South Africa (MNN) — Turmoil has swept into South Africa’s capital region this week due to the tentative announcement of the mayoral candidate for the Tshwane region in upcoming elections.
On Monday, two sub-committees of the African National Congress (AND) revealed that Thoko Didiza, former Public Works Minister, would be the party’s candidate.
The BBC says the ANC’s announcement started a chain of violent protests, especially by party members. Rioters reportedly looted shops, attacked cars, and set up burning barricades. Two people have been killed and 40 arrested.
Current Tshwane Mayor Ramokgopa has called for the violence to cease. However, protesters suspect the current governing body of the ANC is making a power move.
Justus Potgieter of Trans World Radio says, “It has sparked widespread riots along the Tshwane metropolis with many buses, vehicles, [and] property damaged, roads blockaded, and [is] obviously affecting the economy in a big way.”
Potgieter explains that some of the frustration partially stems from the country’s current financial status. For just over 20 years, South Africa has been a democracy. There were great expectations for economic development and growth.
But as the unemployment rate has hit an all-time high at 25.2 percent, and the currency has plummeted, citizens are unsatisfied.
“All around, the general mood in the country is unfortunately a depressed mood. It’s one of disillusion with the government.”
This dissatisfaction has turned to anger, and anger has taken many forms. Crime has increased. And, as Potgieter says, so has xenophobia. Foreign shops are being looted. People are taking matters into their own hands.
These riots will negatively impact the economy since the area is a hub of commerce in South Africa. Imagine your hometown being overtaken by chaos like this.
Refocusing and refinement
In the face of unrest, TWR wants to remind Christians that no matter what is going on around them, there is hope in Christ. Hopefully those who don’t know Jesus will meet Him through the radio broadcast of the Gospel.
“Within this context, TWR’s messages are always very uplifting and very supportive of people’s need to hear good news, and that is the kind of message we also get from our supporters is that they are hugely encouraged by what they hear from the programs,” Potgieter says.
TWR addresses a variety of listeners’ daily and current needs. “The programs are feeding into their need to hear they are cared for and loved by God and that He takes care [and] interest in their lives.”
Potgieter says during this time of hardship due to the financial problems and the violence created by protesters, some nominal Christians have become true followers of Christ.
He explains while the majority of South Africa identify themselves as Christians, “Many assume the title without really being Christians.
“In a time of trouble, it just owns you and trouble and hardship and times of uncertainty just [have] a way of somehow creating that […] deeper walk with Jesus, and I think we’ve seen that in South Africa now.”
It would seem now is a crucial time for Christians to share the Word of God with their neighbors.
“Those who truly are in Him have a tremendous job in the country now to continue faithfully following and remaining positive and preaching hope,” says Potgieter.
You and I, supporting the spread of the Gospel
Potgieter says while meeting physical needs is a valuable and important aspect of ministry, only the Gospel can bring eternal change to a people.
“We must always remember if we were to change a community or society for the better forever, we need to preach the Word because it is the spoken Word, the Word of God which has eternal value which an apple or a blanket may not have.”
In order to keep up with the dozens of radio programs TWR produces in Africa, they need the Church’s support from all around the world. TWR is working to preach the Gospel further into the south of Africa.
“All of this is only possible if the Church prays with us, for us, and partners with us in taking the Word further. I always like to remind folk that the Great Commission was not given to mission organizations. The Great Commission was given to you and me, to the Church.”
Mission organizations are one way the entire Church can influence the world for Jesus. If you’d like to partner with TWR financially, click here.
Meanwhile, pray for the Church in South Africa. “The Church is called to be a city on a hill, to be very prominent and very active in their community.”
Pray also for the upcoming elections in August, that there would be peace. Pray for the protection of citizens in South Africa.