The Women's Manyano, meaning "unity" in isiXhosa, is the black African gathering of women of the UCCSA. The UCCSA represents the five countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana. Every year the women gather in their own regions, then as a Synod of their own country AND as the UCCSA. The women are the pulse of the church!
This year women from all of the 11 isiXhosa speaking churches of the Kei Region were preaching about the spirit of the lord from their own personal experiences and from the teachings they have learned in their churches. One young woman told of her account while working at a drycleaners. She spoke of a male customer who continually returned to the store saying that his trousers were not ironed properly, that the creases were not straight. After the third return of his trousers, the owner took the customer to the back of the store to show him how the creases were straight according to their ironing process. After seeing this with his own eyes, the customer left realizing that it was his own legs that were not straight when his pants were worn. There was an outburst of laughter from the over 700 women gathered. The woman preaching related this to the church. She said we need to get our churches, our own institutions, in order, in a perfect line, just like at the dry cleaners, so that the spirit of the Lord can work and move in our lives and thus in our communities, our country and around the world.
The other highlight of this event was having the honor to address the women about HIV/AIDS. I challenged the women around this topic to reach out, to reach in and to say out loud to their communities that our churches have AIDS. They were challenged to get the real facts about HIV and AIDS so that they can teach our young people how to live a healthy lifestyle. But the one thing that impressed me the most was they had a TB and HIV testing site at the conference and the women and girls were asking questions, getting information and most importantly, getting tested! The women of the UCCSA are indeed the pulse of not only the church but of our communities and the future generation of South Africa.
May the spirit of the Lord be upon the UCCSA women and on this country that is so ravaged by HIV and AIDS!
Rev. Dawn Barnes