NEWS: The Gayathri Peedam temple based in Verulam livestreams prayer activities daily, while Muslims host virtual iftar events to connect with friends, family during lockdown. The national lockdown has resulted in the prohibition of mass gatherings, including religious prayer congregation. With the impact of the lockdown in South Africa limiting movement, religious organisations have innovated their approach to reaching congregants with the means of virtual technology.
Verulam’s Gayathri Peedam Temple virtual prayer meet
The Gayathri Peedam temple based in Verulam, north of Durban is a cornerstone for the development of religious and spiritual practice for many Hindus, with devotees across South Africa and globally.
The religious destination welcomes visitors and students from various spiritual paths to experience a spiritual reboot at the Gayathri Peedam. The Gayathri Peedam venerates the divine ‘Mother Shakti’ as the principal deity and during the lockdown period, the temple has been livestreaming various religious events for their followers on a daily basis on Facebook and Instagram.
‘Peedam’ means ‘seat’. The Gayathri Peedam is regarded as the ‘seat of the mother’ and focuses on worshiping the Divine Mother aspect of God.
Durban Muslims ‘Virtual Iftaar’
However, with advanced technology, many prayers and religious practices have been able to continue in the virtual space. One such prayer is Durban’s “Virtual Iftaar” which is the breaking of fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The chairperson for The South African Muslim Network (SAMNET), Dr. Faizel Suliman, explains how technology has allowed for religious activity to continue virtually,
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Earlier during the onset of the holy fasting month the South African police authorities arrested 41 congregants at two separate religious gatherings in Pretoria and Mpumalanga.