Wednesday 7th April 2010 will always be a landmark date in our city, as government, business and churches came together for the biggest banquet ever held at the ICC.
LIV (Lungisisa Indlela Village) hosted a banquet for 4,000 guests to launch the vision for the first LIV children’s village.
The eThekwini municipality was represented by the mayor, the honourable Mr. Obed Mlaba.
Government was represented by KZN Premier, Dr. Zwele Mkize, and many other MEC’s were present. There were also a number of senior members of the SAP and the leaders of the Democratic Alliance and ACDP.
The Premier, speaking from the heart, pledged his full support for this initiative, which could be the solution to this major problem of the orphans that faces the country.
Shaun Pollock, former South African cricket captain, made an outstanding Master of Ceremonies as he guided us through the evening’s proceedings.
Rory Dyer, leader of Glenridge Church, spoke on the Father Heart of God. He challenged the men of the city to rise up and take their rightful place, once more, in the family and community. Many men were deeply moved.
The Watoto children’s choir, made up of orphans from the Watoto villages in Uganda, stole the hearts of every person as they sang and danced with passion and energy. They presented a very polished and heart rendering performance.
They arrived in Durban on Monday 5th and were hosted by families from Harvest church in Umhlanga. Many lives were touched by these children and their 12 chaperones as they witnessed their joy and wholeness, that they were no longer orphans, because of the Watoto villages in Uganda.
The ICC, together with the LIV staff and 130 volunteers from local churches, partnered together to produce an incredible 5 star, professionally run banquet, including a most outstanding three course dinner.
We are proud to have such a well run world class facility, as the ICC, in our city.
After the main buffet meal, Tich Smith, the founder and visionary of LIV, shared the vision and the challenge for business, government and churches to work together and take up the responsibility, to turn our biggest problem, namely the ever increasing number of orphans, into the solution, as, together, we rescue these broken lives, bring restoration and raise future leaders, turning scars into stars. Raised and nurtured in a loving environment where they will receive holistic healing and the best education, they, in turn, will make a difference in the future of this country.
Tich shared that the first LIV farm had been purchased in Cottonlands, outside Verulam, and the first family are already in residence.
He appealed to all at the banquet to partner together to roll out this first village which will have 120 homes, sports fields, clinic, and a top school from crèche to matric. The school will be run by Margot Reid, ex head of Durban Girls College, and present head of Umhlanga College. A business training centre will embrace the local community and provide vocational training, and hopefully jobs will be created in the future.
The plight of our orphans, is everyone’s problem, said Tich Smith, and he reiterated that we all had a responsibility to care for them, and a role to play in ensuring we leave a lasting legacy for future generations, for our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy living in our beautiful country.
Tich shared a story that inspired and changed the way he thought. He read a book on the life of Charles Mulli, who was a street child from the age of 6, became a successful businessman in Kenya, and eventually gave it all up to rescue and care for the street children in Nairobi. When asked how he would describe prosperity, he replied: ‘prosperity, through the eyes of God, is a changed life. When you can take a child off the street and change his life and he, in turn, touches and changes other lives, then you are livng a prosperous life.’
John Smit, our South African rugby captain, spoke about what it means to be a successful team player and how important it is to focus, not on yourself and your needs, but on those around you. He encouraged everyone to get onto the playing field and join the team to build this village.
Shaun and John asked everyone to consider where and how they could partner with LIV and to fill in their pledge cards.
The Watoto choir brought the evening to a close with a further outstanding performance, sharing testimony on how the Watoto villages had changed their lives, and each one shared what they wanted to be when they grow up.
This was surely a night to remember, that will, hopefully, change the face of our province, as we become known as the province and, eventually, the nation who looks after their children. It’s time. Let’s play.