Address: 20 Diakonia Avenue
In the 1970s, Archbishop Denis Hurley shared his vision of an ecumenical organisation to work for justice in the greater Durban area. He believed the church should have been doing more in the struggle to end apartheid. Hurley wanted to create an inter-church structure that would concentrate on the distress of ordinary people. “Working together to alleviate suffering and to humanise society is perhaps the most promising and exciting opportunity for ecumenism,” he said. The Archbishop started discussions with other church leaders in Durban, and founded Diakonia on 25 March 1976. The name is a Greek word which means service. Social action groups were a way for people in the church to organise themselves at a local level against the social ills of racism and injustice. Diakonia trained people to set up and effectively run social action groups in the struggle against apartheid during the 1980s.Although Diakonia was a safe space for those working for a new South Africa, this attracted the attention of the security forces and its offices were raided several times. In 1994 Diakonia was merged with the Durban & District Council of Churches and a new organisation called Diakonia Council of Churches was formed. The important work of transforming society continues in different ways today, because the task is far from complete.
Ngeminyaka yawo-1970, u-Archbishop Denis Hurley waveza umbono wakhe wokusungula inhlangano eyayizolwela ubulungiswa ngaphansi kwedolobha iTheku. Wayekholelwa ekutheni isonto kwakumele lenze okungaphezulu emzabalazweni wenkululeko. U-Hurley wayefuna ukusungula uhlaka lwamasonto ehlukene olwaluzobhekelela abantu abahlukumezekile. Wathi, “Ukusebenzisana ekulweni nokuhlupheka nokubuyisa ubuntu emphakathini iyona ndlela ethembisayo neveza ithuba lokunqoba ukucindezelwa.”
Umbhishobhi lona-ke, wabe eseqala izingxoxo nabanye abaholi bamabandla eThekwini, wasungula iDiakonia mhla ka 25 Mashi 1976. Leli yigama lesiGriki elisho usizo. Amaqembu omphakathi kwakuyiyona ndlela isonto elalizoyisebenzisa ukuze bahlangane emazingeni omphakathi balwe nobandlululo nokungabi khona kobulungiswa. I-Diakonia yaqeqesha abantu ukuba basungule amaqembu asebenzayo omphakathi ngesikhathi kuliwa nobandlululo ngeminyaka yawo-1980.
Nakuba i-Diakonia yayiyindawo ephephile kulabo ababenzela iNingizimu Afrika entsha, yaheha amehlo amaphoyisa ombuso wobandlululo kanti amahhovisi ayo ayehlaselwa njalo ezophenywa. Ngo-1994 i-Diakonia yahlangana ne-Durban & District Council of Churches kwakhiwa inhlangano entsha ebizwa ngokuthi yi-Diakonia Council of Churches. Iyaqhubeka nanamuhla imisebenzi ebalulekile yokuguqula impilo yabantu bakithi, ngoba luselude uhambo okumele luhanjwe.