God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

“The Nex” Theology

The Nex - Blessings ceremony
Blessing Ceremony

People of faith think in religious terms, their whole life makes sense in the light of a belief system giving meaning to what they do and how they see life in general. It does not mean to prescribe this to all involved, but it serves as an explanation for motivation, reflected on a deeper personal level. This is a first draft, a first attempt to reflect on the theological meaning of building a campus in Delft / South Africa.

Theological Consideration – first thoughts…

Normally Catholic priests in South Africa are bound to parish life, leading under the authority of a Bishop the faithful of a prescribed territorial area in prayer, worship and charity for those in need.

Running a foundation during the week and only attending to the spiritual needs on a weekend as a supply priest before retirement is already different and for some not fitting the picture of a priest. Building a campus in a gang and crime ridden area is then certainly not their first priestly task and would be seen as extra-ordinary, rather flamboyant in church terms.

And still, I believe there is merit to look with a theological and pastoral eye exactly on this campus comprising of buildings serving in the following areas: Health, Early Childhood Development, Social Services, Youth, Entrepreneurial Skills Development and Vocational Training. Not to forget community uplifting, understanding of democracy and the value of human life and human dignity.

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
Genesis 1:31

Having worked in the Delft area since more than a decade Delft mirrors all the shortcomings of the new South Africa, it showcases the lost hopes, the cut-short aspirations, the undervalue of life as such, latent racism and not a lot of those living there would on a daily basis and in their daily life agree, that all is “very good”. Churches of different kinds are spread all over Delft and often for some hours they beam those attending gatherings into a different sphere trying to instil hope for the days to come.

Sermons can be a good tool to inspire but I feel that theology and bible are more than source for fiery sermons, theology – the word of God – must trickle down much more than just in words and charity, it must be felt and walked the talk by development and action on the ground. The word of God must be felt in the trenches of daily life experience for those left out here in South Africa after more than 30 years living in the promised land called the New South Africa.

Theology can also not only be confined in the framework of parishes, formation seminars, theological faculties and church structures – it must cover that “God looked over all he had made” – so there should be room for more than church structures allowing the word “catholic” – meaning covering the whole – universal to be put into action.

Theology must also be able to be applied to what we do and how we act – it should be able to make sense and to bring a greater meaning to our action – it is part of a circle of action – interpretation – encouragement and out of this more, different but definitely better or more appropriate action again before the circle starts anew. At the same time there is no need for religion to capture what is done. There will be different motivations, different ethos and different religious affiliation and convictions of those working together on a project like “The Nex”.  There will be different ways to describe God or the reason for creation, there will be different theologies – and if such a project fosters more dialogue amongst those different pictures without becoming a competition there is another ecumenical and inter-religious meaning in what we do. “The Nex” becomes a place where unspoken different religions encounter each other in a practical way for the better good of people. The blessings ceremony for The Nex – Indawo Yethu  gave witness to intention and prayers when a Catholic priest, a Rabbi, an Imam and a Sangoma not only spoke but brought the blessings onto the new venture.

In the Catholic Church we talk about the “option for the poor” – and again here we are: How easy is it, to establish oneself as an NGO in one of the safe areas instead of going there, where it hurts, where things will on a long run not only run smoothly but hurtles will be encountered, failures will happen and the hardship of life will be mirrored and shared within this project as people experience it themselves every day. Walking together and staying together even if it hurts at times is taking the words “all is very good” almost on a prophetic level: we are not in the promised land, but we have made ourselves ready to walk towards it; together and equipped with hope, love and faith, that we can reach our destiny.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?.”
 1 Corinthians 6:19

Spiritually is often connected to meditation and prayer, sometimes fasting exercises which indicate that concentrating on the body is an important part of such exercises. Mindfulness towards body and spirit.
I strongly believe that to a holistic spiritual wellbeing health and attention to the body is non-negotiable. The Nex – Indawo Yethu acknowledges this with the offering of health services, linked to social services and the programme of the “First 1000 days” specifically looking at the wellbeing of a human being in the decisive foundation phase of life.

Health, Wellness – mental health and an environment to thrive is so important especially for children and adolescents. Not forgetting those kids with special needs whose wellbeing will be catered for specifically in the Early Childhood Development Centre of the Campus.

Safety is another aspect of bodily wellbeing. The Nex – Indawo Yethu is situated in an area which is marked currently by violence and gangsterism as well as drug-related problems. It is certainly not a safe area, and it was interesting to see and hear, that in the first community participation meeting we had, the question of safety was raised several times: “Are our kids, our youngsters safe on your campus?” Obviously, this is a challenge and if you want the ugly side of business to admit, that security measures have to play a vital role in planning and executing this project. But ones again: the hope that The Nex – Indawo Yethu can be a turning point in moving into a more peaceful future translates a building into a prophetic sign that change is possible and change in this regard is on the way.

Filed under: Africa, Catholic Church, chaplain, Religion and Ethics, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blessing Ceremony

In Delft, the blessing ceremony for a safe space campus called “The Nex – Indawo Yethu” has taken place yesterday in the presence of Premier (WP) Alan Winde, Minister for Human Settlement (WP) Tertuis Simmers, Executive Mayor from Cape Town Dan Plato, Consul General of Germany Matthias Hansen, religious leaders and various guests and collaborators.

The Nex – Indawo Yethu is a safe space project of HOPE Cape Town (www.hopecapetown.org) and will holistically offer services: health, social services, early childhood development, youth work, afterschool care, vocational dual training, entrepreneurial skills development training for the people within the greater Delft area. This project is in collaboration with the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, the government of the Free state of Bavaria and other NGO’s and institutions.

The blessings were given by a Catholic priest, an Imam, a Rabbi and a Sangoma. Here are some pictures from this event.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Cape Town USA, HOPE Gala Dresden, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Looking for a meaningful contribution to South Africa? Look not further…

VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN A HOLISTIC FRAMEWORK: SAGCCI AND HOPE CAPE TOWN PILOT PROJECT

The Hope Cape Town Trust (HOPE) and the SA – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCCI) have entered into a MoU to create an integrated socioeconomic project in Delft (WP).
Forging partnerships that will yield the best results for the benefit of the Youth of under-resourced areas of Cape Town are key to our strategy. All stakeholders have to work together to maximize the potential of this training program.

SAGCCI has developed programs that complement and supplement curricula so that trainees are exposed to a variety of content and hands-on practices.

By providing additional academic and social support, HOPE Cape Town prepares the Youth who have the potential to succeed in further developing their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Jointly, the SAGCCI and HOPE Cape Town have developed a curriculum revolution by understanding the Youth from under-resourced communities, building humanizing relationships and enabling the trainees to be the innovators in their learning.

HOPE Cape Town undertakes to establish a separate and autonomous training center in Delft.
SAGCCI will provide TETA accredited tuition to trainees while they obtain their practical work experience under the mentorship of specifically accomplished trainers within nearby Logistics companies.

To achieve this within the desired time frame, HOPE Cape Town undertakes to marshal resources from foundations and the business sector. Furthermore, HOPE Cape Town will provide administration, liaison, security and maintenance for the center. The associated operational costs of running the center will also be born by HOPE Cape Town.

Through their CSI strategies and budgets, companies are invited to participate in the transformation of under-developed communities into sustainable communities by way of a multipronged holistic approach with a focus on a variety of available and accessible interventions and services.

HOPE Cape Town is a registered non-profit organization with PBO and a Level 4 BBBEE status.
Hope will provide you with an 18A certificate for contributions and thereby raise your BBBEE scorecard level for a contribution from your Corporate Social Investment budget towards one of the six focus areas that are aligned with your CSI strategy:

  • HIV and Healthcare Services
  • Social and Outreach Assistance
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Youth and Adult Education
  • Dual Vocational Training and Education
  • Skills Development, Entrepreneurship, Micro-Enterprises

This venture creates a win – win situation for all of us. Please discuss the proposal, which was presented at the Back to Work functions of the Chamber in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, with the relevant colleagues in your company.

FOR MORE DETAILED BACKGROUND ON THE PILOT PROJECT PLEASE CONTACT:

Ms Marlene Whitehead
Hope Cape Town
Phone: 021 507 5757

E-mail: marlene.whitehead@hopecapetown.com
info@hopecapetown.com

Thank you and best regards,

Matthias Boddenberg 
Chief  Executive

Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC
P.O. Box 87078, Houghton 2041
47, Oxford Road, Forest Town, 2193
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel. +27 (0)11 486 2775
Fax: +27 (0)866 791 206
mboddenberg@germanchamber.co.za
www.germanchamber.co.za
www.africa-business-guide.de

Filed under: Africa, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cable theft…

It’s the fourth time in a row that thieves have stolen the cable providing electricity to HOPE Cape Town’s container in Blikkiesdorp. Even burying the cable under the soil did not help – Eskom’s efforts to support the community in Blikkiesdorp by providing electricity to the containers have failed again. This in itself is bad news as the uplifting of the community, the computer training, the cooking courses: they all depend on electricity and stealing the cables again and again does harm to those in need.
What is even more regrettable is that those harmed in this way know exactly who are the culpable but out of fear they will never reveal the names or give it to the police.
And with this we are at one of the devil’s circles of South African township societies – it takes long time and lots of courage to break free from all those thugs and criminals terrorizing those vulnerable  and in need of assistance. It is amazing how patient people are in suffering the consequences of crime and violence, up to a breaking point, where they take the law into their own hands and start killing those they want to get rid off. Dead people don’t do revenge!

Blikkiesdorp is not there yet – the stealing of cable and the continues sabotage of the assistance to their disadvantaged lives seems not to trigger such violent reaction yet – and it is understandable: There is no sense for community and belonging in this part of Delft where more than 38 nations are crowded together – some for a longer period of time, others since Sepp Blatter didn’t want to see certain individuals roaming the streets of Cape Town during the Soccer World Cup.

Blikkiesdorp is or should be semi-permanent – all containers and structures should be disappearing – and with it crime and violence in this area – but it seems that the City of Cape Town has other plans – a small park with a braai area for barbecue is now built next to it – a meeting point where people – who hardly can make a living –  should come together and grill their meat in the open. Maybe it works, but maybe there are also chances that this “public park” will be an ideal place for gangs to meet up and do their business at night. The park signals permanence in many ways – and maybe some more hope is again dying that life will become better within life’s time.

Blikkiesdorp is a sore in the eye of everybody who thinks that decent human living should be applied to everybody. It’s a sore in the eye of those who acknowledge what it means to be able to live as a decent human being. But Blikkiesdorp remains a reality and there are so many other “Blikkies” in South Africa that one could lose hope. But HOPE Cape Town remains steadfast in their approach to better the lives of those living there. And even those pulling the cables out at night will not stop this fine organization to deliver as much service as possible to those in dire need for it.

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Violence till murder…

HOPE Cape Town mourns murdered young patient
HOPE Cape Town has joined all South Africans in condemning the senseless murder of a 13-year-old boy in the Western Cape community of Wesbank at the weekend.
The boy, who had been in the care of HOPE Cape Town for many years, was caught in gang related crossfire and died from a bullet wound to the head.
According to spokesperson for the organisation, Mr Fahim Docrat, “We are outraged by this act of violence and are personally affected especially because of the relationship we had with this young man. We have supported him and his family for many years now and were very pleased with his progress and the bright future he had. It is unacceptable that our children are exposed to such violence on a daily basis and is an indictment on our society raising serious concerns. The levels of crime in such communities and the underlying socio-economic factors need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and we call on government for support and intervention and communities to take a stand against crime. This further highlights the dangers our 24 HOPE Community Health Workers face on a daily basis when working in such communities.”
HOPE Cape Town is supporting the family by assisting with funeral arrangements for this weekend.

It was a shocking news last Monday morning that one of our patients died in the cross fire of gang related violence. But it also makes very clear in which environment we are working in. Especially thinking of some of our volunteers who know shootings only from TV and can somehow not realize that people here not stand up again after being shot. Violence is in general quite a problem. Home visits by our staff can often not be made because of the danger for the life and well-being of our employees. Afterschool Care in Manenberg might be interrupted because gang violence prevents kids from even coming to the church grounds.
Violence is not only a topic related to gangs – violence is also part and parcel of almost every toi-toi or demonstration taking place in the country. People being involved in such action tend to forget their medication take in times or even the appointments with clinics and doctors as they fight for better sanitation or more money or whatever is the case. So violence has many faces, but all of them are stumbling blocks for better care, prevention and treatment. Paired with drugs and alcohol the situation only can get worse or ends up in such a violent fight which kills also innocent bystanders like this boy in Wesbank.

Let’s hope that the culprits will be found and brought to justice, but as much as I know the justice system it would be a miracle if that happens in due time and anyhow, it does not bring back the youngster who had a full life in front of him.

 

 

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog Categories

Follow God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE on WordPress.com

HOPE Gala Dresden: Jubilee Concert 2021

An event not to be missed07/08/2021
61 days to go.

Charity Dinner in Munich / Germany 2021

A HOPE Gala event in the capital of Bavaria10/23/2021
5 months to go.

Charity Dinner in Berlin / Germany 2021

An event of the HOPE Gala11/06/2021
6 months to go.

Charity Dinner in Dresden

Charity Dinner10/30/2021
5 months to go.

20 years HOPE Cape Town

Anniversary Celebration12/04/2021
6 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2022

Join us @ The Westin in Cape Town05/21/2022
12 months to go.

Stefan Hippler Twitter Account

You can share this blog in many ways..

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,103 other followers

Translation – Deutsch? Française? Espanol? …

The translation button is located on each single blog page, Copy the text, click the button and paste it for instant translation:
Website Translation Widget

or for the translation of the front page:

* Click for Translation

Copyright

© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This not withstanding the following applies:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

%d bloggers like this: