“7 Sacred Days in Cape Town”, held all over the city from the 1st – 7th February 2020, was organised by the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative and celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week’s 10th Anniversary, and annual UN observance.

Visiting the District 6 museum, Dr Bhadra Shah (left) and Rev Berry Behr of the CTII (right back)

This was a really exceptional experience; one comes away feeling immensely positive about the future of grassroots interfaith in Cape Town, of civil society in general, and also South Africa and the rest of the World too.

We were blessed to have the witness and input of Dr Bhadra Shah, Vice Chair of the Parliament if the World’s Religions, helping us grow the connections to the international movement of spirit.

 

Swami Vidyananda of Ananda Kutir ashrama

“7 Sacred Days” was so multifaceted, the context a struggling post-apartheid society, but the sentiments so noble and transcendent from every major religious sector. It started on Saturday 1st in the tranquility of the Ananda Kutir ashrama (right) in Rondebosch, where we “met the swamis”. On Sunday the 2nd, we convened in Saddique Mosque in gangster-ridden Elsies River on the Cape Flats and proceded silently to a reclaimed block of land in (below), for the annual “Prayers for the City” event.

On Wednesday 5th we gathered in the Dutch Reformed Groote Kerk for an inspiring cafe-style set of dialogs. Under Dominee Riaan de Villiers this symbol of Afrikaner spirituality is undergoing a tremendous transition into a profound wider unity as they question their historical commitment to segregated religious practice (see bottom picture)

On Friday 7th we visited the bustling hub of progressive Islam that is Claremont Main Road Mosque. There were many other events and encounters, including Shabbat at Wynberg Temple and a visit to the District 6 museum.

Throughout we experienced warm hearts from many strata of our society, with a resurgent sense of goodwill and return to the Ubuntu sensibility that underlies perhaps the most perennial of religious truths, that we should “Do to others what we would have them do to us”.

Prayers for the City, Elsies River (day 2)

Well done, Cape Town Interfaith Initiative. You are showing up, doing interfaith, and by facilitating such glorious diversity, taking Initiative in the deepest sense of the word.

Embrace, Groote Kerk

Photo Credits to Abdul-Karriem Adams and Laura Pohl.