St James’s Church in Kenilworth.
- Thirty years ago, 11 people were murdered at St James’ Church in Kenilworth.
- The tragedy was called the St. James massacre.
- And on Tuesday evening, a special service was held in the church in memory of the tragedy.
Exactly 30 years ago, Azan People’s Liberation Army gunmen killed 11 people at St James’ Church of England in Kenilworth, Cape Town.
And on Tuesday evening, a special service was held in the church in memory of the tragedy.
The service was opened by Scott Tubman, assistant rector of the church, and spoke on what has been dubbed “the night of the storm,” July 25, which marked the 30th anniversary of the attack on St. James.
“As a church, we have now lived longer after the event than we did before it. But we still celebrate anniversaries in memory of those who died and of their families and closest friends,” he said.
Tubman said the attack on the church may have made St. James famous, but it did not identify the church.
“But the attack left an eternal reminder that the good news of the gospel will forever walk the path of suffering, and 30 years later, we continue to walk it, but we do not walk alone,” he said.
The congregation sang hymns, and a video showing the tragic events was shown.
Many of the worshipers remain shocked, wounded, in pain and teary-eyed throughout the commemoration.
There was a moment of silence to mourn those who died.
Members of APLA – the military wing of the Pan African Party – stormed St James’ Church in the suburb of Kenilworth during mass on Sunday evening.
A special memorial service was held at St James’s to mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre.
News24 Marvin Charles
Approximately 1,000 worshipers were inside the church at the time.
In 1998, the four attackers were pardoned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The members of the group killed were Jay Cooper Gavins, Richard Oliver O’Kell, Gerhard Dennis Harker, Wesley Alfonso Harker, Dennis Gordon, Myrtle Joan Smith, Marietta Ackerman, Andrey Cattell, Oleg Karamjin, Valentin Varaksa, and Pavel Valuet.
The last four on this list were Russian sailors attending the service as part of the church’s outreach program.
Another Russian sailor, Dmitry Makogun, lost both legs and an arm in the attack.
During the memorial, church president Mervyn Eloff said, “We come here to remember and to pray that the same gospel that shaped us back then will continue to shape us for years and years. In this church, we say Hamba Vangeli Hamba (Go gospel go).”