Two clerics have joined Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, fasting in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, who face a collapsing economy and political order amid reports of a possible military coup.
Tutu called for support of the fast on South Africa’s Radio 702 on Sunday. “If we would [only] have more people saying ‘I will fast’, maybe one day a week – just to identify with our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe,” said Tutu in his interview. Tutu said he was now fasting once a week.
Bishop Paul Verryn, who runs a refugee operation at the Central Methodist Church in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, announced he would also fast. Up to 4 million Zimbabweans have fled to his country already. They were joined by Pastor Raymond Motsi of the Bulawayo Baptist Church in Zimbabwe.
The fasting by Tutu and the other clerics is intended to continue fostering awareness of Zimbabwe’s plight under the rule of Robert Mugabe that is not internationally recognized.
“We need to up the ante a bit in terms of the types of activities that put pressure on the government,” said Civicus acting chairperson Kumi Naidoo, a South African who is also co-chairperson of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.
In a letter of support to Naidoo, Tutu said, “As the world’s eye turns to the mass killings in Gaza, we must not ignore the ongoing deaths in Zimbabwe – [which are happening] not with bombs, but with starvation, disease and apathy. These deaths are no less deliberate than those perpetrated with arms.”
Full SW Radio transcript at swradioafrica.com.
Story by Ecumenical News International; reprinted with permission