Education, a fundamental human right recognized by the United Nations, is a powerful tool by which the marginalised can lift themselves out of poverty.
It was former president Nelson Mandela who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”
This has never been more relevant in our country – in light of the many challenges we are facing, one of which is abject poverty. Never before has it been more important for us to step up efforts to give our young people a better chance at a decent and fulfilling life.
That is why many people read with disbelief an article in the Sowetan yesterday, according to which “a church” called on children to stay away from school because it believed the devil had taken over these institutions following a deal with Mandela.
This was the submission made by the controversial Angel Ministries brothers to the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities in Port Elizabeth this week.
The commission, investigating the commercialisation of religion and the abuse of people’s beliefs, has summoned religious organisations to appear before them.
When I read the article, I thought I was dreaming. But reality dawned on me that churches are no longer what they used to be. Many of them have been hijacked by unholy men and women whose sole agenda is to exploit vulnerable and spiritually ignorant citizens for personal gain.
With all the pressures of societal ills having a toll on millions, many people expect churches to provide answers that no other institution can provide. It is beyond that these bedrocks of faith and providers of solutions to humanity’s deepest needs should be the ones destroying people’s lives.
It was the same Mandela, now insulted by the psychopathic Mancoba brothers running a cult they call a church, who said: “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.”
It is strange that a church, whose role is to fix what is broken in society, should be the destroyer of children’s lives by denying them their right to education, a vital empowerment tool in eradicating poverty.
Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental liberties guaranteed by our constitution. But it is a problem when this freedom is abused by deranged hooligans who manipulate faith for material benefit and to gain power and control.
We are in trouble once churches become terrorist organisations no different from fundamentalist militant group, Boko Haram, unleashing hell in northern Nigeria. The terror group claims western-style educational system is immoral, against God and makes materialism and hedonism the ultimate in life.
Like their Nigerian terrorist counterparts, the Mancoba brothers bizarrely believe children should not go to school because these institutions have been taken over by Satan.
It is chilling that these charlatans have hundreds of followers. It demands of us to join hands with authorities to defend vulnerable members of society from these Bible-wielding thugs.