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by Zethu Dhlodhlo

Anene Booysen was a 17-year-old girl who was found by a security guard the morning after she had been gang-raped and mutilated at a construction site in Bredasdorp, in the Western Cape, South Africa on February 2, 2013. She was still alive, but died later in that day. This is one of many alarming cases of violence against women and children in South Africa. It’s no secret that South Africa has high statistics supporting this tragic event, but it’s about time we address this issue, not just as citizens of this country but as God’s warriors. I was born for a time such as this: I was born to speak up!

“The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said,” I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”. The Lord replied, ”Don’t say ‘I’m too young’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and teardown, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.”-Jeremiah 1:4-10

In light of this verse, I decided to step up and voice out how I feel about violence against women and children in South Africa. I partook in the “WE SAY ENOUGH” march and rally which was organised by The Student Representative Council of learners at the University of Cape Town, 20 February 2013. Thousands of students, academics, researchers and support staff were called to express their collective outrage at the crimes of violence perpetuated across the nation by marching and holding placards with their messages and some were granted the opportunity to speak about this issue. This was very empowering for me, witnessing young men and women forging forward with the same intentions and mind set for one cause. The fruits from this rally may not manifest now but I know that we made an impact because we all decided to speak up. This is a state of emergency address not just for South Africa but for God’s people. As Christians our agenda is simple, like Jeremiah we were appointed to speak up. In Jeremiah 1:9 the Lord says “I have put words in your mouth” and in Ephesians 6:17 Paul advises that we “..take up the sword of the Spirit at all times, which is the word of God.” It is time to let our faith materialise into deeds. It is time to pray and intercede on behalf of our nation! It is time to speak up! To provide opportunities for discipleship for our fellow brothers and to share with them that violence is not the answer but the knowledge of God’s love (1 Corinthians 13:13) and loving others (Matthew 22:39) is.

In conclusion, we should always be comforted that God has assured us that He is in control and most importantly that He has power to change any situation.