10 years of community building in Bhekulwandle

Tracey Mah-Gillies of Calgary reflects on her experience at the 10th Anniversary Celebrations at Seed of Hope.

] “Jabu, sing for me. Sing anything.” The deep bass voice began with a soft note, added to by the others on the kitchen cleaning detail. Soon the space was filled with words of praise for God, encouraging all who were blessed to be present, with the natural harmonies of their voice.  These were the voices of the staff at Seed of Hope as they prepared together for the 10th Anniversary Celebration.

The preparation began long before this past week. A team was formed months ago to plan for this gift to the members of the community of Bhekulwandle. It was the vision of the team to celebrate the history of Seed of Hope while at the same time, encouraging the voices of the community to come together to lead themselves into the future. A future filled with hope, with peace and with compassion for one another.

Saturday arrived with warmth and breezes…a perfect day.  The tents were set, the chairs in rows, the food prepared, and the Seed of Hope Center dressed in her finest.  The guests arrived, many of them past volunteers, young adults who had attended programs in their youth, and others who had been touched by the love of those at Seed of Hope.  What reunions! Tears, hugs, and much laughter.The Program began with music, traditional Zulu dancing and singing, with prayers of thanks to our Heavenly Father and memories of Derek Liebenberg, co-founder of the Seed of Hope South Africa. One of the many highlights included personal testimonies from several community members whose lives have been deeply touched by the staff and programs offered at Seed of Hope.

The afternoon moved on with additional comments from Heather Liebenberg, Carl Waldron, Robert Diami and local Inkosi, Nathi Maphumulo. The Inkosi is the local Head official, sometimes referred to as King, so it was certainly an honour for him to participate in the program. In keeping with tradition, a large ram was offered to the Inkosi as a gift for attending.

A definite highlight was the video presentation of a documentary by Greg Gillespie and Carl Waldron, entitled “The Voice of Bhekulwandle”.  At the conclusion of the showing, Carl invited members of the community to add their voice through upcoming meetings facilitated at the Seed of Hope.

The formal portion of the afternoon wrapped up with a Zulu Song that had the entire audience up and singing.