Welcome to the website serving the Quaker community in Southern Africa.
Have a look at our News page to see news from Quaker Meetings within the region, links to new resources made available by international meetings, book reviews, articles addressing current affairs etc. The latest posts are listed in the column to the right.
Statement by Southern Africa Yearly Meeting of Quakers on Israel and Palestine
14 December 2023
As Quakers it is both our experience and belief that there is a Divine Light (or “That of God”) within each person, regardless of their faith, creed or race. From this, stems our commitment to stand against violence in all its forms, and to nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions through peaceful means.
We are horrified, pained, and saddened by the ongoing war between the Israeli army and Hamas, ordered by the political leadership of both, and inflicting death, unspeakable injury, suffering, and pain on innocent civilians in Israel and in Palestine. This has intensified to hellish levels since October 7, first in Israel and then – and now – in Gaza and, increasingly, the West Bank.
The stirring up of hatred is both cause and effect of the violence. We are mindful of how we, as humans, habitually ‘other’ groups of people in a multitude of ways, based on language, belief, social status, complexion and more. This ‘othering’ dehumanizes them and their humanness then ceases to exist for ‘us’, so that we visit all manner of violence against them because we no longer see them as human. The process of rehumanisation means valuing all human lives as equally sacred and resisting all ideologies and mechanisms that subject one group of people to the violence and oppression of another.
We acknowledge the history of violence perpetrated from many “sides” and we do not think that an exercise of accounting all the atrocities committed over the years will be helpful. We do, however, believe that acknowledging the impact that this ongoing violence has had on individual and communal psyches is a crucial step on the path towards peace. The first-hand individual and group experiences of trauma, as well as the intergenerational and epigenetic patterns of trauma that are present in all groups living in the “Holy Land”, are the seeds of the current violence, which promises, in turn, to sow its own seeds to continue the vicious, VICIOUS cycle. Only through the acknowledgment of, and the large-scale communal healing from, this trauma can true, deep peace be realistically hoped for.
War is a choice. It is clear to us as Quakers, that there are always other ways to resolve conflict, that are not reliant on violence and warfare, and we are convinced that the time for truly exploring these alternatives is NOW. We can attest from lived experience that in South Africa’s darkest hour, with civil war imminent, it was possible for negotiations to start, which led eventually to the first democratic elections. We know that there is another way.
There are many permutations of political solutions that have been proposed. We believe that any number of these could work provided that the leadership on both sides commit and bring their supporters to commit to the peace process. We know that this will not be easy, perhaps may even feel impossible, but it is the only way. Taking this path requires a deep commitment to “stay at the table” even when things get tough. With this commitment, binding agreements that secure the rights, security, and freedom of Israelis and Palestinians alike and the self-determination of both people may be reached.
We believe and we are confident that, if an appropriate path is followed towards reconciliation and healing, a vision for the future which will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians alike will become possible.
Article by YM Co-Clerks on the issue of a Universal Basic Income Grant
Published 3 May 2023
Yearly Meeting 2023
The first in-person Yearly Meeting since before Covid was held at Good Shepherd Retreat Centre, Hartbeespoort, in January 2023. It was a blended Meeting, so some sessions were available online. The focus of the YM was Ubuntu, in keeping with the upcoming FWCC WPM taking place in South Africa in August 2024.
A short video on Ubuntu, the theme of both YM 2023 and the upcoming World Plenary Meeting to be held in South Africa in August 2024, is how available on YouTube.
The Richard Gush Lecture by David Niyonzima is also on YouTube. Both these and other SAYM videos can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOJGuZVZnN7jbktPLyDByKQ
Yearly Meeting 2021
The 2021 Yearly Meeting was held via Zoom over two consecutive weekends in July/August 2021. Two statements came out of the gathering:
- Statement on the Failed Insurrection and Civil Unrest in South Africa
- Quaker Community in Southern Africa endorses SACC statement
The EPISTLE from the Meeting may be read here: Epistle of the Quaker Community in Southern Africa Yearly Meeting 2021
The 2021 Richard Gush Memorial Lecture, delivered by Marie Odendaal of the KwaZulu-Natal Monthly Meeting, was delivered on 16 June 2021. It is titled Creating our world in love’s image — journeying beyond apartheid, and can be viewed on the Quaker Community in Southern Africa YouTube channel.
Quaker Community in Southern Africa YouTube Channel
In January 2018, the Quaker Community in Southern Africa started a YouTube Channel. Click over to see what some of our Friends have to say: QCSA YouTube
WHAT’S ON THE SITE?
If you are looking for a meeting near you, please check the How to Find Us page. Contact information for the Clerks is there, as are street addresses and maps to the meeting places. Minutes of the latest meetings are included on each Meeting’s page if they are available.
Those new to Quakers, or just interested in knowing more will find a vast store of data on our Who are the Quakers? page and its sub-pages. You will also find links to PDF files of Quaker publications at the bottom of the first page.
More in depth information is covered on our Quaker Teaching page.
The Southern Africa Yearly Meeting (SAYM) page contains information of interest to the whole region, and links to the Richard Gush lectures, which are the keynote addresses for each Yearly Meeting.
Our International page contains links to other Quaker websites around the world.
Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness, and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations one against another, but praying for one another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.
Isaac Pennington, 1667