Minnesota Farmer

On to Ondini
August 20, 2017, 6:35 am
Filed under: church, Kwazamohkuhle, Ondini circuit, Shetek Conference, South Africa, travel

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, ten members of churches in the Shetek Conference of the ELCA left for the Ondini Circuit in the Kwa-Zulu Natal of South Africa.  This group from Southwestern Minnesota included 5 farmers, a nurse, a food service worker, a pastor and two young men just headed off to college.  For 4 of us this was a return trip, for the rest it was a new adventure.

This trip was different from the ones from 2011 and 2014 in several ways.  First, this trip was not led by Pastor Mark, he had left the conference and is now teaching at a college in Iowa.  This meant leadership of the trip shifted from pastoral to lay led.  Our leaders were Dale Holmes and Bonnie Frederickson, Pastor Sarah Tade also took on some leadership responsibility, but this being her first trip she was very thankful for the returning leadership.

Our second difference was that we were flying into Durban rather than Johannesburg (Jo-burg).  This airport is much closer to the Ondini Circuit.  Flying into Durban did mean that we had fewer opportunities to see some of the historical sights available in Jo-burg.

Friday morning, August 4, found us at the Garden Court Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean.  We gathered to have a South African buffet breakfast in the hotel dinning area before going off to tour the city.  Our hosts from the Ondini, Pastor Lee M. and dean of the circuit David Xaba first lead us off for a bit of time on the beach before we drove off to see the soccer and rugby stadiums and Shaka World.

We really did not have a lot of time to enjoy all of the opportunities for fun at Shaka World, but did spend some time shopping and looking at some of the sights.  By noon we were headed north.

We did make one stop on the way, at Howick, to visit the Mandela Capture site.  I encourage you to read the information link to get a history of why this is incident is important to South Africans.  The center piece of the site is an impressive sculpture consisting of 50 steel poles that when viewed from the correct angle shows the face of Nelson Mandela. 

Mandela in his younger years was a bit of a chameleon.  He took on persona that allowed him to travel about the world as a leader of the freedom movement in South Africa during the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  I had heard about the sculpture and was very pleased we were able to stop.  Equally impressive was the walkway to the sculpture.

The pathway is lined with flowers and bushes that help to make the long walk more enjoyable.

As you near the site the path turns and dips down.  The poles of the sculpture now appear, but still just seem to be a series of poles.

It is only as you reach the bottom of the trail that you realize something special is ahead.  A pair of benches at the bottom mark the best viewing site.  Only in this small area is Nelson Mandela the chameleon visible.

That evening found us settling in to our places at the Kwazamokuhle Diaconal Centre.  It is a bit of a homecoming for those of us who were there before.  We were looking forward to the changes, meeting new and old friends and the work ahead.  It was to be an interesting stay.


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