Happy Birthday South Africa

flying SA flag

Happy Birthday South Africa !

 

Today you are 23 years old.    How you have galloped into the future, creating history at a rapid rate.

If Life is a stage let’s take a front seat together and have a look at the South African play before us.

In 1994, though through a crucible, you were born free from the oppression of your previous history.  A history that for all its intents and purposes nevertheless framed you for a better future for all.  A new day had come, a new government, with new policies waited on the horizon of the unknown.  But one thing was sure, it was a delightful day of release, an expectation for some, and a dread for others.  Different worlds had to come together, different histories had to fuse, different cultures had to find a way to live side by side.  A tall order indeed ! – an order without a script to follow.

The honourable Nelson Mandela South Africa’s first president, set the vision in place, one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa.  The dream box was opened, and the dream floated out of injustice and into the potential of a new nation.   Honour and respect were the order of the day.  Even the World at large recognised its significance and regarded its highly prized Constitution.   All was well, and Nelson Mandela graciously stepped aside for the next president to continue the legacy, and forge the future.

The honourable Thabi Mbeki South Africa’s second president was a man of vision too. Perhaps a little short in statue, but certainly long in vision.  He saw the African Renaissance, not only a re-birth of a nation, but also of the African continent.  His vision was the faint rumble of a new African-ism emerging.  Whatever that entails and holds the future, in time, will tell.
Seemingly South Africa was just exiting racism,  was another ism coming ?   And who will be waiting in the wings of the World’s stage to influence, manipulate, access and conquer the people, and its resources,  of this new nation on the southern tip of Africa.

Before the uncertain future cleared there was an interruption, and a new president pushed and jumped onto the stage for a part in the Play, and for a big slice of the wealth cake !

Mr Jacob Zuma the third president of South Africa, was by all accounts not a man of vision.  Although jovial and charming, was for a time  just the face for the ruling party.   Leaders, good or bad, are important.  Ordinary citizens like to look up at their leaders and feel secure, some even idolizing them,  especially so in Africa.  Mr Zuma swayed many with his charm, and then exhibited extreme cunning at staying in the power seat. He may well  have just succumbed, to the irresistible call for greed, always knocking at the door of power.
I suspect, however, that being exposed to the global stage, and the greater forces in the power-play arena Mr Zuma was influenced by the dark agendas and concealed plans and visions of the greedy power mongers in a world of economics, politics and power.

Not only had the dream box released the potential of a new nation, but along with it came out the vile of politics, power-play and corruption.   And although severely distasteful,  I dare say necessary, for we all at some stage, have to have the courage to take a good long look at ourselves – face to face, to see the good and the bad that lingers in all of us, whether on a personal  – or national  level !

I don’t doubt that time will tell Mr Zuma’s story in more detail.   Perhaps his best contribution to the South African story is that, by default, he exposed the resilience of the South Africa society, and its fervent need for true justice, and its ongoing striving for honour and integrity in its leaders, and in its people.
The South African Constitution Court bears clear evidence of this, and has proved to be a strong foundation-stone of this new democracy.

South Africa you have thrived on exciting and exhilarating politics these past 23 years, as the ghosts of the past have come out of your closet., and as new and entertaining players have taken to the stage with their own particular agendas, brands and personalities.

And then there is the unseen , unheralded band of caring prayer warriors who have kept the nation close to the heart of God, and under His wings South Africa has stood the test of fiery trials of corruption… and of state capture!   Keeping vicious wolves at bay !!
So a caring, colourful and vibrant nation indeed you are South Africa.

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But I would go as far as to say that South Africans have,  these past eight years been over politicised, and have overdosed on politics !   Is it because there has been a leadership vacuum ?  And of late just crisis management badly managed, halting economic development and resulting in the prospect of more poverty for the poorest in the nation.
Because of this you certainly have been stunted in your nation building, and the actual release of that people potential waiting to capture a future of progress and prosperity, for all.

For now, you are a nation on hold so to speak !  But time moves on, and the tide of politics will change, then a new day will break.   When you revert to the original plan of one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa,  then that indeed will be a time to celebrate a true freedom –  and a good future together as one.

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Happy Birthday.  May God continue to bless you as a light to the nations, and in this present world of political, economic and social turmoil.

Happy Freedom Day !

Butterfly SA


Care Africa

Green Africa map

Life is made up of small things.
Everything you do matters.

Africa is a big continent.  It is a block of land that captures you.  Whether you are in the north or in the south of it it will lay claim to a corner of your heart.   I have heard of South Africans who leave Africa for more appealing shores, but often, very often have the yearning to come home again.   Its challenges, its diversities and its humanities, is like a magnet that draws all kinds of human emotions from the heart that has at its roots the most scary and at the same time the most amazing appeal.   Or perhaps, for me, its just home.
Famous words of Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa : “I am an African”
brings with it many connotations, because Africa has many connotations – anybody can be anybody in Africa.  Its diversity creates space for this, yet it also creates fragmentation, for diversity does not necessarily mean unity.   The trick is to bring diversity into a patchwork for unity.   I am not an African.  But I am a South African.  A white South African, does that make me an African ?

Nevertheless, Africa is a place for expression.  Africa will find you out !  There is room for everyone, for every kind under the sun in Africa – the good, the very good, the bad and the very bad, the place where humanity is at war with itself, and mirrors that for the world to see and to watch.

Love it or hate it Africa is the place that calls for attention.  And at the same time offers opportunity to express that humanity one way or another.

Many years ago now, I came across MAF and signed up for their newsletter.  What is MAF ?
An extract from their 2015 Annual  Report sums it up consicely .
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is an international Christian organisation bringing help and hope to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world….
We work with hundred of missions, churches, local groups, relief & development organisations and national government agencies.   Together we deliver practical medical and spiritual care in places with the deepest human needs ” – Prof. Polla Roux.

Furthermore to this is a very brief snippet of its history, supplied by the MAF office in South Africa:
In 1945 Murray Kendon, a New Zealander flying with the RAF Coastal Command during World War 2, wondered if the power and versatility of aircraft would only be used for conflict and carnage.   After realizing this dream was indeed God-given, he accepted the challenge and Mission Aviation Fellowship was born.
In 1970 David and Beryl Luke developed the MAF SA programme in the Transkei and it then moved to Johannesburg in the late ’70s.   In 2011 MAF saw the need to develop a programme in South Africa and the Flying for Life project was developed.
We currently work in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, taking in missionaries, churches, medical professionals and other organisations to help sustainably uplift the community.
Looking ahead, we are wanting to expand our eye doctor clinic to an additional hospital,
and extend into other provinces in South Africa. “

 

Care Africa Purple Bags
The Care Africa project is a small random project that encourages people to “grow a garden in your yard,  grow a garden in your heart”,  and encourages growing vegetables for food, and reading the Bible for growing the soul.   Both very necessary for human growth and sustainability – social development in an wholistic sense.
Recently I met up with Maxine Holman from MAFSA, and could give her two care bags to grow the concept of Care Africa.
Big or little deeds of kindness, whether a Flying Mission or a packet of spinach seeds, can make a difference in Africa.

I reckon poverty’s first priority is to combat hunger, and the growing of vegetables whether in a car tyre, an individual yard, or a community garden, will go a long way to addressing hunger, so prevalent in Africa today.  

In today’s shaky economic climate it makes sense to save cents by growing your own vegetable garden  – and together with reading the Word of God everyday you will begin to create a healthy, survival, sustainable and a good life.

Life is made up of small things.   What you do matters.

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Grow a garden in your yard,  Grow a garden in your heart,  and so join the Care Africa project.
 Start today, and let CareSA know how your gardens grow.   Grow well, eat well, share well
Happy gardening !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A ROOFTOP GARDEN IN DURBAN

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Imagine that !  A rooftop garden in the heart of Durban.
And I thought that Durban needed to be among the cities of the world that did splendid things with and for their environment, because with its lush green living Durban has the potential to become known as a garden city !

I had been so inspired by a Blog I found at
https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/rising-with-community-gardens-three-cities/   whose photography gave a glimpse into the urban gardens of Canada, growing vegetables for those in need in their cities. Particularly striking for me was the writing of Jane Jacobs, written on a wall in the city, which read :
“Cities have the capacity of providing something for everybody, only because and only when they are created by everyone.”

Then I discovered the website of the city gardens in Oranjezicht in Cape Town, – you can visit their website at  www.ozcf.co.za/gallery/    – that just fuelled the idea that Durban too can be counted among the “great garden cities”  I even dropped a hint to the chairlady of the garden club to start a combined project to make this happen !   Only to find now that Durban had a secret gem right in the centre of the city – a very unique roof top garden.  Cape Town, Vancouvor eat your hearts out !

When the COP 17 Conference  (a world conference on climate change) was held in South Africa, Durban put its best foot forward to showcase its “green creativity”.  One of the City’s projects was a Priority Zone that showed off a rooftop vegetable garden.

Recently the Durban North Garden Club – (this year celebrating their 60th anniversary as a garden club – congratulations, a remarkable milestone !) – paid the Rooftop Garden a visit and was given a guided tour by Sylvia Burger, the garden keeper, whose love for Durban and the garden shone through every pathway that she strolled us through.

Here are a few photos I took to spread environmental care, through community gardening.

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IMG_5740                                      Irrigated vegetable mini tunnels.

IMG_5741                               A section of minni tunnels, with solar panel                                                                              in the background.    

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Using old tyres for container gardening.                                                                                  Garden seats made from old tyres.

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Plants growing in plastic cooldrink bottles
suspended by nylon thread.

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Even an old shoe keeping in step with recycling !

The whole  Rooftop Garden is nature friendly, with re-cycle, re-use, reduce and re-store a strong theme repeated throughout the garden – so wholesome !
They even have a worm project for compost-making, and harvest any water-overflow from downpipes.

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A beautiful Rhino crafted in wire and beads, stands large and proud,  to welcome all visitors, local and international.  It stands there boldly to remind us to care about conservation, to save the Rhino, – and as a salute to African Craft.

Well done Durban.  But this new discovery I have just made of the Rooftop Garden does not, of course, mean that a new Durban community garden project should not be pursued and emulated.  But we will have to wait and see if the seeds that are presently being scattered will find good soil to grow and flourish in to create  more community gardens, whether they be flower gardens, sustainable-living veggie gardens, suburb or township gardens, to help turn Durban into one of the garden cities of the world !

People Who Care

I have just spent the last two days in the sea of humanity.  It was rather intense, youthful, noisy, to the extent of being loud, colourful, fashionable statements with trendy “weaves” of the young aspiring women.  There was a sprinkle of White, Coloured and Indian Diversity, all draped in care and laced with humility –  all very vibrant, like only South Africans can be.   It was a privilege to be part of this event,  KWNCSOC – the Kwa Zulu Natal Civil Society Organisation Coalition safely birthed after a two and a half year interim period of formation.

The KWNCSOC is a network that draws the caring  society of Kwa Zulu Natal together in a coailtion  e.g the Non Profit Organisations, and others in Mercy Ministries who work  to bring some relief to poor and broken communities.  These are the caring angels of the peoples, the unsung passionate heroes of our societies, and, not duly recognised, as the semi invisible arm of the social development work of the government.
What made this event, so vibrant was the percentage of young adults that attended the occasion.  I sensed such a passion (and maybe it came from a place of survival !) yet there was an underlying caution, an alertness, a community intelligence, not to be drawn in and swayed by the flavours of the day. Present too were the donors of projects, and social drivers, all necessary for progress ? – or exploitations for other agendas ? But such is the way of politics.  But their polite caution, the listening ear, the hearing heart gave me a hope, for I do believe it is people and not  finance that will make the biggest difference to South Africa’s future.

Durban’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.

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The conference came together in a community hall situated at the entrance of the beautiful Durban Botanical Gardens – which I call the Green Cathedral. It is made magnificent with its three hundred year old tress planted in a vastness of green, with lawns and flowers and shrubs of every kind.  It is worth a visit, to linger and to soak up its splendour!  It is one of my most favourite places to be.

The organisers of the conference, the Democracy Development Program,  had arranged the chairs in little circles of five, where intense discussion could take place, where identities were revealed, hearts could be shared, and dreams could be told.
I listened, and heard mainly of the obstacles toward progress, but then also the aspirations and longing for a better life and a better future.

The Care Africa Movement.

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  A Care Garden envelope of spinach seeds to grow food in your yard for a promise from  you to read the Word of God to grow food for your soul.  

I, too could  share my dreams of a Care Africa Movement, where there are Care Gardens in the hearts of people, and a vegetable garden in their yards.   Hunger – or more positively Food Production is the pivotal place of poverty alleviation, it can also be a starting point for social development and entrepreneurship in Africa.  I shared my dream and gave a few seed envelopes to those who would receive them, and hope that they will join the movement, and send me photos of their gardens, to put on my blog for you to see.
Growth is a learning process whether you are growing your soul, or growing your food.
But basically, on different levels, it is the same.  There is the soil, (the heart) and then there is the seed  (the Word of God) that is sown.  Necessary is the nurturing, the watering, the weeding, and good nutrition (teaching) for good results.   After many months (or years) comes the harvest, the product, the bearing of fruit –  (or the character !)   Good seed will produce good results.  Finally comes the joy of achievement, and the sharing of what is good, the tasting of what is good, and the knowing  that God is good !

May the Care Africa Movement be a growing process for those who join in, and bear good results, for the soul, and for food for poverty alleviation.   Plant your Care gardens today – and make a difference in your life and in your community – and email me a photo to share with other.

Eat well,   Grow well,  Share well.

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CARESA CHRONICLES

I am so glad I finally got it – my Chukkit Bukkitt.  Recycling now – doing my bit for the planet.

It happened immediately, when I went with Billy to the Farmers Co-operative Store.   I was told to get up early, so that we could catch the glow of the early morning as we drove the 40 odd kilometers to Umhlali.  There is something special about early morning, you get to see all the “early birds”  –  I’m not one of them.   There was a stream of cyclists riding back from their trip into the rural area.  Runners, probably training for the famous Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.  Three or four early morning fishermen who had cast their lines on the Ballito Bay beach – we could see them as the road takes a bend and the beach comes into view.  I also noticed two huge vegetable growing enterprises, one on the slopes of a small hill, and one near Umhlali where row upon row of veggies stretched across the bow of the hill.  What a sight to excite my heart so early in the morning.  Then the little bushes of “curry cosmos” as I call them, brightening up the roadside.  The sky was blue, and the green rolling hills of the Natal sugar cane fields stretched for miles.  It was indeed a beautiful morning, in a beautiful place.  When we finally arrived at the Farmers Co-op my eye immediately spotted the Chukkit Bukkitt –  and I made it mine. !

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The Chukkit Bukkit is a new novelty from the Store.  It is a compost maker, using all the kitchen waste to turn into a fertilizing liquid for my vegetable patch.  Our household is still old school, where we buy vegetables, peel them, cook them and then eat them. Maybe old-fashioned by today’s trends, but there you have it.   However, it means I now get to make good compost for my Care Garden – which forms part of my Care Africa Movement project.  Speaking of vegetables, if you have the time please visit this website  www.goandproclaim.co.za  and view the wonderful vegetables growing through the God’s Greenhouse initiative in the Eastern Cape.  This initiative wants to empower Churches and individuals to grow food for themselves and the Poor and Needy folk in their communities.
May there be many more such initiatives following this example in South Africa, indeed in Africa too.  I believe food sufficiency is the pivotal place of social development.   May the Church lead the way.  The Church is in a sense God’s Greenhouse for the soul, why not for food provision too.?

The secret to growing good healthy vegetables is in the soil.  So composting is essential !
Yay then for my Chukkit Bukkitt !  God has provided all we need through the rich mineral deposits of the soil.  However sometimes the soil needs to be replenished by organic compost.  Our bodies are composed of minerals and vitamins that we get from the food we eat, so our food needs to be grown in rich organic soil.  Makes sense.

Growing vegetables is not always an instant success story.  It is only the beginning of getting to know the science of the soil, plants, water, sunshine and then there are the pests… that are beginning to chow on my newly planted tomatoes !  Thank goodness for Google !   But it is amazingly good to be in the garden, beside my growing spinach, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes and basil.  To make it a little easier to get to my herbs I put a few small pots of parsley and green peppers on a pretty stand outside my kitchen door.  Care gardens don’t have to be big with acres and acres of vegetables – nice if you can do that, and for community gardens, but a Care Garden can be growing vegetables in a container.

Why not join me in my Care Africa Movement project, by growing  some vegetables for yourself – and to share with your neighbours.  Take a photo of yourself in your garden and email it to me, with your name and the region and country you live in.   Also add your favourite Bible verse.  Perhaps we can create a photo blog for Care Africa. Plant some seeds in your soil,  Plant some seeds in your soul by reading God’s Word everyday, – and watch how your gardens grow !   Do your bit for the planet recycle where and when you can, and grow your very own special Care Gardens.    Happy gardening !

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For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth
before all the nations.                 Isaiah 61:11   

FREEDOM DAY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOUTH AFRICA!

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Today is Freedom Day in South Africa.  It is a public holiday to remind us that twenty one years ago the cloak of Oppression was lifted when all South Africans freely went to the political polls to vote for a new government to rule the country and its peoples. Twenty one years is a short period of time when one thinks in terms of nations.  Liken that to a person, and one can understand that the new South Africa has a long way to go in becoming a full mature, functional and prosperous nation.  At twenty one who isn’t still wet behind the ears, coming through the troubling teenage years with all its rebelliousness, rejections, broken promises and looking to find true identity and purpose. It is not easy, even for the best of us !  The distressing recent xenophobia displays, and rapid peace interventions are perhaps a sign on a maturing process taking place….a getting to know thyself of sorts.  Happy birthday South Africa, may the next 21 years find you firmly engaged in building and planting prosperity and peace on the African continent.

And don’t forget to plant your Care Gardens for the Care Africa Movement project.
Plant some seeds in your yard, for food, and Plant a garden in your heart by reading the Bible every day to feed your soul. Send me a photo with your name or project’s name and help me build a photo blog with your Care Garden on it.

Freedom is not cheap, and Oppression comes in huge forms. Vividly seen from the TV news are evident results of oppressive leaders and governments who are hell bent on holding onto power, position and wealth, in spite of great cost to their own people.  War, mass protest marches, mass migration from nation to nation seems to be a sign that Oppression rules almost everywhere in our Global Village.

But Oppression also comes in subtle forms, often nestles in the soul, and in the family where it is not so easy to detect, yet the outward reaction tells the tale.  And when you think about it, is the soul not the place where the darkness can grow until it reaches  monsterous proportions.?  Eventually it vents itself into further Oppression causing  the cycle of death, demise destruction – creating dark and dingy prisons of sadness, shame, sorrow and mourning –  resulting in the captive soul – and a loss of liberty.  Oppression causes this to happen on the soul, family, national and global level, as history has shown us.   And peace is far off !

The Bible speaks of setting the captives free.  Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 are Bible pieces that depict the human condition.  It brings with it hope to those who are oppressed, depressed and suppressed.  Those who  battle depressions, afflictions and addictions – seekers for peace, but also for those who are the peace-bringers .

       … To preach good tidings to the poor,
            He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
            To proclaim liberty  to the captives,
            And recovery of sight to the blind,
           To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
           To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

This is a song for freedom, true freedom, that transcends any tyrant or political system or person, or addiction that can hold us captive.  Its the song of salvation that Jesus Christ sings over us… for He came to set the captives free.  The real day of freedom is the day of salvation, the day of second chances and new beginnings, a freedom that is well worth celebrating.            

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A FOCUS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT

A Focus on Entrepreneurial Development
Common sense begs us to have a road map when we embark on a journey.  The future is a path we all must tread.  To read some insights and signposts along the way may be helpful for the journey. With our world, under a financial cloud, which can reveal our insecurities and traditions of old, we need to realize that the world is in a state of flux. Change is inevitable and is happening! Steve Rose on his blog has written an excellent article called The Transition to Entrepreneurial  Life , from a philosophical and new millennium point of view. He highlights, what he calls, Modern Liberalism in which moral and traditional boundaries have been moved.  This poses serious new challenges both on our moral and financial frontiers. Change is happening!  What would he say, I wonder, about South Africa, if he understood its extreme complexities.   His blog deserves a read for it is food for thought, as we focus on Entrepreneurship, and the future.    steverroseblog[dot]com

I have written a simple article on Entrepreneurship, which introduces CareSA Designs, my entrepreneur enterprise to this subject.  See some of the CareSA Designs below.

Click  on    https://caresafoundation.wordpress.com/caresa-designs/  to view more of my designs.  I would appreciate your comments on these.

At a meeting, called for by Soul Action and Crossroads in Durban, we focused on Entrepreneurial Development.  Some of the complexities that arose, as experienced by some of the Project Leaders who work deep in the Kwa Zulu Natal rural community are :  Cultural traditions.  Communities shackled by a poverty mindset.  Hindering jealousies at signs of progress.  No self-contribution required resulting in lack of ownership of  projects. The different tiers of economic development, and world views.  For there are many “worlds” in this world we call South Africa. These were only some of the topics.

As South Africans we have a tendency to focus on our overwhelming problems. Take the problems and find the solutions” – were words spoken by a global entrepreneur. We may need new approaches, innovations and community creativity to solve our problems. In a world of change there is one constant, the Word of God, the Bible. We will leave an indefinable injustice behind if we do not take the Word of God with us into Social Development. For within its pages lie the sustainability of faith hope love and everything else in between, for the renewing of the mind and for a good future. The Bible is the road map for all ages … no matter how much change happens!

It may take courage to move into the trend of entrepreneurship and the fickle waters of finance.  But if wholeness, social and human development remain the focus, the tug and pull of wealth-creation may just drag poverty into progress. When we leave our “Egypt”  to possess our “promised land” the journey will be hard and long.  Above it all we must remember to give God the glory for His goodness, for it is He who gives power to get wealth.

Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18