Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Brief History of South Africa

Long Walk to Freedom “the Autobiography of Nelson Mandela”

First published in Great Britain in 1994. Copyright 1994 by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.  Reprinted 1995, through 2010.

          In Xhosa, Rolihlahlia literally means “pulling the branch of a tree” but it’s colloquial meaning is more accurate.  It’s ‘troublemaker.”  Nelson’s father was a Xhosa chief by both blood and custom, eligible for a stipend and a portion of the fees the government levied on the community.  Both Nelson and his dad were groomed to counsel the rulers of their tribe.  Both were exceedingly stubborn.  His father was an acknowledged custodian of Xhosa history although he could neither read or write.  “My father possessed a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness, that I recognize in myself.” (P. 7)

Nelson loved African history and learned of the great African heros by listening during his father’s councils.  “Their speech was formal and lofty, their manner slow and unhurried and the traditional clicks of our language were long and dramatic.” Many were African patriots who fought against Western domination and Nelson’s imagination was fired by the glory of these African Warriors.  The Thembu, the Pondo, the Xhosa, and the Zulu were all children of one father, and lived as brothers.  The white man shattered the abantu, the fellowship, of the various tribes.  The white man was hungry and greedy for land, and the black man shared the land with him as they shared the air and water; land was not for man to possess.  But the white man took the land as you might seize another man’s horse. (P. 27)

Mandela writes that at sixteen a youth becomes a man in Xhosa tradition.  This is achieved through ceremony and circumcision.  “In my tradition an uncircumcised male cannot be heir to his father’s wealth, cannot marry or officiate in tribal rituals.  It’s a lengthy and elaborate ritual.  I count my years as a man from the date of my circumcision.”(p. 30-31)

In 1937 when he was nineteen Mandella attended Wesleyan College in Fort Beaufort.  It was one of the British outposts during the Frontier Wars in which a steady encroachment of white settlers systematically dispossessed the various Xhosa tribes of their land.  Many Xhosa warriors achieved fame for their bravery.  Two were imprisoned on Robben Island by British authorities where they died. Mandela thought about these men when he was imprisoned there for twenty-seven and one half years.  In college Nelson was a boxer and a long distance runner.  He became a member of the Students Christian Association and taught Bible class in the neighbouring villages.

“”I cannot pinpint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew that I would spend my life in the liberation struggle.  To be an African in South Africa means that one is politicized  from the moment of one’s birth, whether one acknowledges it or not.  An African child is born in an Africans Only hospital, taken home in an Africans Only bus, lives in an Africans Only area and attends Africans Only schools, if he attends school at all.   When he grows up, he can hold Africans Only jobs, rent a house in Africans Only townships, ride Africans Only trains and be stopped at any time of the day or night and be ordered to produce a pass, without which he can be arrested and thrown into jail.  His life is circumscribed by racist laws and regulations that cripple his growth and  his potential and stunted his life.  This was Mandela’s reality as a young attorney in Johannesburg. Consequently he became angry and rebellious and had a desire to fight the system that imprisoned his people.   He found inspiration in Mahatma Gandhi’s success which ended British rule in India in 1946.  Nelson determined to do likewise in South Africa.  (P. 109)

He married Evelyn Mase in 1946.  Her father was a mine worker who had died when she was an infant.  He was soon the father of a son, Madiba Thembekile, called Thembi.   “I had perpetuated the Mandela name and the Madiba clan, which is one of the basic responsibilities of a Xhosa male.  My sister Leabie joined us and I took her across the railway line to enroll her at Orlando High School.  All members of a Xhosa man’s family have equal claim for housing and support.  A daughter was born next but died at nine months of age.  A second son, Makgatho Lewanika, was born during the Day of Protest. Nelson was able to be with Evelyn in the hospital.  “The struggle was all-consuming.  A man involved in the struggle was a man without a home life.”

In 1947 Nelson was elected to the Executive Committee of the Transvaal ANC, his first position in the African National Conference.  “From that time I came to identify myself with the Congress as a whole, with it’s hopes and despairs, its success and failures, I was now bound heart and soul.”  Africans could not vote, but that did not mean that they did not care who won election.  Dr. Daniel Malan, a former minister of the Dutch reformed Church and a newspaper editor ran for president in support of Apartheid.  It literally means ‘apartness.” It’s a system of laws and regulations that had kept Africans in an inferior position to whites for centuries.  (P. 126) It’s premise was that whites were superior to Africans, Coloureds and Indians.  The function of apartheid was to entrench white supremacy for ever.

The ANC adopted a Programme of Action which called for boycotts, strikes, stay-at-homes, passive resistance, protest demonstrations and other forms of mass action along the lines of Gandhi’s non-violent protests in India.  Nelson was so heavily involved that when Thembi was five he asked his mother, “Where does Daddy live?”  He had been returning home late at night and departing early in the morning before his son awoke.  Nelson was strongly drawn to the idea of a classless society which, to my mind, was similar to traditional African culture where life was shared and communal.  I subscribed to Marx’s basic dictum, which has the simplicity and generosity of the Golden Rule: ‘From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.’

The ANC sent out flyers, “We call the people of South Africa black and white - Let us speak together of freedom – Let the voices of all the people be heard.  Let us gather together in a great charter of freedom.  The ANC endorsed a charter which allowed everyone the right to vote and equal rights under the law.  They proposed  that the land shall be shared among those who work it.  Restriction of land ownership on racial basis shall be ended and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it, to banish famine and land hunger. (P. 205)  By supporting ANC  Mandela was band from traveling and promoting the organization.  He broke the band and consequently went to jail and had to defend himself.  This interfered with his law practice.

In 1953 Evelyn finished her midwifery course at Durban while her mother and sister-in-law took care of her children “I visited her on at least one occasion,” Mendela recalled.  “She became pregnant and gave birth to a girl we named Makaziwe after the child that died.”  Evelyn joined the Jehovah’s Witness and encouraged Nelson to participate.  In 1955 she gave him an ultimatum: “I had to choose between her and the ANC”.   Nelson told his wife that  he was commitment to the fight for freedom. So they divorced.

Two years later Nelson met Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela, known as Winnie.  She was the first black social worker in Johannesburg.  “Nomzoma means one who strives or undergoes trials, a name as prophetic as my own.  She supported me and participated in my work.  We were married 14 June 1958.  Her father spoke of his love for his daughter, my commitment to the country and my dangerous career as a politician.   At the wedding he said he was not optimistic about the future, and that such a marriage, in such difficult times, would be unremittingly tested.  He told his daughter that she was marrying a man who was already married to the struggle.  He bade her good luck and said, “If you man is a wizard, you must become a witch.”  It was his way of saying she must follow him on whatever path he takes. (p.252)   Winney and Nelson became the parents of two daughters: Zenani born in 1959 and Zindziswa, born in December of 1960.

In 1978 his daughter Zeni married Prince Thumbumuzi, a son of King Sobhuza of Swaziland.  They had met while Zeni was away at school.  Being in prison, I was not able to fufill the father’s traditional duties.  In our culture, the father of the bride must interview the prospective groom and assess his prospects.  He must also determine lobala, the brideprice, which is paid by the groom to the bride’s family.  On the wedding day itself, the father gives away his daughter.  Although I had no doubts about the young man, I asked my friend and legal adviser George Bizos to stand in for me.  I instructed George to interview the prince about how he intended to look after my daughter. (P.589)

Mandela became an outlaw and  was known  as the Black Pimpernel. On December 5, 1956 he was arrested for high treason and put on trial.  During the trial the court heard evidence on non-violence and pacifists.  There is a difference. Pacifists refused to defend themselves even when violently attacked, but that was not the case with those who espoused non-violence.  Sometimes men and nations, even when non-violent, have to defend themselves when they were attacked. The ANC was accused of being a communist organization and having a dual policy of non-violence intended for the public and a secret plan of waging violent revolution.  As a ANC leader, Mandela was accused of high treason,  punishable by death.   He defended himself:

“Many years ago, when I was a boy brought up in my village in the Transkei, I listened to the elders of the tribe telling stories about the good old days before the arrival of the white man.  Then our people lived peacefully, under the democratic rule of their kings and their amapakati [meaning those closest in rank to the king] and moving freely and confidently up and down the country without let or hindrance.  The country was our own, in name and right.  We occupied the land, the forests, the rivers; we extracted the mineral wealth beneath the soil and all the riches of this beautiful country.  We set up and operated our own government, we controlled our own arms and we organized our trade and commerce.  The elders would tell of the wars fought by our ancestors in defense of the Fatherland, as well as the acts of valor by generals and soldiers during these epic days.

I told the court how I had joined the African National Congress and how its policy of democracy and non-racialism reflected my own deepest convictions.  I explained how as a lawyer I was often forced to choose between compliance with the law or accommodating my conscience. . . I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience. . . I do not regret having taken the decisions that I did take.  Other people will be driven in the same way in this country, by the very same force of police persecution and of administrative action by the government, to follow my course, of that I am certain. (P. 393). . .

The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy.  White supremacy implies black inferiority.  Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this nation.  Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans.  When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white looks around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. . .  Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects.  Children wander about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to or not money to enable them to go to school or no parents at home to see that they go to school because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive.  This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy and to growing violence which erupts, not only politically but everywhere. . .  Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society.  Above all, we want equal political rights. Because without them our disabilities will be permanent. (P. 438)

 The government finally agreed to talks in order to end the violence after Mandela had been in prison for over two decades.  Winnie’s house had been burned down.  Accused of helping a group of  radicals, Winnie was tried and found guilty.  Winny lost her job as a social worker and went to jail for several months.   Mandela states,  “We had been fighting against white minority rule for three-quarters of a century.  We had been engaged in the armed struggle for more than two decades.  Many people on both sides had already died.  The enemy was strong and resolute.  Yet even with all their bombers and tanks, they must have sensed they were on the wrong side of history.  We had right on our side but not yet might. (P. 626)

On February 11, 1990 Nelson was released from prison after twenty-eight and a half years of confinement.  He was seventy-one years old.  He said,  “Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans.  I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all! .  . Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today.  I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” (P. 676)   He was an international hero and traveled the world meeting kings and national leader.  He gave speeches all over the planet. New York honored him in a ticker tape parade.   In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Mr. F.W. de Klerk, president of South Africa with whom he had negotiated an agreement to adopt a new constitution for South Africa.  Nelson paid tribute to his fellow laureate:

Mr. de Klerk  had the courage to admit that a terrible wrong had been done to our country and people through the imposition of the system of apartheid.  He had the foresight to understand and accept that all the people of South African must, through negotiations and as equal participants in the process, together determine what they want to make of their future.

Actually the government under de Klerk had failed to track down and bring to justice those people who were responsible for the violence that the country was facing in 1992, until a mass action campaign culminated in a general strike on the 3rd and 4th of August in support of the ANC’s negotiation demands, and in protest against state-supported violence.  More than four million workers stayed at home in what was the largest political strike in South African history.  One hundred thousand people marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and held an enormous outdoor rally on the great lawn.  Mandela told the crowd that one day we would occupy these buildings, as the first democratically elected government of South Africa. (P. 725)

On 13 April 1995 Nelson  held a press conference in Johannesburg and announced his separation from Winnie.  “The relationship between myself and my wife, Comrade Nomzamo Winnie Mandela, has become the subject of much media speculation.  We contract our marriage at a critical time in the struggle for liberation.  Owing to the pressure of our shared commitment to the ANC and the struggle to end apartheid, we were unable to enjoy a normal family life.  During the two decades I spent on Robben island she was an indispensable pillar of support and comfort.  Comrad Nomzamo accepted the onerous burden of raising our children on her own. . .  She endured the persecutions heaped upon her by the Government with exemplary fortitude and never wavered from her commitment to the freedom struggle. Her tenacity reinforced my personal respect, love and growing affection.  It also attracted the admiration of the world at large.  My love for her remains undiminished. . .” (P.719)

On 18 November 1993 an interim constitution was finally approved.  The government and the ANC had cleared the remaining hurdles.  The new cabinet would be composed of those parties winning more than 5% of the vote.  National elections would not take place until 1999 so that the government of national unity would serve for five years; finally the government gave way on our insistence on a single ballot paper for the election.  (P. 733)  I voted for the proposal on 27 April. The ANC  polled 62.6 percent of the national vote, slightly short of the two-thirds needed had we wished to push through a final constitution without support from other parties. . . Some in the ANC were disappointed but I was not.  I was relieved. for I wanted a true government of national unity. (P. 743)

Mandela was elected president and inaugurated on 10 May 1999.  It was the first time he and all other minorities were allowed to vote.  “Now in the last decade of the twentieth century, and my own eighth decade as a man, that system has been overturned forever and replaced by one that recognized the rights and freedoms of all peoples regardless of the colour of their skin.  The deep and lasting wounds of oppression and brutality were finally at an end. Perhaps it requires such depths of oppression to create such heights of character. For a country rich in minerals and gems, perhaps the greatest wealth is it’s people. . . (p. 748)

I have walked the long road to freedom. . .I have tried not to falter. . .  But I have discovered that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more to climb.  With freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger for my long walk is not yet ended”. (P. 751)

Monday, March 26, 2012


     It rained hard all day Saturday while we inspected two more apartments.  Both were in much better condition than the flat on Diggery.   Monday we finished the inspections.  The last four flats are in fairly condition. Tom gave them each an "A."  He particularly enjoyed comparing notes with Elder Rakotoarivelo, from Madagascar, who is going home tomorrow.  The climate, food, style of house and culture in Madagascar is very much like that of Western Samoa.  Rakotoarivelo is a fine musician.  He played the guitar and sang for us.  Then Tom  played and sang the "Ballad of Joseph Smith" in Samoan for the elders.  The other three, all from the U.S., were very interested in how he joined the church and ended up living in Utah.  We made a list of the items needed--  light bulbs, a shower curtain, a toaster, 2 can openers and flee power --  we will pick them up and deliver to them later.  Looks like Diggery is the biggest problem.  Evidently with the heavy rain that ceiling leaked badly over the weekend.  Not a big surprise as the zone leaders can hear the termites chomping away at it during the night.  We are making inquiries and hope to find the Zone Leaders better lodgings. Transfers are every seven weeks.  Tom and I have been assigned to inspect these apartments just before transfers to be sure they are in good condition for new occupants.

     Sunday we attend Kwa Nobuhie 1st and 2nd Wards Sacrament Meetings and then met with Bishop Mahaluba.  The two bishops have agreed to co-sponsor at PEF fireside on Sunday, April 29th at 4:00 p.m. Then we will hold "Plan for Success" workshops on the four following Thursdays after school.  There are many young black youths in these two wards and so more are interest in PEF than in the Lorraine/Port Elizabeth wards which included older white families.  Evidently, after Apartheid, many of the white people moved from the more affluent Lorraine area to England, New Zealand and Holland, leaving the stake center devoid of members.  Lorraine Ward has only 150 members now--mostly white--compared to Kwa Nobuhie 1st, an all back ward, which has 698 members.  Our missionaries have been advised that they cannot baptize anyone who does not live within a 45 minute walking distance from the church as most live in the townships, do not have a car and must walk to church.  Tom's been talking to people he meets in shops or on the street.  He has taken referrals from several blacks but so far, only one white person has shown an interest in being contacted by the elders.

     Another plus, Elder Rinchins called from George.   They are setting up a fireside on Sunday, April 22nd at 4;00 p.m. to introduce the junior high and high school age members to PEF.  Kathyrn is co-ordinating the program.  She will have to translate because the youth there can only understand 30% of the English spoken.  Tom bought cables for our Eiki projector today to do his PEF power point presentation.  I'm thinking it might be a good idea to have someone translate some of the slides so he can present in both English and Afrikksn.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Human Rights Day

March 21st was Human Rights Day. I watched a talk show on one of S.A.'s 3 TV stations. I learned that more women are raped here each year than learn to read. A movie star described being raped at age 4. She heads "Slut Walk" a yearly march to encourage victims to talk about their experience and thereby heal. Thirty musicians joined together and played their new video designed to combat crime. Another group described their effort to help young people volunteer and clean up their communities. I would have liked to have heard talks by S.A.'s leaders but we were at Surgury and by the time we got home broadcast was over. We inspected the apartment of Elder Vernon (Park City) and Elder Nielson (Seattle) in the morning. They are the P.E. Zone Leaders who live at 31 Diggery Street, West Westering, behind their landlord's house. They like their landlord and the area because it's safe and they can run when they come home in the evenings. I noticed a collection of cock roaches worthy of a high school biology class pinned to their area map. Here is Tom's report: "This apartment by U.S. standards is grade D. A dingy, run down, low class apartment, sink gap between wall with water seepage, wall wood rotted, broken cabinet door, storage beneath sink in cupboards impossible due to scum and seepage. An oven the size of a microwave looks like has never been cleaned in 20 years is crusted and brown and deserving of garbage dump. Crumbling paint throughout the apartment, a derelict apartment and the list goes on. The status of this house and it's appearance suggest the landlord has made no effort to repair, paint, or upgrade it ever since the house was built perhaps 70 years ago. The elders are deserving of a better place to live than this dump." Winter is June and July and we are moving into the fall. It's getting very windy here and it's colder at night. I developed a bad cough and a minor urinary infection so we went to Surgery (S.A.'s version of Instacare.) It took less time than opening our Standard Bank account. Then we had lunch at the Silver Cloud Spurs which was next to the pharmacy where we got my prescription filled. Cowboys and Indians are very popular here in S.A. As it was a national holiday Spurs was packed. Three waiters did a line dance at one point and encouraged patrons to join in. I came home and slept all afternoon. Today the infection is gone and my cough is much better.  After reading Nelson Mandela's biography Long Walk to Freedom I have a better understanding of why black Africans identify with our American Indians.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Articles from "The Herald" -- P.E.'s Daily Newspaper

Yesterday I bought a newspaper to get a feel for what's happening in S.A. I've summarized some of the article I found interesting:

        Bring in the army to fight poaching.  The author is appalled at the slaughter of rhino and the apparent lack of proactive steps to prevent the slaughter and potential extinction of this magnificent species. Shavings of rhino horn and powdered rhino horn are considered a cure-all for a variety of day to day complaints in China. Tests have concluded that rhino horn has no effect on the human body whatsoever so why does poaching continue?  Because of the demand for rhino horn in Asia.  Three species have already been decimated there and now the move is down the African continent. The animals are shot and their horns hacked off.  This happened close to home recently in Kariega, a local game park here. Given the cost of a stolen or post conflict surplus firearms and the plethora of these available to would be poachers, it is no wonder there are so many operating at present, and this excludes what to my mind is the lowest of low, the ranger turned poacher.  Rhino poaching may be properly categorized as low risk, high reward activity.  Our country should be doing more to protect these animals.

Moroccan rape victim's suicide sparks demands for law reform.  Some 200 Moroccan women staged an angry protest outside parliament in Rabat on Saturday, a week after the suicide of a 16-year-old girl who was forced to marry the man who raped her.  The protesters shouted "Martyr Amina," "The Law Killed Me" and "We Are all Aminas", as they called for changes to a penal code that allows a rapist to stay out of jail if he marries his victim with the consent of her parents.
     The suicide of Amina al-Filali, who drank a lethal amount of rat poison, sent shock waves through Morocco and sparked widespread calls for reform of a law that ostensibly defends family values.  Families of rape victims under the age of 18 often agree to such a union because the loss of a girl's virginity outside of marriage is considered a dishonour to her family.
    Amina's father said at a public protest that he had opposed the union but his wife had insisted, "She said we had to do it so people would stop deriding us, to remove the shame.  The protesters signs read, "Women's Dignity. End Sexual Harassment."  But "It's the law, an absurd, grotesque social rule, that tries to remedy an evil--rape--with another more repugnant one, marrying the rapist."  The women called for this law to be repealed.

Harsher penalties for buying stolen goods  Second Hand dealers and pawn shops have been warned that new legislation being introduced next month could see them jailed for up to 10 years if they bought stolen goods. The warnings follow the implementation of the new Second-Hand Goods Act, which will enable courts totimpose harsher sentences on criminals who steal goods, as well as anyone who buys stolen goods from them.  The law has been welcomed specifically for the impact it would have in curbing the theft of copper wire, which has cost Telkom about R1.9 billion since 2006.  (Copper wire was stolen when we were in Cape Town cutting electricity to the home of the mission president.)

5km walk for a sip of water. Imagine being just six years old and having to walk 5km from school for a sip of water, or using the school toilet and picking up an infection because it is just so filthy.  These are but two examples of the shocking conditions that thousands of children have to deal with at schools around the country.  Most learners use the fields because the toilets are unusable

One drug mule returns, another goes to prison  SA headmistress incarcerated in UK for smuggling cocaine.  As Anneline Mouton touched down at Cape Town International Airport after spending 10 years behind bars for drug smuggling in Mauritius, another South African, headmistress Annebella Momple, started her sentence in the UK for trying to smuggle in cocaine. Both women had been lucky Mouton's father Dan said, he had watched the news in horror last year when Janide Linden from KwaZulu-Natal was executed in China for trying to smuggle tik into the country.  Momple was headmistress of Carrington Primary School.

ANC calls for education officials shake up  The ANC has lambasted the Eastern Cape's woeful education system, saying its poor administration is unacceptable.  The department failed to provide documentation to the auditor general to back up payments worth more than R6-billion during the 2010-11 financial year.  "We cannot have a department that's declared unauditable by the auditor-general yet it has a chief financial officer." He called on Eastern Cape teachers to go back to class and do what they were paid to do -- teach, instead of having a "negative" effect.  But he conceded there were a number of things such as non-payment and lack of equipment that took up teaching time, with teachers trying to resolve problems that should be solved by education department employees.  "When teachers are in class they mustn't worry about their salaries -- that's somebody else's job."  (Everything I have read indicates there is corruption at all levels of government.  Syster Nye, a former principal, received donations from elementary children.  She reported that three women from the school board arrived bedecked in diamond rings and gold barceletts.)

Vital poll for impoverished Guinea-Bissau.  Stability needed to ensure international aid.  Guinea-Bissau began voting yesterday for a new president, an office nobody has held for a full five-year term in the West African state where chronic instability has fed a booming cocaine trade.  The election and its aftermath will provide a key test for the poor former Portuguese colony which needs to prove its stability to usher in crucial international aid for reforms to a bloated and powerful army.  Since independence from Portugal in 1974, three presidents have been overthrown by coups, and one was assassinated in office in 2009.  The army has never been downsized and has been in constant, often deadly, competition with the state. Taking up about 10% of the national budget, the military gets more money than health or education.  A mutiny by renegade soldiers in April 2010 prompted the European Union and the U.S. to suspend crucial budgetary and security reform support - leaving much hanging on a smooth election and post-pool reforms. . .
     I am very unhappy about not being able to publish Smileboxes.  When I finally figure it out I'll post them.  After eight years of technology issues in the OHS, my biggest fear is that I'll be expected to do something but my lack of tech ability will prevent me.  When I discovered that we were not going to be in LaBrays flat., I had visions of all our PEF stuff sitting in the garage in a tangeled mess.  It's all I can do to operate my new HP touch pad, let alone trying to set up operations in P.E.  But back to our story

   Our failing GPS got us close to our Lorraine flat.  The Van Sickels met us, got us through the gate and into our apartment. I spent most of the night unpacking and organizing the study which was a good thing as Gary Laake, stake executive secretary, arrived and hooked us up the next day.  Brother and Sister VanSickel took us to the bank to open an account in the event the young elders needed anything.  Those receipts go to the mission in headquarter while receipts for our PEF needs are sent to Jberg.  The loan information and progress of all our PEF students is set up thru LDS Teams-PEF administered in Salt Lake.

Port Elizabeth

         The biggest problem has been getting all our technology up and running.  I've posted three smileboxes to Face Book since our arrival but have not been unable to transfer any of them to my blog. Please "Friend" me if you want to see the photos that go along with this text.  I have some great pictures of Cape Town, some local missionaries, (we delivered their mail on Friday) the Relief Society Birthday party (on Saturday) and a baptism (on Sunday.)   Our "on again off again" GPS has a short and cuts out frequently.   Our cell phone is so tiny it's often lost in my purse which contains our keys, daily planner, cameras, and items.  By the time I've retrieved it the caller has hung up.  Elder Van Sickel came by last night to go over the list of number's on our cell  phone and demonstrate how to use it.  It was on lock for three days. Consequently he was unable to call us before bringing bishop Mahaluba and his family over for a visit on Sunday night. Luckily Tom had just returned from a driving lesson with Elder Taylor before they arrived.  Good news,  Johannesburg just called!  PEF has approved the purchase of a new GPS. Now we can find the missionaries apartments that we are scheduled to inspect tomorrow.

     This morning Elder Taylor brought over the files of six PEF applicants.  Everything that has been submitted since the LaPrays left has been approved but the application of Bishop Mahaluba.  He does not yet have his letter from the Stake President signed.    I am so impressed with Unathi Mahaluba who serves as bishop of the Kwa Nobuhie Ward with 698 members.  He has 20 young men getting ready to go on missions.  Ten hope to submit their papers next month.  However each must earn 2,000 Rand (about $250) before they can do so.   Brother Van Sickles has hired some to paint chairs for the church to help them earn money.

         Unathi is just 28 years old.  He was called as bishop at that age of 24,  after returning from his mission to Johannesburg.  He and wife Mihle are the parents of two children, a daughter Athayanda, who is  five years old and a son, Nathikhaya, who is two.  Mihle works nights so she can take care of Nathikhaya during the day while Athayanda is at preschool.  Unathi is in the process of applying for a PEF loan to become a computer programmer.  It will take him several years.  He will need to borrow 28,000 Rand and continue working full time while attending  school in stages.  All this while serving as the bishop of a growing but very needy Xhosa ward.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 5 - March 12th

     After a 19 hour flight we arrived in Johannesburg and were met by Bishop Fisuro Mintela who drove us to our hotel.  The following morning he took us to the church complex in Jberg for training.  That facility includes a missionary training center, a chapel and an employment center for the entire region. We met several other senior couples serving there including the Basso's from Hawaii who know Tom's family.  We found it interesting that most of the employess in PEF and Employment Services are recent PEF graduates.  Wednesday morning young Bishop Mintela took us back to the airport.

      In Cape Town we were welcomed by Brother and Sister Henderson who drove us directly to a Zone Conference where were were asked to bear our testimonies along with the Richins.  That evening we went to "Cumorah,' the Cape Town Mission home, and were given a tour of that beautiful facility.  Sister Wood suggested that "The Nauvoo House" would have been a better name for their home as many visitors, general authorities and missionaries find lodging there. We would have stayed there had not President and Sister Wood been flying off to Namibia the next day.  So we and the Richins were comfortably lodged in a Bed and Breakfast nearby.

     "Cumorah" is a converted girls boarding school.  It has six bedrooms.  Sister Wood explained that they were expecting 23 missionaries for breakfast the next morning.  The previous night someone had stolen the length of copper wire that delivered power to the mission home so half the building was without electricity. President and Sister Wood hosted a dinner for ourselves and the Richins at a Tai Restaurant that evening.  On Friday we had training at the Cape Town Mission office under the direction of the two office couples, the Oldhams from Kaysville and Karl & Linda Henderson from Far West,  Utah.  The mission office is located on a large piece of property.  Large enough to accommodate a temple at some future date.  Since Saturday was P Day, Elder Henderson took us on a tour of Cape Town which included a bus tour of the city and surrounding areas.
     It's late summer here in South Africa and as we were on the top deck, I got sun burned.  The next day, Sunday, we went with the Hendersons to Mitchell's Plains.  This is a rather small branch.  There were only about 45 people in attendance.  We attended "Gospel Essentials" taught by Joseph Smith, a recent convert along with 6 young elders and the Hendersons.  The lesson was on service.  A few minutes into the lesson a middle age black man in jeans with a back pack was escorted into our class.  Sister Henderson said she thought the man was on drugs.  He said he usually attended the church down the road but as they were not meeting that day, he decided to join us.  After class he approached several explaining that he needed bus money to get to Cape Town to look for work.  We had been told that anyone making such a request should be sent to the Branch President.  So he was instructed to go to him. The Branch President did not give him any money.

      I was very uncomfortable as the man had just sat through a lesson on service at a Mormon church and his request for help had been denied.  He stayed through the block and approached several others without success.  Finally at the end of our meetings Elder Henderson gave him the money he had been asking for.  He said the man had a well marked Bible in his back pack.  He too felt uncomfortable about turning him away empty handed.  Evidently the Branch President has instructions only to assist church members.  Welcome to Africa where those in need are legions!  The Oldhams invited us to dinner after church.  Then, together with the Richins, we went to the Hendersons for dessert.  The Richins are stationed in George so we followed them down the N2 highway Monday morning and then drove on to Port Elizabeth.  We arrived at  5:30 p.m. after a ten hour drive.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Problem Resolved

Good News!  Drew Barber stopped by to show me how to add photos and post Smilebox links.
Sunday, March 4th:  We went to church with Neil and Corrine this morning and enjoyed sitting in on their class.  They teach the 14-16 year olds.  Awesome kids.  The lesson was on missionary work. Tom shared his impressions of the MTC.  We are having dinner with our kids later this evening.  Tomorrow we fly to Atlanta at 9:45 a.m. It's the 17th anniversary of Steve's passing.  In Atlanta will meet up with the Richins from Ventura who are going directly to Cape Town and the Millers who will be serving in Durham.  Tom and I will be staying in Johannesburg for a couple of days for training with Brother Khumbulani Mdletshe.  Then we will fly to Cape Town to meet President Steven Wood and collect our car.  From Cape Town we will drive the beautiful Garden Rout along the southern coast of Africa to Port Elizabeth.  Likely arriving there on March 12th, the anniversary of Steve's funeral.  Our address is South African Capetown Mission, P.O. Box 181 Capetown 7935, South Africa.  Our Vonage phone number is the same number that we've had here for the past 33 years.  There is an eight hour time difference.
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Perpetual Education Fund Notes

The majority of the world does not realize what the church is doing for people world wide through various  education and humanitarian programs.

Elder Toreno,   While President Hinckley was visiting in Venezuela, Elder Tereno was assigned to be his driver.  During the four hour trip, President Hinkley shared with him  his vision of PEF. “We need a Perpetual Education Fund to help lift people out of their poverty.  We will utilize our existing organizations.  This program will succeed because it will be priesthood based.  Loans will be repaid.”  Subsequently, he   announced the PEF program on March 31, 2001 in general Priesthood Meeting.

Tom Ruckert, Director of Field Operations/Technology is responsible for PEF in Africa.  He recalled an early interview between President Hinckley and some Los Angelos reporters.  "So you are a prophet?  Have you  received any revelation lately?"  "Yes," he answered.  Then described the Perpetual Education Fund.

John Carmark, Director of P.E.F. had a call from President Hinckley just before he qualified to become Emeritus.  What are your plans?   Presidently Hinckley then reviewed the history of  the old Perpetual Emigrating Fund which was established in 1850 to bring immigrants to Zion.  “We need to build the church in distant lands.  We will establish a fund like the old one.  “I’ll be the chairman of the Board.”  He then named the other board members.  Will you head up the program?  “Yes,” replied Elder Carmark.  “Good!  Then I’ll see you at conference.”
(Note: According to Kai Hintze, financial department, most emigrants who received funds from the Perpetual Emigrating Fund repaid their loans in kind , by produce or by working for the church.)

Richard Cook, current managing director of PEF, has a background in international finance.  Cook  retired from Ford Motor Company and moved here from Detroit in 1995.  He and his wife bought a house in Park City.  Then decided to go on a mission.  He was willing to go anywhere he could take his golf clubs ands tennis racket.  They were called to Mongolia; a country with no golf courses nor tennis courts.  The government there asked church officials for help in setting up special education programs. Mary Cook had worked in special education.  Cook asked, "What am I supposed to do?"  “You will find your way," he was told.  Elder Cook has been volunteering for the past seventeen years.

  “When I served in Hong Kong, the president of the Indonesian mission, Elder Sabondro, called. “I have a request President.  Only send me blue collar missionaries. Senior missionaries who are ready and willing to work.  Don’t send people who will complain about their apartments, personal comfort, or whine about their situation.”

Rex Allen, as a young elder was served in Brazil. President Hinckley came for a visit.  He called him over saying, “Walk with me.”  Allen obliged.  As they walked President Hinckley said, “I just don’t know!  I just don’t know.  Then turning to Elder Allen he said, “You just don’t know what I don’t know.  I’ve been telling them the temple Visitors Center in San Paulo should be bigger.  I keep saying that but they don’t change the plans. You may go now Elder.”  Later the Visitors Center was enlarged because it was  not big enough.

Church membership in the U.S. today is 6.5 million. There are 7.5 million in the rest of the world.  Future projections put church membership in the U.S. at 20 million.  There will be 80 million members in the rest of the world.  We need those members to be self sustaining.  We need them to be leaders.  The best loan                                                               
is no loan but if members need funds to get a better job.  They can apply for a PEF loan.  PDF is administered through seminary and institutes, employment services and other existing organizations.  Also with the help of many volunteers including senior missionaries. India has just been approved to offer PEF loans.  PEF has succeeded.  “We have never had to turn down an application because of lack of funds.”

Lloyd Hansen directs PEF Operations.  After returning from a mission in Peru,  Loyd and Janette Hansen volunteered for a second mission.  They were assigned to PEF in Johannesberg, South Africa.  Hansen is a long distance runner.  He enjoyed running with brother Khumbalani, our CES director, who has a Ph.D from the University of Johannesberg.  They ran together every Saturday and discussed PEF.  They run together when Khumbalani come to general conference.   Capetown sponsors a number of running events including a 60 kilometer run. The purpose of PEF is to provide local, viable jobs that match the abilities of the students in their own localities.  President Oaks was told in the Phillipines that despite a high rate of unemployment there are enough jobs for our members if they have the right training.  Our goal is to get better work and higher paying jobs.  This will build leaders.  PEF at church headquarters has five paid staff and ten PEF volunteers.

Brother and Sister Bell, CSI Coordinators,  serve in the Mission Department screening senior applicants.  Missionary applications are perused by seventeen different departments in an effort to fit needs world wide.  Applications go first to a team of doctors who rate the couples based on the condition of their health.  The Bells said it was interesting reading the comments from various applicants.  Comments from a Wyoming rancher caused them to smile. He submitted their missionary photo with the husband wearing a cowboy hat.   In the comment section he wrote: “I love my cattle, I love my guns, I love my pickup truck and I will go anywhere I can take my saddle.”

This couple were called to labor on a cattle ranch in California which belonged to the church. While in the Missionary Training Center the husband exhibited great enthusiasm and excitement.  When asked why he replied, “When we get there it will be calfing season!”  The Lord knows his children.  There is a place for every senior couple who are ready, willing and able to serve.