South Africa Eastern Cape Day 3


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Africa » South Africa » Eastern Cape » Mthatha
July 21st 2013
Published: July 21st 2013
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Day three of our trip and definitely a very different day from the normal tourist activities that other people do; not that we are on the tourist route at the moment. Mthatha was the old capital of the Transkei which was one of the Homelands during the apartheid era so it has suffered from under-investment for the best part of half a century.

This morning we met Nothemba who is Meg’s equivalent at our link school Sandi. Nothemba took us to her church this morning: a very well attended Methodist church. There are three two-hour-long Sunday services. The first from 9-11 is in English, but we went to the 11-1 service which was conducted in Xhosa, but with the aid of Nothemba’s hymn book we managed to join in pretty well (apart from understanding scarcely a word that is). Some of the tunes were familiar – they even had part of the tune from one of the hymns that we had at our wedding, to which they sung Amen over and over.

Then the moment arrived when we were invited to go to the front and speak to the packed congregation of hundreds. Rob decided that this was the ideal moment for Meg to get over her fear of public speaking and kept his hands firmly behind his back when the microphone was offered. We thanked everyone for the warm welcome and for sharing their service with us. Despite our being in jeans and everyone else in their Sunday best nobody seemed to mind.

We had to leave the service slightly early so we could keep our appointment with our three bursary students at the Walter Sisulu University. Godlo, Fodo, and Juliwe are all studying to become teachers. They were a great bunch and when they all go on to become teachers it will be to the long-term benefit of this region. Godlo is the next to graduate next year.

This afternoon we visited a little girl called Mihlali who is the orphaned daughter of a previous member of staff at Sandi, so we could deliver a blanket made by our Prep school pupils. She seemed happy enough and posed for pictures.

Waiting with Mihlali were the current and previous Sandi principals. They were lovely chaps and we are looking forward to spending some more time with them over the next few days.

Tomorrow we head on down to Sandi and we are staying in a local nature reserve so we probably won’t be able to post any updates for a few days.


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