Today a team from Carte Blanche came out to film the story of our move here. We were excited about the great opportunity to tell the story of the poor and to share our ideas about transforming the city and nation. They interviewed Nigel, Hannah and me. Tomorrow they will be filming us in all sorts of different places around our block of flats and also on the streets and in the shopping areas. Then at night time they will be coming with us as we hand out blankets to the poor around our neighbourhood.
Chantal Rutter Dros interviewing Hannah
When my friend, Paul Nicols handed me this book and told me that it had challenged him to the core, I had no idea what a journey the book would start in me. It has been revolutionary to say the least and is probably the book I would recommend you read first, apart from the bible, if you are serious about putting into practice what Jesus really said...
You can buy it on Amazon here
"Ghandi was one person, Martin Luthur King was one person, Mother Teresa was one person, why can't you be one person who helps?" 8 year old Vivienne Harr, who has raised over $ 30,000 to combat human traficking.
Read the story here...
On the 10th May 1994, when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa. In his speech he encouraged the nation as follows...
"Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all."
"We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.
We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity--a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world."
"We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign."
A luta Continua (the struggle continues)
In the kid's play downstairs this afternoon: 3 kids are playing on skateboards, there are bats and balls being passed around, the girls have abducted a very pap foot ball to play netball with, and 12 year old Brian is training 6 soccer players in fitness and soccer skills using bricks and coke bottles to dribble another ball between! Love the way kids entertain themselves! And they clearly love being together!
At the end of this very busy week, I have been reflecting about the events I have encountered and that have been on the news recently. Leading this nationally, is of course the tragic Lonmin mining massacre. Locally, in Hillbrow this week I learned of 5 more deaths including two police officers, a man who was shot by people who wanted to occupy his bedroom and 2 more homeless people who died of the cold. I again heard several accounts of police brutality towards the poor and homeless. Blankets were also taken away from the homeless on the streets for the third time in two weeks.
Our very human response to all of this is to ask the question: "Who is to blame?" We want someone to take responsibility and be held accountable.
Could it be ... that we are all to blame? We are all at fault because we have neglected our duty to create a society that places high value on all people. We have pursued personal gain at the expense of others' human dignity. We have lost sight of the dream for national reconciliation and healing and of a non racial, democratic South Africa. We have allowed workers to be exploited, earning wages which are not enough to live on. We have allowed the police to develop a culture of violence through our inaction. We have not been active citizens in helping establish justice and peace in our land. If anyone is to blame, let it start with me. I am going to take responsibility for this mess. I want to be held accountable to stop the tide... Will you join me?
This video helped us at the beginning of our journey, challenging us to the core...
This video helped cement things in our hearts about the kind of Christianity we wanted to lead.
Today I took 5 girls from the block (together with Hannah and Rachel) to the free art class on a Saturday at the Joburg Central Library from 9.30 to 12.30am. So meaningful to know that we made a difference to their weekend, and that they really enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with art. Look forward to doing this many more times into the future!
Meantime the rest of us hosted a delightful Canadian couple (who also stayed the night), starting with a search for African dresses in the CBD, and then a bit of a tour of the historical sites around the city. Lots of fun! And so inspired by all that African print fabric - makes me want to go straight to my sewing machine...!
Pigeons at the Pigeon Memorial witnessing a new friendship!
So yesterday at the Hillbrow Music School, 9 year old Rachel Lee Branken started learning the ... violin!! Surprise, surprise! I asked her why she had chosen that instrument since we had decided together that she would start the recorder with a view to changing to flute later on...she said she just woke up one morning and wanted to learn it!
Nothing to do with the absolutely virtuosic little 8 year olds she heard a few weeks back, each playing a movement from a violin concerto from memory in that inter-schools concert we went to, I hope!