The urgent need for the churches and civil society to step in where the politicians are failing the Nelson Mandela Metro has been highlighted through the first Nehemiah Prayer Walk through all 60 municipal wards.
Former Anglican bishop Eric Pike, accompanied at various stages by around 200 other residents of the metro, inaugurated the 200 km Nelson Mandela Bay prayer walk, which will also serve as a tourist route as it links many of the metro’s historic sites.
“I think one of the things that really hit me hardest is amount of rubbish lying around in the townships,” says Pike.
“It is not only plastic bags and paper, but builder’s rubble and all other types of rubbish.
“The rubbish is a symptom of the hopelessness that people feel. They simply do not have the energy or motivation to pick it up,” he says.
Route developer Trevor Jennings of Transformation Christian says “this walk is aimed at helping people living in the wealthier suburbs to see what the actual problems are in our community, because if you have never experienced and seen the problem for yourself, then how can you appreciate the terrible conditions under which so many people live”.
The route is designed to be covered by foot, bicycle, motorcycle and car.
“As you walk around you have to be very careful that you don’t get into a feeling of hopelessness when you see the magnitude of the challenges facing the people of the metro,” he says.
Churches are being encouraged by TCN to be involved practically and in prayer.
“We South Africans have proven that we can rise above all challenges. We have seen miracles in the past.
“The church has got to play a role in changing lives for the better,” he says.
The walk started in Ward 1 at St Margaret’s Anglican Church in Summerstrand.
Included in the route during the week were the Catholic Diocese in Park Lane, St Stephens Anglican to Missionvale Care Centre where they were welcomed by Sister Ethel, St Mathews in KwaMagxaki and Bluewater Bay.
Starting at St Mathews, the second week took Bishop Pike and other walkers who accompanied him on sections of the route to Bluewater Bay, the John Wesley Methodist in Motherwell, the Motherwell magistrates Court and ending the week off in Uitenhage.
The third week started on Daniel Pienaar Road in Uitenhage where walkers made their way to Langa Community Hall in Rosedale to the Congregational Church in Dale Street, to Emmanuel Baptist Church and ended at the African Gospel Church in Gwali Street.
The fourth and final week started at KwaNobuhle Mall, and includes the AFM church in Despatch, Ebenezer North to Helenvale Resources Centre then to the Bible Society in Cotswold to St Nicholas Church and ended where it started at St Margaret’s Church in Summerstrand.
The walkers are accompanied members of the South Africa Police Service where a police vehicle drives behind and ahead of the walkers each day and a metro emergency medical service vehicle has also been accompanying the walkers daily.
There have been volunteer marshals from the area which the walkers are walking for the day who have been acting as guides and helped with the logistics each day and help tell the story of their area.
If you would like to learn more about the walk then you can visit the Transformation Christian Network NMB Facebook page.
Video: Urgent Need to Save a Metro Filled with Hopelessness
More Info on Urgent Need to Save a Metro Filled with Hopelessness here: http://tcn.org.za/