, where she is the Programmes Director of the Ujamaa Centre.  She co-ordinates the Solidarity Programme for people living with HIV and Aids.  She also helps teach the Church and Aids course in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at UKZN.

Please find the text of her message below.

The message is followed by a video by the Mothers’ Union on the scourge of Gender Based Violence, the text of which also follows below.

An audio version is available on request.

During this difficult time of the global pandemic, you are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account:   Account Name: St Paul’s Church      Account Number: 50854628623     Bank: First National Bank (FNB)    Branch Code: 221426  

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Pauls, Durban


Womens Day Sunday Sermon by Ms Bongi Zengele

Greetings to you all at this time of celebrating Women’s Month.

Women in the history of South Africa brave it.  They took a drive to take a firm stand against what they did not want at that time.  It’s been over fifty years that that struggle happened which means that when women see that things are not going well around them they’re able gather, they’re able to mobilize and they’re able to do something. So today is a special day, the 9th of August. We’re commemorating that day. And I want to start with a prayer and then move on to my presentation. Loving Father and Mother our families are broken, aching with the pain of absence and neglect. Teach your children how you would have us be mothers and fathers.  Comforting partner our marriages are broken, crying with the pain of violence and fear.  Teach your children how you would have us be wives and husbands and partners.  Wise counsellor our churches are broken suffocating with the pain of oppression and rigidity.  Teach your children how you would have us be true leaders, accountable to you God, real servants responding to the calling. By the example of your son Jesus Christ convict our hearts to heal our brokenness. Through your loving grace and mercy help us to heal and be reconciled with the Spirit and gather together to be who you have created us to be. Amen.

So people of God, women in the church, the Anglican community, it is a special day of commemorating, having women in our midst.  Our country is bleeding – femicide takes place like it is nobody’s business. Our young girls are killed, our young women are sacrificed at the altar of pain and suffering and confusion and unfortunately even if the police are following the case we are not listening, we are not getting where we were looking to what we really need to hear. Women in this country are sacrificed at an altar of anger.

There is a problem in this country and as a church we also need to be asking inwardly and outwardly.  The church is supposed to be the conscience.  What are we doing as the church community to be asking those difficult questions?  We need to open up and have our difficult conversations but asking instead of women feeling so afraid of saying whose next? Am I next? Am I next? But of coming back and saying “When is this going to end?”

Beloved of God we come as church, we’ve come together in our communities, in our families and in our homes and unfortunately our homes it’s where death takes place, it’s where violence takes place, that’s where gender based violence takes place.  And the presentation today is really challenging us and saying “Where are we?”

We know that we are the temple of God, the body is the temple of God.  Is that phrase still meaningful when the bodies of women are degradated? Women are easy target for anger.  Women are easy target to be killed.  Regardless the age group, the youngest case that I’ve heard is a baby that is four months, was also sexually molested and ripped apart, and the oldest person that I’ve ever heard is the woman who is 84 years old was raped.  And I don’t want to count in-between.  I’m not trying to be dramatic, I’m not trying to over emphasise, but this is us, this is South Africa.  And how many of these cases are not reported and in this message today I am also saying women in 1956 you gathered together and you said “Enough is enough!”  You took a march to Pretoria and you told Strydom.  That was the time of apartheid, that was the struggle of that time.

But the struggle has not ended.  What is our new struggle now?  It is the femicide.  What is our struggle now?  Why are we bleeding now?  It is the gender based violence. Where are the women?  Where are the women?  Where is our voice?  We’ve lost our voice.  And this is a challenge of saying “Let us rebuke the Holy Spirit, let us claim our stand as women, let us scream loud, let us really make our presence known and let us also say it’s enough for our children, it’s enough for our bodies, our bodies are the temple of God not to be trampled on by anybody who really feels he wants to feel important.

And the text that I’ve chosen today is Mark 4 verses 38-39.  The calming of the storm.  “So Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and the waves to stop”.  How I wish we could rebuke Jesus to stand up because our boat is shaking.  But when Jesus said on verse 39, he said “Quiet and be still”.  Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm.  How we want that this day that we can hear Jesus calming the storm, the storm of gender based violence, the storm of breaking down of our homes, the close fabric of our society.  We are inviting Jesus to come now and to calm the storm of our lives for today and help us to struggle, and help us to stand together united against gender based violence.

And not only as women as well to call also our counterparts, the male because there are also men who are also standing very firm saying “Not in my name”.  It is a time that we unite, it is a time that we make this voice heard strongly that “Enough is enough!”  “Can we change and have our homes to be happy again where warmth and laughter and love serenade the walls and the comfort of the home.   It’s not a home that is a place for us to hide and run away because we are not happy, that our children run away from home because home is not a place to be, but can we change the narrative.

My prayer for today and the prayer for the celebration now onwards, given the context of corona; corona has exposed us that we cannot stay at home because the level of gender based violence, the level of disdainment that happens in our homes has been quite remarkable.  Violence that happen amongst the people that we love, happens in the vicinity of the home and there is nowhere to go because the closed down.  So we are saying “Yes corona has been quite bad to us’.  We are still mourning the loss of the people that we know but also at the same time we also mourning the space that we know to be loving and embracing us.  And our prayer today is that let our homes who are our boats when we are using the figurative speech of the text that we have chosen today, the calming of the storm.  Can Jesus come to our homes and calm the storm, the storm of violence so that we live together in a loving home, we feel protected, we feel loving, we want to embrace one another.

So as the church we are the conscience, we are the place where good things can happen and we want to affirm and can we continue to be giving the message of hope, the message of good news, the message of the stillness and calmness and then we change our narrative.  South Africa come back.  We are the beloved country.  Can we make our South Africa be happy again, can we make the happiness be our home again not what we are seeing and what we are hearing. I pray for healing for those families who have really faced a hardness of corona virus.  I also pray for peace for families who are also facing gender based violence in their sacred space, and I’m praying for the space to be regained, and I’m reclaiming the presence of Jesus and God in our godly houses that …. There’s even a saying that says charity begins at home.  But when there’s no home where will it start.  So can we rebuke the evil and let us get the Spirit come back, let us love, let us bring love and hope that there is a future with no violence, that there is love, that there is comforting, that there is embrace that is showing us that there is hope because now we are so hopeless and the church especially the Anglican community have committed themselves to be the presence of God.

Where the hurt happens we want to embrace and have peace so can we as congregants remember and be that conscience.  Maybe we have forgotten it and it is our role.  And the church is not the buildings, the church is each and every member who is confessing the faith.  So in the midst of the corona virus, in the midst of the violence that happens in South Africa today I want to give you the message of hope that as Jesus calmed the storm down can Jesus say it loud again and say “Be quiet! Be still! We do not want violence in this country!” And our prayers are heard. And we want to say “Can our narrative change? Enough is enough!”  Can we all remember that there is hope and there is still love and there is God.  We ask all this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thank you.

Video: Anglican Church of Southern Africa  Diocese of Natal Mothers’ Union

Bantwana, bethu, bafowethu, bobaba nabayeni bethu

Our children, brothers, fathers, boyfriends, fiances and husbands

Senzeni kinina? Sinikhathaze ngani na? Siphenduleni!!!

What have we done to you? How have we bothered you? Answer us!!!

Isono sethu ukwabelana nani ingxenye yobuthina?

Our crime is to share our CHROMOSOMES and DNA with you?

Isono sethu ukunithwala emizimbeni yethu?

Our crime was to carry you in our bodies for 9 months?

Isono sethu ukubekezelela izinhlungu zokufika kwenu kulomhlaba?

Our crime was to bear the labour pains when you arrived on earth?

Isono sethu ukuhlangabezana nazo zonke izindingo zenu ningakakwazi ukuzisiza?

Our crime was to meet all your needs when you were helpless?

Senzeni kinina? Sinikhathaze ngani na? Siphenduleni!!!

What have we done to you? How have we bothered you? Answer us!!!

Isono sethu ukunincelisa, sinesule izinyembezi uma ninkhala?

Our crime was to beastfeed you and wipe your tears?

Isono sethu ukubheka ubusuku bonke uma nigula nisezinhlungwini?

Our crime was to stay awake all night when you were sick and in pain?

Isono sethu ukunithanda okungenamibandlela?

Our crime is to love you unconditionally?

Senzeni kinina? Sinikhathaze ngani na? Siphenduleni!!!

What have we done to you? How have we bothered you? Answer us!!!

Uma nina seninamandla, nisikhahlela njengebhola, nisivala amehlo ngezibhakela!

When you have power, you kick us like the ball, and close our eyes with fists?

Nisephula amathambo, nisihlinzisa okwezimbuzi, nisishisa nangomlilo!

You break our bones, skin us like goats and set us alight!

Nesililo sethu nisishaya indiva, nisephuca ilungelo lokuphila nenjabulo!

You ignore our cries and pleas, you take away to live and be happiness!

Nithokoziswa yizinyembezi negazi lethu!

You derive joy in our tears and our blood!


Ninyathela uthando lwethu nilujikijela kithina ngesihluku!

You trample on our love and aggressively throw it back at us!

Senzeni kinina?  Siphenduleni!!!

What have we done to you? Answer us!!!

Nathi senziwe ngomfanekiso womdali wethu sonke

We are also made in the image of God, the creator of us all

Anisakhumbuli nokukodwa okuhle esanenzela khona?

You choose to forget even one good deed we offered to you!

Nathi singabantu, sinemizwa nenhliziyo!

We are also human, we have feelings and hearts!

Senzeni ukuba nisihlukumeze kantje? Sekwanele! Sekwanele!

What have we done to deserve such abuse and violence? ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

Ithemba lethu bekuwuthandwa nokuvikeleka ezandleni zenu

Our hope was to be loved and being safe in your hands


Sekwanele! Swekwanele! Yekani ukusibulala!!

Enough! Enough! Stop killing us!!


Anglicans ACT  Anchored  Committed Transformed

Anglican Church of Southern Africa  Diocese of Natal   Giggs Creations