At 6.00am on Friday morning we got a call to pray as a huge wind was threatening to blow the marquee away! Many were called to get on their knees. At 7.00am, Des our choreographer, was about to begin the final rehearsal with the children. The workers were trying to keep the tent pegs in the ground. It felt as if everything was about to take off!
As they began playing the first song “we are walking in the light of God”, calmness descended on the marquee and the wind swung around from the west to the east. It was no longer a threat…. we serve a mighty God who is able to do all things….
It was a celebration that none of us will forget, as government officials, business men and women, church leaders, friends, and our VIPs, the children, came together to celebrate and give thanks to God for what He has done. He has brought us together and shown us what we can do when we work, shoulder to shoulder, to transform broken lives.
The Premier of KZN, Dr Zweli Mkhize, had to meet Prince Charles, and his entourage, during the time of the official proceedings, but was able to come earlier and spend 2 hours of precious quality time with the children and the mothers. They sang and danced for him, along with our farm workers, who did a very professional rendition of the Gumboot Dance. The children then took him on a tour of their homes, proudly showing him their beds and toys, and their school. We had to coax him away from a very serious game of cards with our little 4 year old girl, who ‘stole the show’, and the other children, who were teaching him how to play, and after viewing their classrooms, hamsters, silkworms and other projects, they planted a tree together. This was indeed a very special time. He addressed the press and reiterated the government’s commitment to this unique partnership between government, business and the church, to complete this village and then roll them out across the province. Here are some lovely photo’s of the event.
The children were outstanding as they sang and danced their hearts out, alongside their mothers, in front of a packed marquee of over 600 guests. Between their performance and Tich’s speech, there wasn’t a dry eye that day.
Our MC for the day was well known children’s TV presenter, storyteller, playwright and songwriter, Gcina Mhlope. She was a perfect fit as she engaged with the guests and especially the children, who she referred to as the real VIPs. She commented that ‘children’ was the password for her to be there because of her love for them. She presented LIV with copies of her children’s books and CDs she has written and produced, and committed to coming back to spend time with them once the library is built, to give them a hunger and thirst for reading and learning. We were honoured to have her as our MC.
Tich took us on a journey of where it all started to where we are today. He thanked all the LIV partners for their support, and for taking a risk with us.
Ms Maggie Govender, MEC for housing, spoke on behalf of the Premier, and reiterated their support for LIV and their belief in this model being the solution for the orphan crisis we face as a province and nation.
Our new mayor, James Nuxmalo, attended and was very encouraged by what he saw and would want the city to become more involved with the village. They have approved a grant of 5 million rand to build a factory which will be used to train, skill and employ many people from the neighbouring community.
After the speeches everyone enjoyed lunch and a tour of the homes and school buildings.
It was truly a day to remember. Another milestone in the life of LIV.
Together we can.