Mike had three presentations for a large investment group, so while Mike was working Ina took me to the mall and I got a pedicure, after 3 weeks of being in my runners, that felt good. Had some time to enjoy the sunshine and then it was off to the airport to go to Cape Town. We are staying in a Guesthouse here which is essentially a bed and breakfast but with 5 guest rooms. Lovely home and fabulous breakfasts. Cape Town is beautiful, surrounded by gently rolling hills all terraced with vineyards with larger mountains behind, very peaceful landscape even though the country has had it’s share of turmoil. A lot of homes are walled and some with electric wire above that, but you don’t get a feeling of fear. I think it’s all preventative and from earlier days of trouble. Of course you shouldn’t leave anything visible in your car, but that is the same as Vancouver! Having had our own vehicles stolen several times even from our own driveway and the number of break ins lately in our neighbourhood, S. Africa doesn’t seem that different. There are Guinea Fowls roaming wild, palm trees, beautiful flowers and they drive on the opposite side of the road from us. This has given me a few starts as we round a corner and it looks like the cars are coming straight at us until we drive in the left lane and miss them 🙂
Had dinner with Graham Power – the founder of the Global Day of Prayer. He had a vision of people fasting, repenting and praying for their country and in 2001 he managed to rent the biggest stadium here in Cape Town which had never been used for anything else but rugby, ever, to hold a day of prayer. It was such a huge success that the following year they included all the cities in S. Africa via satellite and in 2003 all 28 countries in Africa joined together to pray for the continent. From that the Global Day of Prayer was born and in 2007 they climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to pray from the highest point in Africa (19,340 ft.) joined by other countries doing the same. More recently Graham initiated Unashamedly Ethical, a document stating that businesses will be run ethically and individuals will live their lives this way as well. This too has gone around the world. We are looking at offering the weekly values to those who have signed this as a way to make it practical and ongoing. What an opportunity God has opened for GPS. Graham is a humble and down to earth man, we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. Well I have now tasted ostrich, as well as quail eggs. They also eat a lot of lamb here, love the lamb.
Have started to understand a little of the culture and history. The Dutch landed here 300+ years ago and started developing the area. There were two tribes, the Hottentots and the Bushmen, one tribe lived from the sea and the other in the mountains. They were not black and some still exist today in the mountains. The language that has developed over the years is Afrikaans which sounds a lot like Dutch to me. They also brought in black slaves from the north as well as from Malaysia and Indonesia. Not all were slaves though and this hodgepodge of people from all over lived side by side. Next the English came and they made more rules and finally the Afrikaans decided to move the blacks, coloured and brown people to different neighbourhoods separating them from the whites. These people lost their houses, land, and place in society. Then apartheid was initiated which further excluded people. In 1994 apartheid was abolished and the first ever vote was taken including all people no matter what race they were. As a result of there being 50 million people of colour and only 4 million whites, whites no longer rule in South Africa. There are actually around 11 different political parties with the ANC having won the majority.
The townships are areas where the government built small cinderblock homes for the people that they moved from the white neighbourhoods. They have electricity but the houses are so small and the streets as well that it is a breeding ground for crime. There are also shanties where cardboard and anything that people can find or steal is collected to provide shelter. When the ANC got into power they opened their borders to anyone who wanted to come in from the neighbouring African countries, so many came but without jobs and most without education or money, so these shanties developed. Today there is a growing middle class of blacks, some very wealthy, but the townships and shanties continue to grow as well. This is a very simplified view of a very complicated situation. But there are many people who are making a difference through job placement, counselling, education and things are changing slowly. Hopefully GPS can make it’s way into this society as well and the truth of God’s principles and values will make a difference in the lives of people here in South Africa. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people of all races and so many resources and lots of potential.