There is something about Cape Town at this
time of year that fills one with anticipation. It has been a long, dry summer
and the Western Cape water crisis is at its peak. Dam levels are at record
lows…so low that the water literally tastes and smells like pond scum. But
there is the promise of winter rains…good rain has brought an end to the
drought stricken areas in the northern parts of southern Africa. By God’s grace
and mercy, we pray that the rains for this area will be moderate, but sufficient
to stem the tide, as it were.
Politically, the country faces yet another
crossroad. The current situation is being likened to the excesses of the
Apartheid era. Calls for the resignation of the current President are heard
throughout the land from every sector of society, including from within his own
party. People euphemistically speak about this period as a “very interesting
But biblically, drought and political
instability have often served to bring God’s people to their knees and the
situation in southern Africa is no different. This past week, 1.7 million
people gathered on cleared farmland in the Free-State area specifically to pray
for the country. In churches across the land, God’s people are being called to
pray…and God has promised that when His people turn to Him, He will turn to
them, hear their prayers, and heal their land.
So, we are all anticipation on so many
On a personal note, Louise and I are still
trying to sort ourselves out as far as settling in is concerned. We do have our
South African ID booklets and a place of residence, but we are still working on
our driver’s licenses and getting Louise’s mum’s car in her name. Yes, we have
purchased the Queen’s blue chariot. While this is not ideal for long distance
travel, it does get us around the Cape area and will have to suffice until we
can raise more funds.
It seems strange to talk about culture
shock, as South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, is Louise’s home country,
but things change over the course of twenty years and we have found that,
although the country has a 1st world veneer, the reality is a lot
different. In spite of the fact that many modern things are in place, such a
fibre optic cable, it takes a long time for anything to actually work. Life is
also a lot more expensive than we remember and we will really have to budget
carefully as we plot our course forward.
Much to my disappointment, we did not get
to train the team up in Mozambique…yet…the training has been postponed for
various reasons and we are waiting on the Bishop there to give us a new date.
Please pray that this all falls into place sooner rather than later as the
folks on the ground really want to get this discipleship program up and
Louise and I have moved into our new office
as well. The GtC Director, Trevor and our fellow team member, Wayne have worked
tirelessly in making this a beautiful and very functional environment for us.
In many ways they have all spoiled us rotten! They are very gentle in allowing
us to find our place in the team slowly but surely. We also have our official
GtC email addresses thanks to Michael and Rae…and they are:
Note that these are not personal, but
official emails, so please continue to use Vanderbijl@gmail.com
for all other correspondence.
Our new snail mail (for letters and small,
flat articles only) address is:
201 The Chelsea
Cape Town, South Africa
For care packages or any other larger
deliveries, please use:
1 Braehead Road
Cape Town, South Africa
Our South African Telephone number is: +27
Please do let us hear from you soon! We
love you and want to stay connected.
Many blessings and hugs.
Johann and Louise
On the 22nd April, South Africans will gather for a National Day of Prayer in Bloemfontein, estimated to kick-off at 12 PM South African time.
Would you prayerfully consider joining us in prayer on that day?
Check out this video message from Angus Bachan:
Many of you may be aware of my Facebook post from last Friday in which I asked for prayers for South Africa. The country is going through a crisis, which came to head nearly two weeks ago when the president, Jacob Zuma, fired his finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas. People were up in arms over the now infamous midnight “cabinet reshuffle,” and the Rand dived, ultimately leading South Africa into a “junk status” credit rating with the S&P and Fitch. Last week saw numerous protests and marches around the country; more are slated for today and the rest of the week and next week.
But the crisis is more than a financial one. Zuma (younger people often call him “JZ”) has been the subject of numerous scandals, starting before he even became president. Among his most flagrant scandals are:
- Being accused of rape while he served as a party leader of the ANC
- Stating that people could be cured of HIV if they took a shower and/or ate beetroot
- Spending more than $20 million in state funds on his private compound, Nkandla
- Practicing unabashed nepotism and cronyism with his connection to the Gupta family being the most notorious. (This family has been accused of wielding so much power in the presidency that Zuma and their name have been merged into “Zupta.”)
- Entering into an infamous nuclear deal with Russia
- Firing the two finance ministers
The current crisis is very political and complex, and it may be difficult for those who do not live here to understand. South Africa has a parliamentary government, and the ANC is the party in power. This was the main party of the “Struggle,” the anti-apartheid movement. It was the party of Mandela and most of the freedom fighters, but most South Africans would agree that the ANC no longer reflects the dream and vision of Mandela, that it has become unashamedly corrupt and self-serving. Yet many people still support the ANC and Zuma.
Next Tuesday, 18 April, Parliament will hold a no-confidence debate into the President’s fitness to hold office. With the ANC being in power, it is unlikely that they will vote Zuma as being unfit; but miracles do happen.
Once again, I call for prayers for this country that has so much potential. It is a country of natural wealth and beauty, but its greatest asset is its people, who are warm, loving, innovative, creative and industrious. South Africa can be a global leader of good change. Let’s pray for good governance and justice, for the country’s leaders to have a heart for the people, especially for the poorest of the poor and the marginalised.