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Here we are at the airport. The Gcaba family and – may be some more – are with us at King Shaka airport in Durban. This how we look – and this is the last post in blog. I hope you have enjoyed to be with us the last 2 and a half week.
She is the one and only, staying for 35 years in the partnership relations between the nowadays Lutheran circuits Bramsche, Durban, Melle-Georgsmarienhuette, Pirna, Umngeni and Umvoti. She is a retired teacher, she is home at Ntuzuma parish. And she is a good friend of Elke and me. Readers who know the roots of this partnership, should know: Yes, she is it, Beauty Msomi! Yesterday we had the morning hours together in her home in Ntuzuma. For me this is a special place as I have been here the very first time in 1980 with that-time youth exchange programme.
Beauty, Elke and I went through all these years remembering the good and sad times, moments of glory and moments of sorrow. We commemorated those one who died like her husband Edward, Dean and Bishop Thomas Mbuli, Rev. Bhengu and much more women and men who had been part of the development of the partnership relations.
Beauty is retired years ago, but she is still very active to serve to her church and to the community in Ntuzuma. Mainly this is done by running a kindergarten on her own risk without public support, only he parents are paying for the food, the children are getting the day over. But now the kindergarten has got the government’s certification, so there’s hope for some supportive money.
And we were surprised by the children of the kindergarten singing Nkosi sikaleli Africa, the National Anthem of South Africa: May our God bless (South) Africa!
If you like to pronounce the names in the headline correctly, please put in a sharp kiss instead of the “c”! Gcina Mhlope is a worldwide known and highly respected storyteller, acttress and director of theaters in Africa, Europe and the Americas. I have the pleasure to know her since 1988, when I accompanied her and the actress Thembi Mtshali in pars of her first tour to Germany. T has been a great joy to meet he for the first time in South Africa and to spend an hour of chatting together with her and Elke. Most reportable is the fact that Gcina is very active in many ways to help the South African society in looking forward by highlighting the today’s heroes in addition to those ones of the past.
In the afternoon Elke and I had a boat tour in the harbour of Durban, which has been a 20 years old wish. When we had been here in 1996, no offers were given for something like this.
Finally we have been invited to the new home of Ncami MaDlamini and her husband Bongani in Imbilo, 15 km away from the city of Durban: A house with lots of stairways and on top a pool with a wonderful view over the South-Western town towards the coastline. They invited us for a supper in one of the restaurant at the harbour – what a joy and lot of fun!
More than 10 times I had worshipped in St. Boniface before, the main congregation of Christianenburg parish. Even with a theatre play I have been there together with some youth in 1996. Coming to the church on Sunday, I say a lot of improvements like coloured tiles with a glossy surface, loudspeakers with wireless microphones, a notebook computer projecting the gospel, song texts and much more information via a beamer on a hugh screenbord – and an air condition system to cool down the air. Four ordained pastors celebrated the service: the retired pastor, the acting Rev. Sithole, the retired Bishop of the Eastern Diocese and a female guest pastor. Rhosta Gcaba wrote shorten translations of the sermon for Elke and me.
Towards the end of the service with a length of “only” one and a half hours, I got the opportunity to convey greeting from our home parish Bad Essen and to read the letter with an invitation to send three delegates of the parish to Bad Essen to have the Easter time together in 2017. Thereafter, I handed over the letter to Rev. Sithole. In his reply Rev. Sithole expressed the joy of the parish about this invitation.
For the late afternoon, Elke, Rhosta and I have been invited to be guests in the home Robin Ramiah in the Chatsworth parish. Robin had been a delegation member together with two other guests from Chatsworth to the Barkhausen-Rabber parish in 2014. Together with Rev. Chellan and his wife we had a mild, but excellent Indian supper and a lot of talks about the political and church situation in South Africa and Germany. We thank for this nice and informative evening.
This Saturday, first we drove to a village called Hillcrest near Assagay, about 30 km north of Durban. There we met with James Mhongo, who had been a member of a Youth Exchange Program with a youth choir coming to Germany to promote the Bursery Fond of the that times Lutheran circuits Durban and Melle in 1994 Since that time, we kept contact to him.
James showed us the way to some spectacular sights in the Valley of Thousand Hills, which we had never seen before: Hugh rocks from the beginning of our Earth, comparable with the famous rock in the centre of Australia. Thereafter he took us to his new house far out in a wild environment. He and his wife are building since five years and it is already a home with a grandiose view!
For the afternoon Rhosta Gcaba had invited to a “Meet and Greet” to her home with a braai (BBQ) for all guests. We met Beauty Msomi (we’ll visit her next Tuesday), Pastor Sithole plus council members of the Christianenburg parish, Khaya Hlengwa and (later on) MaDlamini and her Husband. A wonderful evening! Thank you, Rhosta.
Inanda ist a part of Durban Metro Munucipality in the North of the city, in a distance of about 25 km. It’s a lively, sometime violent area, as many people for other parts of the province found a first place near Durban in the past, but also today. Inanda is part new township called INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu). Round about 600,000 citizens are living in INK. Inanda is the oldest of the areas, established in the 1900s, KwaMashu was established between 1955 and 1966 and Ntuzuma was built in the 1970s.
In the past an important part of resistance again the political and social injustice and the rasism under the name Apartheid started in the area of Inanda. The tourism office of Durban (www.durbanexperience.co.za) installed the so called Inanda Heritage Route which connects many place of political and cultural heritage. Three of these places Elke and me visited yesterday together with our good friend and host Rhosta Gcaba.
The first place to see was the Phoenix settlement, which “was foundes by Gandhi in 1904 after he visited the Trappist community at Mariannhill and read John Ruskin’s “To This Last”. Phoenix represented a belief in the equality of all labour, the value of manual work and a simple life communal lifestyle. The newspaper INDIAN OPINION was printed at Phoenix until its closure in 1961. Throughout its long history, Phoenix Settlement has always been at the forefront of struggle for justice, peace and equality. … During the “1985 Inanda Riots” much of the settlement was burnt to the ground, but after 1994 it was carefully reconstructed. Gandhi’s house Sarvodaya, the printing press building (today a community clinic), and the Phoenix Interpretation Centre all form part of the Phoenix Settlement.”* We have been happy to put our feet in the reconstructed home of Mahadma Gandhi, which I had the advantage to see in its original surface when I had been here during my first South-Africa-visit in the year 1980.
Second place to visit on the tour was the Zulu Christian Industrial School, which “was founded by John Dube in 1900. John Dube fundraised in the United States for the school he intended to start in Natal.”* John Dube became the first president of the African National Congress (ANC) later on. The school “produced” a large number of well-known people which became very important for the struggle for freedom and for the change and the empowerment of the majority of people in the 1990s. Highlight on this place was to see the place, where Nelson Mandela voted in the first democratic election in 1994.
The last, but most important visit was to the “Inanda Seminary for Girls, which was the first school of this kind for black girls in southern Africa. Daniel and Lucy Lindley, American Board missionaries based at eNanda, (…) opened the school in 1869. There were 19 students, all of them boarders.”* The most important: Rhosta Gcaba and her older sister Beauty Msomi once studied in this school. So Rhosta was able to give us information first hand: Sad moments and happy moments, moments of success, moments of taking care for others. This made us able to understand the importance of this place for the education of generations of black women.
*Taken from: Durban City Guide: Inanda Heritage Route
Today, we didn’t have a real program. So it looked like a relaxing day in the morning. We had a late breakfast, presented by Rhosta and the Lady, who’s helping in the house. Her name is Nobuhle.
Thereafter, we visited the small and smart Bergtheil Museum in Westville nearby. The exhibition tells the story of the first settlers from Germany coming to the area of Port Natal (Durban) around the year 1850. The very interesting fact is, that those settlers came mainly from the villages east and south of Osnabrueck, but also from Osnabrueck town, Bramsche, Engter and Voerden. It had been poor people, who did not find work in a changing world, when steam-driven machines took over, e.g. in the weaver factories of Bramsche. Those settlers found Rev. Posselt (from Berlin Mission) and his wife Christiane, when they arrived. They asked him to be their pastor. But he said, that he would only do this if he got allowance to do mission work with the Zulu people. Out of this Mission work, two years later, in 1852 the Christianenburg Parish was established, the first Lutheran parish of the Zulu. The evangelical Lutheran Christianenburg parish is the Partner parish of Bad Essen parish since 1986.
We continued with some shopping – and met Mr. Khumalo coincidentally, the chairman of the Durban circuit partnership committee and the co-ordinating partnership committee of Durban and Umngeni circuits. We spoke about the coming delegation of the Lutheran circuit Durban, Umngeni, Umvoti and Umfolozi, which is awaited in the circuits of Osnabrueck region in May this year.
At 5 p.m., James Hlongwa stepped in and invited Elke and me to visit him and his family in his new home near Hillcrest at Saturday. It will be a big joy to meet them, as we now James since 1994.
In the evening Elke was the chief cook in the kitchen. Together with Fikhile and Nobuhle she prepared pasta with sauce Bolognese and a carrot-apple salad. Loveley!
Being with the Gcaba family means: to be at home. Such a long story of partnership and private friendship is binding together Elke, my late mother Dorothea and me to the Gcaba’s with all their family members including the helpers in their home.
This morning we had the pleasure to put our feet to the catholic cathedral in Durban (see head photo), which has been the “home” of Bishop Denis Hurley, one of the most important church based fighters against Apartheid in the past of this country.
Thereafter, Rhosta Gcaba had organized a tour through the new “Denis Hurley Centre”. We got information about the social work which is done there: for homeless people, for people addicted to drugs and alcohol, for refugees, for women (e.g. sawing club) and many more. Thanks to the social workers and other stuff members to explain in a very friendly way. Very impressive to hear was the on-going works for reconciliation of the different groups of the South African society and the work to remember the fathers and mother of a free country like Mahadma Ghandi and Albert Luthuli, both standing for a peaceful change and human rights. Move on, South Africa, the country we love!
For those who know the house and garden of the garden of the Gcaba’s: here are some news (click on the photos to get a full-sized version)
A well-organized garden. Flower are between the veges to protect from insects…
The last day with the Hlengwa family: First we had a look the church of the Ekuthokozeni–congregation (Durban-South parish). This only some years old building is in the progress to be extended by several rooms for the pastors and service-helpers, for the Sunday school and confirmation class and for the congregation council plus some toilets. Everything is looking very practical and well planned. Khaya and Zama are leading the congregation and they are doing a wonderful job!
After the visit to the church, we picked up the young “men” of the family (Simi and Asha) to drive to the crocodile world south of Amanzimtoti. Having picnic-lunch under the trees, observed by a lot of monkeys was a special experience, the same like seeing the 4 forms of African and American crocodiles, many bird and finally snakes (not an amusement for everybody but for the boys).
Then we had to drive home to Umlazi, just to have a tearful God Bye to the family…
Shortly after 6 p.m. we arrived at MamaGcabas home in Westville: A big welcome and many hollos by the family members made us feeling home again in the well-known place. More about the first day you’ll find in the next re