Empowering individuals and communities in South Africa
Empowering the Community through the Gospel of Jesus Christ
We want to bring the Gospel to the marketplace in the widest possible sense. We proclaim the reconciliation message of Jesus Christ but also strive to give this message a concrete form in the most topical issues we face. We seek to promote conversation and dialogue at the local level and increase the church's contact and networks with the media, government and business.
The Work We Do
News & Events
It is often speculated that South Africa might be a failed state. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that most of our local governments are failed institutions. There are exceptions, but one could find numerous adverbs to describe most local governments. Words such as dysfunctional, politically infected, debt-laden and incompetent come to mind.
At the Centre for Public Witness, we have already visited over 60 towns and cities across South Africa and listened to ordinary people at the grassroots level. We learned valuable lessons about how ordinary people from different backgrounds think about South Africa.
Spreading hope with vegetable gardens
“Oh, what a day it was. All aspects of vegetable gardening were simplified; no time was wasted."
“Very, very informative and a new learning experience. Awesome, we learnt a lot! Thank you, Braam and team!”
This is how participants of the Hope and Reconciliation Trust, which operates under the Centre for Public Witness, testified to their recent successful workshop on micro-farming. This workshop was held at the African Methodist Church in Bonteheuwel. Nearly 45 people from poor communities attended the event. The project was held in collaboration with Gardens for Life – Phakama. Background on the economic model and growth and theoretical frameworks for establishing vegetable gardens were given. Practical help was also provided.
Apologies, forgiveness and unforgiveness
Op en Wakker, a breakfast program on RSG, talks about apologies, forgiveness and unforgiveness with Braam Hanekom from the Centre for Public Witness.
"Die dood en staatsbegrafnis van Koningin Elizabeth II was een van die grootste TV-gebeurtenisse van die onlangse geskiedenis, met meer as vier miljard mense oor die wêreld heen wat daarna gekyk het. Die kommentaar van gaste op die onderskeie TV-kanale het nogal hemelsbreed verskil, veral na gelang van waar in die wêreld of Statebond jy gekyk het. Ook hier in Suid-Afrika het heelwat kommentators mond uitgespoel oor koloniale vergrype of slawerny met ‘n verwagting dat die huidige koninklike familie daarvoor om verskoning moet vra. Of die Cullinan-diamant teruggee. Of minstens iets sê oor die Boereoorlog se konsentrasiekampe."
#GROEI in George
Steve van der Walt from George Moedergemeente shares that the Hope and Reconciliation Trust's #GROEI project inspired him to start a hydroponic vegetable garden.
"More than ever before, South Africa needs a new social compact and much greater social cohesion. This will lead to greater mutual trust, without which we will no longer be able to cope since the country is currently financially and morally bankrupt."
A resilient social compact requires a dynamic agreement between the state and society on how to live together, and how to address issues of power and resources.
For such an agreement to contribute to peace and societal well-being, it must be reflected in the mechanisms, policies and responses that uphold the agreement. This needs to be done in a way that’s flexible and responsive, especially in times of crisis.
Research across nine countries, including South Africa, found that social cohesion is a key driver. Social cohesion builds on the concept of social solidarity, which lies in areas of trust and respect, belonging and identity, and participation.