Two weeks ago my colleagues and I arrived to an extremely cold South Africa. The first night was extremely cold since there were no heaters and five degrees. Now that day feels like three years ago… So far it has been a church-backpacking journey. Since we left Jo-burg we´ve slept in 8 beds in 10 days and we´ve done extremely much. And according to our schedule we will be traveling around much more.
The first days in Jo-burg were quite chill, workshops during the day with intelligent people from ELCSA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa), soft evenings and one day in Soweto (a part of Jo-burg where it lives 1.3 Millions and where Mandela lived). Then two Thursdays ago the real adventure began. After an extremely long traveling day we arrived to a small village called Jane Furse in southeastern Limpopo. I don´t have any statistics but I can imagine that we were the first Swedes there since it was very much at the countryside and we were treated like Justin Bieber or Jay-Z.
The welcome in Jane Furse was amazing and beautiful, the song the youths sang there is by far the most powerful I’ve ever experienced and during that welcome it was so marvellous. After the welcoming there have been activities with the youngsters almost 24/7, dancing, singing, playing, praying and meeting to summarise it. The church is everything for many people here and they really love it.
After the first hectic six days we had another very long travelling day to the township of Middelburg in Mpumalanga. We have been around there much as well, but with more focus on history, meeting elderly people and interviews. Also we held a confirmation class on Friday and it was really beautiful to see how you can do the same thing at the other side of the world with the same result of creative, love and wisdom from young people. This weekend we have been in the city of Nelspruit on a “church rally” which includes song, music, song, music, song, a little prayer and then more song. I thought it was impossible for me to get tired on church music but yesterday evening I was extremely tired after singing from 10.00 to 22.00… But the service today was amazing with 4 bishops, 19 pastors and 800 people. Now I am on my way back to Middelburg. Next week we´ll be going to another place in Limpopo and also Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
It has been an intense journey so far with many thoughts and gathering of knowledge. In Jane Furse we were the only whites and it has almost been the same in Middelburg. Therefore people have trade us like gods. I would guess that we´ve been in about 1000 photos, people tell us that we´re blessings from god and people we don´t even know the name of says that we are the best thing that ever happened to them. There´s nothing more beautiful than giving people joy in life but I wonder how the treatment would´ve been if we not were white…
The thing that has upset me most so far is the gender equality here. At almost every meal there are only men eating with us while the women makes the food and all the dishes afterwards. Only the statement that I can cook makes people laugh. And the only time we got food made by a man, another person said that he´s not a real African man. It frustrates me extremely much but I also become proud over how it´s in Sweden. Hopefully I can affect some people to be aware over how much better life can be for all parts with an equal society.
I´ve only summarised little of all the many things we´re doing, hopefully I will be able to tell more about this intense and exciting journey. Even if there are many things that I see as bad, there are mostly beautiful things and I kind of living the dream, new perspectives, new relations and love. The beauty of life according to me and I receive all of that in huge amounts every single minute here. The only hard thing is the lack of Internet and possibility to watch HIF… Except that, I am high on life. I hope that your new semester is fantastic, that you met lots of new friends and have it generally fantastic.
Bye, love and greetings.
/August, or my new name, Ngwato Madihlaba and also greetings from Julian, or Hlabirwa
I take the opportunity to spam the blogg with some photos…
Me, Julian, the local king of the area around Jane Furse with two of his four wifes. Me and Julian are now his sons in law and our new surname Madihlaba is named after his house.
This two cuties lived side by side with the confirmands. I remember that we had two chickens at Stiftsgården some years ago, the only different is that the chickens were in a cage.
Me and the fantastic youngsters from Jane Furse. Love.
This picture describe our staying very well. Photos, photos and photos.
Me and Julian in Polokwane watching Kaizer Chiefs – Supersport United