God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The “Ball of HOPE” joy – please join in…

Indeed, there is much joy in the hearts of those organizing the Ball of HOPE for the 20th time. After 2 years of cancellations due to Covid-19 it looks good for the 21st of May 2022 at the Westin Hotel by Marriott in Cape Town.

20 years Ball of HOPE, the end of the 20 years anniversary year of the organisation itself and the better late than never celebration of 20 years of the local office of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Ball of HOPE developed out of a dinner-dance established in 1998 at the Mount Nelson and organised by the German-speaking Catholic Community in Cape Town. The first guest of honour was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He also introduced the culture of letting culinary chefs be in pain keeping the main course hot and tasty, while speeches are indeed longer than anticipated.

The first guest of honour: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

With the opening of the local office of the AHK in Cape Town, the dinner-dance became the “Ball of HOPE” in cooperation between the newly founded organisation HOPE Cape Town and the Chamber of Commerce. In 2003 the Westin was inaugurated, and the event moved from the Mount Nelson Hotel to the then newly established Arabella Hotel at the Foreshore in Cape Town, which today is the Westin by Marriott.

Opening and blessing of the new Westin Hotel

During the following years, the Ball of HOPE became a fixture in the social calendar of Cape Town, and attracted also visitors from Europe to come and join this prestigious event.

So, yes, we are full of joy to invite all of you to the 20th Ball of HOPE – please come, register and join us in this celebration of service, of commitment and of a partnership between business and development, which changes the lives of people for the better in the last more than 20 years.

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

150

Building a career

Working in the townships of Cape Town provides for many bigger and smaller problems as those know, who dedicate money, time and work to uplift communities in our days.

One of the most annoying problems is the mere fact, that very often those targeted by the interventions and developments expect “free” services and hand-outs. It has become a culture difficult to break and to make it clear, that nothing is falling from heaven and money is not growing on trees – not even in Europe or the USA.

This hand-out-for-free culture is partly the fault of NGO’s and development organisations, pouring money into projects without reflecting on consequences. It creates dependency and if done outside a real emergency situation it disrespects the dignity of the receiving person. And to be clear: it this not only about money, it can also be about participation of any kind: important for development is that both parties are involved in an active role which gives respect to both: persons and the efforts made towards a common goal.

HOPE Cape Town will start in October an Entrepreneurial Skills Development programme which is divided in 7 toolkits. Participants can choose which soft skills they wish to learn. The programme was written after conducting an assessment of the situation of a typical township youngster. Even when finishing matric, often there is a gap between what a college would require to be a successful student and what the learner brings to the table with his matric. The programme provided by HOPE Cape Town bridges this gap by providing missing components of what is needed to either start an own small business or to continue studying at a college.

Having decided to not give freebies, the cost of a 3 months course is 150 Rand. And obviously the battle starts bringing in the culture of contributing towards a service and to acknowledge that nothing is for free – even a freebie is paid by somebody.

To ease the change of mindset, HOPE Cape Town is busy to establish a sort of bursary which can contribute towards whatever the prospective student can pay him- or herself. One often has to start slow to establish a culture, which on the long term run also changes the thinking and appreciation of people.

If you want to know more about the bursary scheme, please contact the author – if you are willing to help and sponsor one student with the 150 Rand – please use the following accounts depending on if you are in South Africa or Germany. HOPE Cape Town issues tax-deductible receipt for the respective country – please feel free to contact the organisation in this regard via info@hopecapetown.org :

South Africa:

Account Name: HOPE Cape Town Trust
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited
Account Number: 07 027-452-5
Branch Code: 020909
SWIFT-Code: SBZAZAJJ
Branch Name: Thibault Square
Remark: Bursary

Germany:

Kontoname: HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung
IBAN: DE15 3702 0500 0008 2695 00
BIC: BFSWDE33XXX
Kennwort: Bursary Trust

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, The Nex - Indawo Yethu, Uncategorized, vocational training, , , , , , , , , ,

If I would have a say…

2019 is election year in South Africa and those residing here can already sense the  unease with which political parties and organizations start to get into voting gear – it will be messy and surely deadly for some – violence, intimidation and promises never to be fulfilled will fill the airwaves and the headlines of the newspapers and media outlets.

Being a vocal critic of politicians and movements trying to govern this country I asked myself what would be my priorities if I would have a say – what does this country, this wounded society need in my humble opinion anyhow nobody important is interested in. Nevertheless, who criticizes must also know what he ideally want out of those he takes on – so here is what I think South Africa would need to get going again:

Firstly concentrate and throw lots of money and support into the basic education system while cutting the influence of the teachers union – having the best basic education and making sure that every learner has the best change to attend a school with competent teachers and satisfying facilities should be top priority.

Secondly an initiative to make every company in South Africa to add one employee to train and uplift – tax incentives and other perks could encourage even smaller companies to join such a drive – more people in work and up-skilled – what a benefit for those families and society in general.

A third important focus should be on maintenance – be it water, electricity or other infrastructure  – private-public partnerships and a heightened sense for the importance of maintaining constantly what is available and caters for the basic needs for all citizens.

The health system needs much more attention – not a NHI system which only distributes current failures to a greater audience – but fixing a broken system – health together with education are basics to build up societies and communities.

Entrepreneurship versus entitlement could be the phrase for another initiative to boost the economics already existing in so many suburbs and townships – there are so many clever people out there in the best sense of the word – there is so much goodwill – with the right tools much more could be done to boost economics.

Tackling the ugly face of racism and trying to right the wrongs of the past in a fair way should be high on the agenda – I strongly believe that we shout too much at each other, use social media to express our raw emotions without really listening and falling prey to those in politics abusing those emotions for political gains – places and town meetings for story telling – listening to each other – how much could churches and civil society organization as partners in this be of help in facilitating such story-telling-listening-deeply-events to bring people really together and allow for healing.

Land distribution in a fair manner is important – using also at length first all the land government posses – but acknowledging that most people don’t want to work the land as farmers but have the desire to live in or close by cities.

Together with zero tolerance to corruption, no cadre deployment, a fading out of BBBEE in the current form and strengthening police and the justice system this country could walk with hope into the next years – creating a positive narrative which spins the people and society as such into a gear of productive energy and allowing for dreams to be fulfilled.

Well, I guess this all remains a dream as long as the ruling political party maintains to own the right of ruling the country and others with younger followers abuse the plight of the elderly during apartheid to demand everything while giving nothing back; it is called entitlement or revolution. South Africa lacks in the moment politicians who are real servants of the people and for the people – but there is always the hope that things can change for the better and people with deep love and compassion for this wounded society come to the forefront. Never lose hope.

Filed under: Africa, General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

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