God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

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, , , , , , , , ,

15.02.2010 And another murder…

I know it does not fit into all the hype about the soccer world cup, but with Joseph Dominic Giddy the third student has been murdered in Cape Town within 6 months.  Stabbed during a robbery while on his way home with friends, he is once again someone who was at the wrong place the wrong time. It is sometimes difficult to paint a fair picture of the situation in South Africa while one is thorn between the plight to encourage people to come to South Africa for the world cup and the knowledge, that things are also not in order here at the bottom of the continent.
But what is a fair picture? Telling only the official statistics which would be a disaster… Or just saying that most of the times only locals are killed? Are they less worth than tourists? I find it increasing difficult because now before the big event, there seems to be two camps: one painting a rosy picture and one painting a dark black one. Both are obviously wrong, but on the other hand: How can one do a balanced picture when press is only reporting in broadbrushed terms because that’s what the speed of news requires: quick and just touching it, no in dept information any more. It is a pity. The way modern press and news agency have developed makes it almost impossible to have the time for a journalist, to feel the pulse of the country for a while before giving a diagnose, the first heart peep, so to speak, is already the whole story.

I am living now for almost 13 years in the country and I think it is one of the greatest countries one can live in, no question about it, but at the same time I acknowledge that life is cheap here and that there is a long way to go for society to get a grip on this fact and change it.  And coming today from an extensive outing again into the lives of those less fortune I am convinced that it needs so much more efforts from politics and civil society to bring back this respect for life.

I still hope that the soccer world cup 2010, which was the nail for this country not to take a deeper dip in many regards, will also serve as a push to drive in that direction. And for that we need great games, a feeling, that we are good here in South Africa, that we are on the right track as the people of a wounded nation. A great future is ahead of us, when we don’t derail but move forward with reconciliation and respect and dignity.

Filed under: Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , ,

18.01.2010 Back to work…

Who does not know the feeling at the end of a holiday to be thorn between liking to stay a bit longer but also the curiosity to get home and back to the daily routine of working, eating, sleeping and dreaming of the next holidays.
And I think I have enough to be excited about when coming home: HOPE Cape Town will get new offices under the wings of pharmacology and I will have my office there, much better than working from home. “Going to work” has its merit – coming home as well – combining both one sometimes does not know when one is at work or at leisure.

Travel to the 2nd ecumenical church days in Munich, Rome, several invitations to talks, working meetings with Joachim Franz and his team (www.wae.de), the Ball of HOPE, the HOPE Gala Dresden, the “Berliner AIDS Gala”, Blankenese and the Walzertal, the World AIDS Conference and not to forget the Soccer World Cup in South Africa are waiting – for latter I applied to be a volunteer and will have an interview coming week. Exciting times – and of course some holidays in between.
The 10th anniversary of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce in February is not forgotten on this list – as well as all the promised visits to each and every township clinic to visit all our HOPE Community Health Workers at their working place. Developing new projects and continuing the already running work of HOPE Cape Town has also its merits on the scale of excitement.

So yes, it is time to come home and to get going again and to see, how I can live in my new role as “present of faith”.
A new bishop in Cape Town, the work with POZ, the working group dealing with HIV positive clergy – also on this side is a lot to come. And I already agreed to supply in quite some parishes which means to get more insight and learn more about life in the different societies of Greater Cape Town.

Well, what can I say: Cape Town, I am coming..:-))

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16.09.2009 Soccer and HIV

It is an amazing time – not a year anymore to go until the Soccer World Cup 2010 and it seems that since a year the majority of NGO’s playing in the international field what to do something in South Africa – mainly connected with soccer. Countless are the requests for meetings in this regard and this morning I met again with a dear colleague of mine from HOPE Cape Town management an organisation dealing with HIV and soccer. To their credit I must say, that they are in the field a longer time and that they intend to stay beyond the point of the final of the World Cup.
But most requests deal with the question: How do I get the most exposure – it is cool to have photos with poor black kids playing soccer and XY from our NGO or organisation. Even big German trusts are not feeling ashamed to exploit the kids here for their advertising – and I say exploit because in most cases it is clear that the money will stop the day the soccer world cup is finished. The word sustainability seems not to be a known English word.

Some months ago I was sitting together with two representatives of a famous German soccer player, coming to Cape Town to investigate possibilities to do something good in this regard. Well, I made it very clear in the introductory phase of our meeting that sustainability is a major keyword for me  as we as a local entity have a responsibility towards the people concerned. And that HOPE Cape Town will not engage with people just wanting to have the shoot for 2010.  This was the end of the meeting – ” We are also such ass….” mumbled the manager of the soccer star, being one of the representatives, stood up and walked out. End of story. Good behaviour is sometimes not on the top priority list of such “important” people – and they don’t like to be unmasked or questioned. Quite an experience for me.

Todays meeting went differently and I am sure, they are full good intentions to stay longer than 2010 – young, enthusiastic and full of financial support from the American government – so they will not run dry in this regard. As we are open to networking from HOPE Cape Town we will keep in touch and see whether it is possible to create positive synergies between us with the work we are doing.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, , , , , , ,

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