Women on the march

Apostle James Haas preaches at his church.

Members of Maranatha Pentecostal Assemblies in Eastridge celebrated Women’s Day last Wednesday by marching through the streets to encourage women to be united and stand up against violence and abuse.

The march started at the corner of AZ Berman Drive and Imperial Road and went through Cinderella Crescent, Buffalo and Botha streets, and Alpine Road.

More than 100 congregants joined the march, chanting and preaching as the procession moved through the area. “We encourage women to unite and stand up for their rights,” said Apostle James Haas. “We are saying no to child and women abuse.

“As the community, including churches, we need to unite and stand firm against the abuse of women and our children,” said Mr Haas, who highlighted crime and drug abuse as the main challenges in the community.

“Our country is gradually dying, particularly the youth. As churches, we need to intervene and change their mindset and show them the right way. Crime and drugs do not pay.

“The reason we came out on the streets is that we want people to come and join us and praise the Lord,” he added.

Church secretary Peter De Bruin reiterated Mr Haas’s sentiments that women need to stand firm against abuse and fight for their rights. “We want to encourage women to stand up for themselves and protect them and their children. They mustn’t allow anyone to stand in their way. We must protect women and our young girls because they are the mothers of the future,” he said.

Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 79, described women as pillar of the community because of the splendid job they are doing.

His ward includes parts of Beacon Valley, Portland, Mitchell’s Plain CBD (Town Centre) and Eastridge.

“Women play a major role in our communities and in most cases they are the ones looking after the children when their husbands go to work.

“Before, women were perceived as people working in the kitchen. No one took them seriously until they marched to the Union Building against the dompass (on August 9 1956). And now we are living in democracy, there is no limitation and women are free to do whatever they want to,” said Mr Philander.

However, he indicated that women were still facing other challenges like substance abuse, rape, domestic violence and unemployment and encouraged them to speak out against injustice.

Mitchell’s Plain police officer Captain Harry Brickles said: “As police, we say no to violence against women and children. No more abuse of our women, no more emotional or verbal abuse. All the abuse against women must stop today. And we want to tell all the women that they are special.”