Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Please send me an e-mail if you were at one of these camps or just leave a message.




Wednesday, June 17, 2009

During the 1950’s the Methodist Church organized youth camps in Zululand to build churches, schools, hospitals and manses for the ministers. This was a great opportunity for young people to serve. During my years at University I was able to go to some of these camps and they were a highlight of my life at that time. It was quite safe for us to move around the area living in tents. These camps probably had an influence in my decision to work for the Department of Bantu Administration and Development after graduating. Had I still been working in the bank I would of course not had this opportunity.

We often traveled in Ella an old Ford army bus. When it was bought it had Congella written on the side but the Cong was partly obliterated so it became Ella. The start of these work camps originated through the work we were doing at our youth camp site at Botha's Hill. In about 1946 the Methodist Church organised 'Camps' for the Young Peoples' Guilds at Kearsney College during the Easter vacation, and at Epworth Girls High School in Pietermaritzburg and a permanent campsite was developed by the guilders themselves. Work parties were organised, and rondavals and dormitories were built together with a leader's cottage.These camps continued into the 1970's. From this sprang the Sanctuary Singers and Wesley Singers, choirs which continued for many years, singing at various churches and on other occasions. The momentum gained from all this activity resulted in the work parties to Zululand. Our prime mover being the charismatic Bert Haley.

The first camp I was part of was to Manguzi near the border of South Africa and Mozambique in Maputoland, a large sandy area north of the Ubombo Mountains that was fairly sparsely populated. We were to build nurses quarters for the Hospital where Dr. Schwalbe was the resident doctor.

I have a number of old slides which have become very faded and lost their colour but they are clear enough to tell a story.
All these years later many have remained good friends and I am still in contact with some of them. Several couples married. Two of the 'girls', Colleen and June, have visited us here in New Zealand. Some are no longer with us and the rest are in their seventies and eighties. Those were good days,the best of days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Manguzi Hospital July 1954

The first work camp I attended was at the Manguzi Hospital in 1954. It was a new experience for me and many others as well. Royce Kincaid was there to get us started.Royce has just passed away, well into his nineties(26 May 2010) I remember him saying to us how important it was to use a building line to lay the blocks in a straight line and use a level and that the man with a straight eye died. We were to build new nurses quarters.The top two pictures were taken on our way home at Rutherfords Trading Store at Manguzi. The lower pictures in colour were taken in 1957 when we were at Kosi Bay. Manguzi Hospital was run by Dr.Schwalbe, Maputoland's own Albert Schweitzer.The bottom picture is part of the hospital
On our visit to the hospital a church service was held.
After our return home later in the year the Pietermaritzburg group held a cake sale outside the old Presbyterian Church in Church Street with the proceeds going towards a diesel electric lighting plant.
Since those days over fifty years ago the hospital has changed a great deal so look here

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ingwavuma July 1955

In July 1955 we went up to Ingwavuma to build a manse for the African Minister at Ingwavuma . We were unable to finish the work and went up later with the roofing material to put the roof on but our time was too short and did not accomplish it. Here Bruce, who became Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Psychology in Pietermaritzburg, and June are hard at work doing something. After this Bruce went to Princeton and did his PhD in psychometrics. He died tragically after being run over by a vehicle while walking his dog.June has also passed away(19/8/2010)

Nongoma and Mahlabatini July 1956

There were two projects for 1956. Two churches,one in Nongoma village and one in Mahlabatini. It was in Mahlabatini that I met Chief Gatsha Butelezi. He stopped and asked what we were doing. I stayed behind for ten days after the others had gone home to finish putting the asbestos roof on the Nongoma church.

The church in Nongoma was opened by the Rev Sudbury who was President of the Methodist Conference at the time I think.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

School at kwa Mazambana July 1957.

In July 1957 it was decided that a school should be built on the shores of Kosi Bay at kwaMazambana. It was mid winter yet the weather was sublime. Never too hot and never cold.There was no soil,just sand and more sand with water we could drink just a few feet below the surface.We camped in the shade of the trees not far from the building site. By now the gang was becoming quite experienced and we knew exactly how to go about laying the concrete blocks which had already been made and were on site. We had gone up in Ella which by now practically knew the way, climbing over the Ubombo mountains and then across the Makatini flats on nothing more than tracks in the sand.