This page is also available in: French, Spanish

Ready to play for peace in the townships of Pretoria. Credits: Antoine Soubrier/Caritas South Africa

Ready to play for peace in the townships of Pretoria. Credits: Antoine Soubrier/Caritas South Africa

“Women, children, disabled and elderly people had to face these men with machetes and other weapons,” says Fr Peter Audu. “ They did not have a chance.”

Fr Audu, the then Secretary General of Caritas Nigeria, believes as many as 500 people were killed near the city of Jos in night raids on Sunday 7 March 2010. Caritas helped 15,000 people with emergency aid and, supported by its worldwide membership, established peacebuilding projects.

Peace and reconciliation were at the forefront of African bishops’ minds two months later when they gathered in Mozambique. Caritas Africa helped organise a special consultation to follow up on the African Synod convened by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome in 2009. The bishops made peacebuilding a key priority.

While locals, refugees and migrants battled it out on South Africa’s township football pitches in June, the country hosted the most famous footballers on earth for the FIFA World Cup. The Caritas “Peace Cup” competition brought people together to celebrate their common humanity, healing wounds caused by shocking outbreaks of xenophobia.