Category Archives: Exchange

Nomthandazo and the township church


Here is another little township story for you. It is about the church services in South Africa, which are totally different to those in Europe.

On a Sunday Spihwe (my hostsister in the township, her name means gift) and Betty took me to church, which was a beautiful and scary experience at the same time. At this point I have to say that my believe in God is not very strong but I have to admit that the following service really moved me in a way I cannot explain.

During the praying Spihwe just began singing a song and the others joined in. They sang and praised with such beautiful, strong voices and most of all they danced to it with passion.


The preaching was the most fascinating part. It began slow and quite. Only a few people were nodding to the message the prophet tried to bring to them. Then the first one started shouting out in agreement. Shortly after more joined in. They lifted up their hands and waved to the prophet. It got very loud as people jumped from their seats in passion and shouted to the preacher. They all looked as if they were in trance, their minds captured by the presence of their God. Suddenly a woman, lets call her Nomthandazo (meaning Prayer) screamed in agony. Her body bent and she fell on the floor. A man came and covered her small body with a red blanket; nobody else seemed to have noticed her fall. That is how caught up they were with their own God in their own minds.

Later, when everything was over and the fallen woman sitting safe on her chair again, Spihwe told me that Nomthandazo had been touched by God´s spirit.

Now I don´t say that I believe that Nomthandazo was touched by God but that her believe is so strong that she faints for her God really fascinated me.


The happy township people and me

The most important thing I learned during my 2 weeklong stay in the Kamhlushwa township near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga is that you don’t need much money to have a beautiful life. You don’t need money to be open, you don’t need money to be generous and most of all you don’t need money to be happy.


I know that most of you think you know that; I also thought I knew it before I got to know those south-african township people. They really have nothing but a small house, maybe a little bit of electricity and the toilet is a hole in the ground behind the house.

Beautiful me after I killed the chicken
Traditional chicken feet

They eat as little as possible because they don´t have a penny to waste but they still made my plate full every day and gave me the best pieces of meat they had. Many times the neighbours came over to bring me food as well so that I was never hungry. That is how generous the township people are; they have nothing but they still give you everything.

They also shared their culture with me. They showed me their traditional clothing, they taught me to dance their cultural dance, they thought me how to cook their food (I even slaughtered a chicken) and to speak Siswati. A friend even gave me the Siswati name DSCN5664“Tandiwe”, which means “the loved one”.

Nearly all children go to school there but education is poor and the students have no great perspective in life after metric. That is because most of them repeat many grades due to pregnancies (half of the girls in my class were already mothers) or no discipline in class. In most rooms there were about 65 students and not enough tables and chairs so it is very hard for the teacher to control the class.

Especially the girls have not much time to study because they have to cook at home and take care of the many children. That’s why many of them start sexual relationships with teachers in order to pass the grade.


Still, and probably because of that entire people there are just happy with what they have. That really amazed me and I learned so much from everyone I met there. They changed my perspective in and on live and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to live with them for a while.


Why are we stuck on our farm?


Why are we stuck on our farm? Well, actually we are not. We could leave the farm-by foot-which would take us about one hour to reach the next house and about five hours to get to the edge of Middleburg and another 20 minutes to reach the first grocery store, because food is the first thing we will run out of if our situation doesn’t improve. No, it´s the second thing because we already ran out of water (again) but that is another story.

To get back to our question:

DSCN4370We cannot go anywhere because one wheel of our car is in pieces. To get to our house we need to drive on one of those red, bumpy and not prepared roads and exactly there it happened that a sharp stone pierced our wheel and-pfffff-it got flat. (Yes, I could really hear the air escaping.) And because we had already used our extra wheel in a similar incident a week ago and there was no help to get we had no other option than to drive on. I think there is not much more to say now; the rubber of the wheel was totally ripped in pieces when we got home.

So that´s why we are stuck on the farm until Uncle Johan comes and brings us another wheel. That will be in a few days, so our situation is not that hopeless at all.

(I wrote this story when I was still living on a farm)