‘Operation Sunlight’ brings light

2020-03-27 16:00
About 20 soldiers of the South African army were handed soap and surgical gloves in Mitchell’s Plain.

About 20 soldiers of the South African army were handed soap and surgical gloves in Mitchell’s Plain. (Andie Steele-Smith)

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While most other people stood in queues to stock up their kitchen and wine cabinets with the national lockdown looming, a group of people from totally different backgrounds – from pastors to gangsters – worked together to hand out soap to more than 50 000 residents from Cape Town’s most vulnerable communities.

“Operation Sunlight”, as it was aptly named, was started by the Hillsong Africa Foundation and Hillsong Church South Africa on Friday 20 March in Manenberg and on Saturday 21 March in Fisantekraal. 

Their goal was to help vulnerable or marginalised communities in Cape Town prepare and survive the Covid-19 pandemic, says Andie Steele-Smith, a volunteer of Hillsong Africa Foundation and a pastor in Fisantekraal.

About 12 000 residents of these two communities received – along with some practical advice – a coronavirus advisory leaflet and several weeks’ supply of handwashing soap.

Two women from Fisantekraal are all smiles while w

The day after, on Sunday 22 March, a further 10 000 people in Tafelsig in Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha were reached, he says.

But on Tuesday 24 March, when they were running out of people to do the handouts, he approached the gang leaders in Manenberg.

“I witnessed a miracle unfolding before my eyes when four of the most hard-core gangs in Manenberg – the Americans, Hard Living, Jesters and Clever Kids – and their generals worked together to hand-deliver soap to another 9 000 community members in Manenberg,” Steele-Smith says.

“About 20 soldiers of the South African army were handed soap and surgical gloves,” he says.

“By God’s grace, the team has managed to reach and serve over 50 000 of the inhabitants of these poor communities in Cape Town. If this was a music tour, I think we would call it ‘Operation Sunlight’ or maybe ‘When Love Comes to Town’,” Steele-Smith wrote on his Facebook page.

Here during the handout operation in Manenberg are

On Friday 27 March, the first day of the lockdown, approved emergency response volunteers took to the streets in Fisantekraal to hand out basic food parcels.

“They hope to also distribute more surgical and medical supplies to public hospitals and clinics in Cape Town and Gauteng in their network, as well as the next batch of soap to a further 200 000 or more people and healthcare facilities all over the City,” Steele-Smith says.

“Even in these dark, uncertain and tough times, God is good and His wonders are still performed,” he says.

One of the gang leaders in Manenberg helped to han

  • Anyone who wants to make a donation for food or supplies can contact Hillsong Africa Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Team at info@hillsongafrica.com or visit https://hillsongafrica.com/corona or contact Andie Steele-Smith on 060 463 1257. Visit Hillsong Africa Foundation on Instagram (@hillsongafricafoundation) or on Facebook.

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