Child Murder Prosecutor—AME’s Heroine in the 15th District
By Maggie Grootboom, 15th Episcopal District TCR Field Representative
Advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo (BCG), is a member of Mother Bethel AME Church, Hazendal, in the Cape Conference. She is an AME member who is striving to make a positive difference in our society and community. BCG is the deputy director of public prosecutions attached to the Western Cape of the Office of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa. One of her responsibilities is to ensure the successful prosecution of child murders in the Western Cape. With a title job as mentioned, one can only imagine just how demanding this job can be and how serious the matter is to have a portfolio of such a nature.
It has been reported for the year of 2017 that since January to date, 66 children (under age 18) have been brutally murdered in the Western Cape alone. It is clear that violence against women and children in South Africa are an alarming issue. The numbers continue to escalate.
BCG was invited by the Lay Organisation to facilitate a presentation whereby she addressed this alarming concern to the members of the Cape Annual Conference Lay Organization on 1 July 2017. Following this presentation, BCG was also invited to the Boland Annual Conference Lay Night held on 13 October 2017 to once again address the child murder pandemic.
BCG’s presentation detailed the interventions made by the prosecution authorities to ensure the successful prosecution of child murderers. These interventions resulted in a continued high conviction rate. However, she emphasised that work must be done to reduce the number of children who are being murdered in our communities, often within the home or as a result of gang violence.
According to BCG, the church has a pivotal role to play in protecting our children by becoming more involved in the community. The church needs to play a more active role by being a support structure for children and women, to be the middleman between authorities, and a simple safe haven. BCG posed the question to the congregation, “Does the AME Church’s local pastor know who the police commander of this area is?” Do we as AMEs identify and try and help children at risk? When no one could answer, everyone realised that they have all played a part in neglecting our women and children in the community.
Therefore, BCG made it clear to the Boland Annual Conference and to visitors present that the church needs to reapply their role in the community and be a church to those who seek refuge, shelter, and need a voice when theirs have been silent.
Advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo pleaded with the leaders of the church that they need serious help. It is her prayer that the church in which she grew up will be the church to aid South Africa from its child predators.