On the eve of the 21-day national lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa has invited all South Africans to take part in a National Day of Prayer wherever they are.
The President has, following discussions with religious leaders, called on citizens to observe two minutes of prayer, reflection or silent meditation on Thursday 26 March 2020 between 18:00 and 18:30 hours.
The President says this is the moment when South Africans need to act together as one patriotic nation in solidarity with all those affected or impacted by COVID-19, not just in South Africa but around the world.
“These are challenging times. We are traversing a path we have never travelled before. There are many amongst us who are fearful, uncertain and vulnerable. I call on our people to offer a prayer and a thought for the protection and healing of our land and its people from this disease,” President Ramaphosa said.
“Over the past two weeks, South Africans from all walks of life have demonstrated their resilience by complying with the restrictions that have been placed on their lives. Because we are in a state of national lockdown our prayers must be offered from our hearts and in our homes,” President Ramaphosa said.
The national day of prayer comes in response to a proposal made by interfaith leaders who met with the President last week to express their support for the national effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
National prayer days have been held in a number of countries this week, including parts of the US, UK, the Philippines, Kenya, Mexico and Italy.
“The international occurrence of the coronavirus pandemic has affirmed yet again that the challenge we face is a global one and one we cannot overcome alone,” President Ramaphosa said.
“I call on all our people, whether they are religious or not, wherever they are, on Thursday the 26th of March to observe a moment of silence in a show of social solidarity,” said President Ramaphosa.
The President said the nation’s thoughts should particularly be with those in hospital, quarantine or self-isolation.
“In observing this National Day of Prayer we also want to send a message of hope to our brave and patriotic health care workers who are on the frontline and helping to save lives, with our emergency personnel, police, traffic officers and military, and with all those who are working tirelessly to keep us safe, healthy and alive.
The media has been exemplary in keeping our people well-informed about the work of government in dealing with this pandemic,” President Ramaphosa added.
President Ramaphosa said the hardships imposed by a national lockdown were considerable.
“The coming weeks will sorely test our resolve and patience. For millions of South Africans for whom faith is a source of hope and courage, this difficult time must strengthen and unite us as never before.”
The President called on citizens to demonstrate their solidarity with fellow South Africans by displaying our inspiring national flag on social media (#PrayForSouthAfrica), outside their homes and other prominent places as an act of compassion and unity during the national lockdown.
Enquiries: Khusela Diko: Spokesperson to the President on 072 854 5707
Issued by: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa