God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Bridging continents

Fr Wim Lindeque, HOPE Goodwill Ambassador Katlego Maboe , Fr Stefan Hippler with Children of the Manenberg Afterschool Development Centre, a partner organization of HOPE Cape Town in Manenberg.

Preparing for my next trip starting in 2 days to Europe I also have to see to the talks I will give, the PowerPoint I will design to bolster the words spoken and to give color and pictures supporting the imagination of those listening and interested to know more about the work of HOPE Cape Town. The longer I am in this sort of business to connect different worlds I realize how difficult it has become to bring one world to another and to make sure, words are understood in the sense they are intended.

Yes, we speak the same language, we use the same words, but the framework of thinking, the weight of education and upbringing, the scenarios of real life experience seems sometimes so far away from the life presented in a talk or workshop.
How to bring the despair of a family living under the poverty line to somebody who has never experienced hunger?
How to bring the cold and the wet of a Cape Town winter day in Blikkiesdorp into the warm German homes?
How to explain the plight of not knowing what the day will bring in the Cape Flats and who will lie shot death in the crossfire of the gangs later that day in the dark morgue of Cape Town?
How to balance the hopelessness of so many South Africans against the possibilities and the beauty of a country rich on resources but suffering under a corruption so obvious that it hurts – with no European logic left to explain that people don’t rise up and stop allowing the abuse of those capturing the state entities.

Blikkiesdorp – semi-permanent housing close to the airport

Besides the difficulties to bring the world of Africa to Europe – or even the USA – there is also the way to fund-raise a complete different one. Perception how to assist and help is different in Europe compared with Africa – and once again completely different in the USA. So whatever you do, one has to reflect and think clearly who are the people one wants to address and how to creep in their minds and hearts and connect the dots so far away from each other.

Being a small organization in Africa, but connected with two other continents is a constant challenge – times of pure charity for those in far away Africa as I have known in in my childhood are gone – and I guess this is good like it is.
Solidarity, love of the neighbor and the stranger as requested by most religions need in our days strangely lots of translation work – the global village has quite some gaps to fill to make the connection a solid and understandable one.

But be it as it is – the challenge is on for me for the next 4 weeks to bring Blikkiesdorp, Tygerberg Children’s Hospital and it’s people, family and kids and also those of our partners in Manenberg and Delft to all those who are willing to listen, to learn and to connect – in different ways, with different possibilities – but at the end as a blessing for all being touched by the work of HOPE Cape Town.

 

Munich – Presentation to the Wirtschaftsbeirat of Bavaria

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

Working means networking

No NGO is working alone – even if the South African fundraising market is heavily contested and organizations try to gain the upper hand in securing funds, networking is an essential. There is unfortunately not really a culture to this – and140404_A3-Poster Leader Recruitment 2014_colour_v02-a jealousy and the meaning of superiority can undermine every effort to network on the same eye level. Obviously there are also exceptions, but it has to be said that there is a long way to go in South Africa to understand the real meaning of working together. Next jealousy is politics the other downfall when it comes to the attempt to work together. It was amazing to see how many “hopes’ have been created after the visit of chancellor Angela Merkel to HOPE Cape Town and I was thrilled to see an organization in Durban using even our logo for their advertising. Even in certain township communities  people try to cash in on associating themselves with similar wording. Amazing to see when analytically observed…

HOPE Cape Town has always tried to keep an open mind and  is networking and partnering with many organizations in South Africa and Germany. The German AIDS Foundation and HOPE & Future e.V. are such NGO partners but also in South Africa there are partners like the Manenberg After-school Care or Emilie’s Creche @ St. Lorrie’s Pass Village. There is always so much to do and so little one organization can do alone, so working together is essential if one really wants to better the lives of people.
Belonging to a network of NGO’s here in the Western Cape, I visited AMANDLA in Khayelitsha, an organization using soccer as means to bring youngsters away from drugs and gansterism and allow them to develop self-esteem and developing their potential. They are trying now to establish a further project exactly between Manenberg and Gugulethu – a black and a coloured township. Everybody who is familiar with the locations will know that this is an adventure as these areas are strictly separated since apartheid and each area is a no-go area for the other side. Bridging this gap and ending the hostilities is the aim of this project and obviously HOPE Cape Town sees the chance to network and introduce the Manenberg After-school Care project to AMANDLA. I guess sometimes it only needs to bring some people or organizations together to create synergies.

I wish the new endeavor of AMANDLA all the best and hope that more networking can be done in the future to strengthen the fabric of those lives still separated through race or skin color.

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

Living in South Africa is not easy…!?

I am generally an optimist but even I have to concede that living in South Africa is not easy in our days. Too many negatives are troubling the concerned citizen in the times of election mood.  I stopped counting how many children have been raped and killed in the last weeks, especially in the Western Cape but also all over South Africa. It seems that even innocent children’s eyes are not protecting them from the senseless violence and the urge for sexual exploitation – and the rapists are coming of all age groups. It is frightening.
Violent toi-tois and strikes are daily news and the president has to tell a ‘good story’ in parliament – all politicians I listen to are seemingly disconnected with the realities on the ground only using what is needed to bolster their arguments. DA and ANC have the problem that there is indeed a problem with their respective leadership. Zuma is so much seen as a failed president marred with corruption that all the cover up of the ANC structures show that the party is not always right and that party discipline can be a negative. The DA is battling the “white lady” fight and can’t win this fight in the South Africa of today – and it seems that their leadership is not wise enough to change and let this argument run into the emptiness of space.
While all the politics are ongoing so is also the war of gangsters in Manenberg and the Cape Flats, destroying the fabric of normal life in those areas. If kids are anxious not to be caught in cross fire when walking to school or church then there is something fundamentally wrong.
Of course there are enough stories on a personal and community level which are uplifting. If it would not for those stories, one could pack the bag and leave the country. I guess it has to be those stories to be told more often and with more enthusiasm to counter the crude reality of the newspapers and news headlines. And there are more and more of the living who have never experienced apartheid by themselves – so the old stories of blaming apartheid for everything and evoking the “old times” as if nothing has been changed since then will not work anymore. It is the younger generation which can bring hope to this country, but for that, they need a proper education, which most of them are deprived of in our days. They need jobs which give them the possibility to grow and to tackle their own future. Education, passing on life skills which matters for their lives is needed and then all “malemarism” will be gone in a minute. If you are educated you don’t fall for empty promises.
Despite all these moments of frustration and anger, I still believe that South Africa is one of the most beautiful spots on earth and that there are so many positive stories to tell as well. It is a country which had the ability to have a peaceful transition to a full-fledged democracy where every vote is counting. If all people of good will work together those who are spoiling the process of becoming the rainbow nation will not prevail. For that healing should be the focus of our society – because only a reconciled nation and healed people can make life in South Africa for everybody a pleasant and meaningful one. It will never be a really easy one, but it will be a beacon of hope and encouragement  for the rest of the continent. So yes, in the moment life is not easy in South Africa – but there is still hope at the end of the tunnel – let’s work together on reaching the end of this tunnel and seeing the light…

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

A year passed by…

Cape of Good Hope - Cape Town, South Africa

Cape of Good Hope – Cape Town, South Africa (Photo credit: David Berkowitz)

This was quite a year – and even as it is not ended yet, some reflections cannot harm. Lots of travel I have undertaken to further the cause of HOPE Cape Town. 5 overseas trips gave ample opportunity to introduce HOPE Cape Town to new friends, partners and sponsors but also kept “old friends” informed. A special thanks to the visitors from the Bavarian Parliament with Barbara Stamm and Franz Maget amongst others who assisted in organizing a 3 days visit to the European Union in Brussels to learn about the EU- SA relationship first hand. What an insight and a privilege. My annual trip to Dresden to attend the HOPE Gala is a must every year – what a delight to see many people again and again flocking to this event. The USA, Fr Paul, Joe and Shirley – we laid the ground for hopefully good joined work in the new year, not to forget the meeting at Fordham University in Manhattan.
At home here in Cape Town the Ball of HOPE proofed again to be a social highlight and a great marketing tool to keep the ideas of HOPE Cape Town floating. We welcomed new staff to the HOPE Cape Town Association, among them Izane as program coordinator with excellent skills and Charles, coming from Durban with lots of new ideas for marketing and fundraising. With Martin and Jacobus, two new trustees were inducted.
We mourned the death of our trustee Auntie Pat and were grateful to had her on board for so many years.New plans to develop HOPE Cape Town, to add programs like HOPE to HOME and identify other gaps in the roll out and care through the official health services were also on the cards .
For me, finding a spiritual home in supplying Holy Mass in Milnerton, Brooklyn and Manenberg amongst others was equally important as was the visit of “my” Bishop Stephan Ackermann from my Diocese of Trier. Showing him how project work, caritas, diakonia, missionary work in the best sense of the word – understood like Pope Francis does –  , pastoral work and the interaction between all these lines of work was important to him as it was to me.
Being a chaplain to sea and even being able to play a priest for a German TV production – quite some new experiences I don’t want to miss.
But there is also the sad part of life:
I already mentioned the loss of Aunty Pat. I also lost my dad and we here in South Africa lost with Madiba the father of the nation – and both within a week – quite a tough time and full of emotions I never thought I have in me. It also showed me that there is still a learning curve to accept death as part of life – nothing can prepare you when it comes close to you. All mental preparation is fading in minutes.

I was blessed to meet so many people from all walks of life who added to my life a great deal – I only can be grateful for that. Whether it was praise or critical words – it all helped me to try to be a better person. And there is surely enough room for improvement. 🙂

I am continuing reflecting on 2013 and looking forward to a 2014 full of life, joy, challenges – but I am sure – being unconditional loved by God – it will work out and add another exciting time period to my life time.

Filed under: Catholic Church, General, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kids for Kids – Look at our Manenberg kiddis…

Kids from the After School Care Project in Manenberg performing via SKYPE for their new friends in Ruemmelsheim. A great afternoon to raise funds for this worthy project in South Africa in the Trollbach Halle in Germany.

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

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 28th, 2017
more info www.hopegala.de and admin@hopecapetown.com

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018
5 months to go.

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