His Christmas message is: ‘Welcome to Hell’
WHILE many Capetonians will be sitting down to lunch and opening presents on Christmas day, a Khayelitsha pastor is planning to protest against the plight of the poor and the country’s township conditions of “hell”.
The Rev Xola Skosana, of the Way of Life Church, is taking to the streets on Christmas day with a huge banner which reads “Welcome to Hell, SA Townships!”, on Mew Way bridge in a bid to capture the attention of passing motorists.
“While people are driving by on their way to their beach homes and holiday destinations there are people a stone’s throw away who may not have anything to eat, who are living in filth and are in desperate need of a Christmas miracle,” he said.
Skosana has over the years used shock tactics, including a month-long hunger strike and numerous marches through Cape Town’s notorious townships, to highlight the plight of the poor. He has even gone to extremes, last year declaring in a sermon that “Jesus had HIV”.
His shocking sermon made international headlines, angering Christian leaders across the globe. But Skosana is not discouraged that his attempts have failed to spark speedy solutions. In fact, he says it only inspires him to do more to trigger a tidal wave of people who will stand up on Christmas Day to show those more fortunate the true horror called poverty.
Last Christmas he marched through the streets of Khayelitsha and onto the N2, and during the Easter weekend this year he carried a huge wooden cross on a 13km march from Gugulethu to Khayelitsha. “I know why I am doing this, I cannot stomach a Christmas lunch when others are suffering, when families are torn apart and when the agony of poverty becomes too much for some to bear.”
He said township residents and backyard dwellers were part of the city’s life blood but saw none of its rewards. “What I am trying to do is speak to the conscience of our political leaders to ensure the government must never be absolved from its responsibilities.”
Describing the townships as “glorified refugee camps and rat- infested hell- holes”, he preaches to all about the horrific conditions.
“Christmas must be a day of solidarity with the poor in our townships, our women and children who suffer all manner of abuses daily,”he said. “Those who have escaped poverty must… throw a lifeline to others, whether it is through a job, education or skills training… anything that will empower and uplift will bring about change. That’s what the Christmas spirit is all about.”