Saturday, September 29, 2012

Good News in Paul Roux

Paul Roux is a small Free State town that was established in 1909 by Dutch Reformed dominee Paul Roux on the farm Palmietfontein. According to local legend there was dispute as to the name of the new town, with the decision being reached by the roll of a boulder from the koppie above the town. The boulder landed face up displaying the name of the town as we encountered it today.

We have often driven past this Free State dorp without much thought. But today curiosity got the better of us and we decided to turn off the N5 and explore it.

Having driven down the main road (in this case 'up the road'), around the Dutch Reformed Church, and past the undertakers, we found the Pink Tricycle coffee shop. Take it from me - this is a good spot to stop! Its delightful owner hails from George, and bragged that she is "the only Coloured in this town". To add to this, she is also married to a local Afrikaans Boer. And if this was not enough of a challenge, he is 38years her senior! She speaks of her contentment with her life. She owns the coffee shop and the adjacent B&B. He owns a shopping centre in Bethlehem. She reassured us that their respective families have survived the shock, that the ooms and tannies of this town love her, and that there is no obstacle in her life that good humour and perseverance cannot solve.

In the midst of so many 'bad news' stories, this one gives me hope. And we will return to visit this place of inspiration.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Presiding Bishops Conference 2012 Address | The Methodist Church of Southern Africa

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa encompasses six countries in southern Africa. The Annual Conference (senior leadership) of the church is meeting in Swaziland. Here is the opening address of the Presiding Bishop of the church:

Presiding Bishops Conference 2012 Address | The Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Monday, September 17, 2012

Graduates jet off to Japan

My daughter is now in Japan - here is a link to an interview with her just before she left:

Graduates jet off to Japan: Amy Grassow, 21, is off to a new life in Japan after being selected as one of 31 postgraduate students to teach English.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dr Khoza Mgojo

I am at the funeral of a great man. Thousands of people have arrived, packing the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in with the colourful black, red and white of the South African Methodist Church.
On arriving at this stadium just outside Port Shepstone we - Peter Storey and myself - joined the queue of cars waiting to enter the grounds. The hearse accompanied by police vehicles swept past us and entered the grounds, where they were engulfed by a police honour guard. After finally getting a parking, we joined the crowd that jostled to get through the security barriers. Clearly there were some serious VIPs here. Glancing through the programme I saw the names of Bishop Siwa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Dr Dandala, and a string of national Methodist leaders (past and present).  His community awards and honours are numerous. But for me, I remember him in my formative years:Khoza Mgojo was my seminary teacher. When I first arrived at the seminary I tried to avoid him.... because he was insisting that I study both Greek and Hebrew. He had gained his PhD from Harvard University in Biblical languages, and could not understand why anyone would try to avoid these languages. When he finally cornered me he threw this question at me :"So you don't want to speak the language of Jesus!". It is thanks to him I now have two years of Greek and a year of Hebrew under my belt. I do not regret this.  So here I am peacefully typing my own tribute on my BlackBerry while tributes are given by family and friends - when we are interrupted by two military helicopters landing on the sports field next to us. Clearly another VIP has arrived ... a "Very VIP" because Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, has just arrived. I watch the procession as it winds its way to the podium, and wonder at the appropriateness of the military weapons displayed by those accompanying him. This has just ceased to be a funeral of a Methodist Minister. I fear that it now becomes an opportunity to gain votes for the forthcoming elections for the leader of the ruling political party. Eish! I think I will leave soon.

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