On Saturday, I was invited 300km north to attend Youth Council in Polokwane. On the way, I stopped at a service station. It was not long before someone knocked on my window. He told me he had travelled 600km on the promise of a job as a cleaner. He had given his new “boss” 1000 rand for the job (£80) and then his boss had disappeared. He wanted to hitch hike to Johannesburg, regrettably the wrong direction. He told me his name was David and that he was terrified of spending another night sleeping in the open. I did my best to encourage him. In Africa, there are millions of Davids, searching desperately for jobs.
I had a great time at the Youth Council meeting in Polokwane. Young people in the Presbyterian Church have their own distinct uniform. They were preparing for a big weekend in July but found time in a busy agenda to allow me to gather the data I needed about their views on the future of the Presbyterian Church.
That evening I travelled to Lebowakgomo in an old homeland area of the province. I am well protected, the local minister, who does not have a car, travelled 50km by public transport, to meet me and ensure I found the right way. It is amazing how people put themselves out here to help each other. The homelands were areas reserved under apartheid for particular tribes. I was told that tribal rule is still the main form of local government here. I felt conspicuous as the only white person in town, but was made to feel very welcome by everyone that I met. I was invited to give the message at the morning service. I am grateful that they understood English as the rest of the Sotho. That said the tin roof began to shake and rattle as soon as the folk began to sing.