The Kuyasa community is stricken with many problems such as murder, rape, street gang fights and robbery. Also, it has been flooded with NGO’s and missionaries attempting to help the situation, but most (if not all) of their attempts have become failed attempts. With much disappointment from external help, they were even hesitant to be photographed by outsiders. While we were preparing for the children’s March in September, 3 gang related murders, 4 rapes and many other crimes occurred.
The community’s response to such problems were the common ‘kill or cast out’. We felt our message of love and compassion sank deep into their hearts during the Children’s March and we decided to go further. We called a small gathering who got touched by the campaign and explained to them our intention. “If we have a group of people responding to the problems in the community with love and compassion, what would it do?” Then we challenged them to bring up any problems in the community so we can deal with them together.
Immediately, they pointed to the Albino couple who attended the meeting. The couple shared how challenging it is to live in the community facing constant mockery and prejudice even from the children. The father shared, “I grew up like this, but it breaks my heart when I witness my 3 children growing up with it.” Children throw rocks at their house, and spread rumors that Albinos don’t even die. While everyone is staring at us to see what we will do, our solution was simple. We asked the community members to be there for the family and stand up for them, because that is what Jesus would have done.
We all marched to the family’s house together. While we were inside, kids threw rocks at the house. Those who were standing near the door angrily rushed out to stop the children from throwing rocks. I went after them to calm them down. Some of the kids got scared and they were ready to run away. I said to them, “It’s okay please come closer. You guys were there at the march, right?” I continued, “We were there to protect you and I’d like you to do the same. Please protect them (pointing at the Albino children).” And I held the 3 year old girl (the youngest one) in my arms and kissed the daylight out of her in front of other children.
The story spread like a wildfire. We bought a pair of sunglasses for the Sandile, the eldest son of 12 years old, because he was sensitive to sunlight. When another kid stole the sunglasses, we saw half of the community gather to see what we would do. The mother of the boy who stole the sunglasses was about to smack the boy in front of the crowd. Mthandazo went to the boy and gently explained why Sandile needed the pair of sunglasses and asked him to return them.
After a few weeks and dealing with other problems, we asked the group to come up with a name that would describe what we do. Sandile’s father slowly raised his hand and softly said, “Vuk’ukhanye (Rise n’ shine)”