28 Jan 2008
Centuries ago, a young man by the name of Shaka Zulu had a dream. He dreamed of a new land, a land of lasting wealth and freedom. The word “peZulu” means “heaven”. In generations to follow, the Zulu people grew to become the dominant kingdom of South Africa. Eventually, circumstances changed. Wealth and freedom crumbled. Little is left of the failed dream except the name “KwaZulu” … “the place of heaven”.
Others have had similar dreams though in different places and at different times. Some are little more than footprints in the sand. Children in a settlement near the city of Margate play out their dreams with their makeshift toys. They too make dreams in the sand. But for them, the paths to their future are littered with poverty, ancestor worship, racial, and cultural barriers, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A happy childhood and prosperous future for these children lives only in their dreams.
In a few years, these children will join others in a new dream … a dream of an education. An education that their parents have also dreamed about but few attained. The children dream of a future that will go beyond their crowded classrooms … a future that is not confined by man-made barriers. They sing of this dream. (on camera song) The smiles on their faces hide the uncertainty of their life at home.
For Zulu children, home may only have one parent and sometimes none. For some, their father will be gone for months at a time working in the mines or a big city were there are more jobs. If at home, … he spends his free time with coworkers and a bottle. The child’s mother must serve as both parents. For many children, both of their parents have already died of AIDS. The children depend upon their granny, other family members, or an orphanage for a place to call home.
For the older children, … attending school continues to be a challenge. They walk long distances. Many walk down paved roads while others walk across the fields. The playgrounds as well as the classrooms are crowded and have few facilities. Yet they can see a bit of the world around them. They are not far from a bright world, a world of cars, of huge buildings and many things to buy but for most poverty and lack of opportunity will close its doors on their dreams before they even have time to be fully formed. Many parents choose to finance the education of the child with the greatest potential for achievement. The parents pray that in the future the child will make it big and someday care for them. Meanwhile siblings left at home struggle to even have enough food to eat. Still, they dream of the luxury and privilege the white people have.
For young men and young women, discouragement, hard work, and the difficulty of finding jobs make the dreams harder to separate from reality. …. Surviving on low pay and long work hours takes its toll. This is the age where reality clashes violently with the dreams. Young men fall prey to those claiming to help by providing jobs; instead, they end up enslaved to gangs, selling drugs, stealing or illicit sex. Women often succumb to drugs, prostitution, and soon become pregnant. Many choose to have a baby in order to get the $30 a month from the government for childcare. …. Just as the dreams of this generation are lost, so it is with the young men and women as they end up infected with HIV/AIDS.
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers or whomever seeks to provide for their families work hard. Some harvest sugar cane. This is a back breaking and dirty job of cutting the cane, stacking it in piles, and then loading and hauling it to the processing plant. Working on plantations surrounded by a dense forest of banana trees enables workers to have a place to stay. Their employer provides a couple of concrete rooms per family in a communal area with a separate room for cooking and another for laundry. High concrete walls often surround the rooms blocking the sunlight.
The outside world is almost a mystery to these families. When first seeing themselves in the viewfinder of a video camera, they show conflicting emotions. They are confused … some are frightened … and still others laugh. It is strange. It is not of their world. Their dreams seldom go beyond the confines of the banana groves. They cannot break the stifling cycle of just meeting daily needs. They call on the sangomas or try to get the spirits of their dead ancestors to help, but no help comes. Their dream is to make it one day at a time.
LONG PAUSE …
In the community of Seaslopes, Alpheus Sibiya has a different dream. His church is reaching out with youth programs, music concerts, and discipleship training. It is the dream of this pastor that soon the church will be completed and the chairs filled with those who know Jesus as their Lord.
In this older church, Pastor Patrick dreams of sharing the love of Jesus with the many orphans in the area. With 6 children of his own, he barely makes enough money to provide food for his family but the church tries to provide something to over 20 orphans who come on Friday afternoons.
Using the “True Love Waits” program, missionaries teach young people the truth of God’s Word in schools, churches, and Bible Clubs. If Zulu young people will go against their culture and abstain from sex, they can someday find the dream family. They will not have to worry about HIV/AIDS and dying before they are 30.
For the most part, it is the Zulu women who have responded to the Gospel and faithfully attend church. However, the need is great for male leadership. Most Zulu men have rejected Jesus in favor of their cultural rights of manhood. Leadership training and in depth Bible studies are taught by missionaries. The dream and prayer is that adult men will better understand God’s Word and will soon take leadership roles in the church.
(Steve, Cala, Arline walking in settlement) You can be a part of this new dream. Won’t you come and walk among those who so desperately need God’s Word … a Word that transcends their circumstances.
Listen with your heart as these Zulu children sing …
Closing … Song from kids at the crčche (Come and help us!) + possibly Jesus Loves Me
OVERLAY during last part of song:
“Come over to ‘Zululand’ and help us!” … Acts 16:9
Alpheus Sibiya al fee us SAH bee ah
KwaZulu KWAH zoo lu
Margate MAR gate
Pastor Patrick Pastor Patrick
peZulu PAY zoo lu
Pietermaritzburg Peter MAIR its burg
Sangomas san GO mas
Shaka Zulu SHAH ka zoo lu
Zulu ZOO lu
AmaZulu AH’ ma ZOO lu
Dundee done DEE’
Empangeni eM pAhn GEN’ nee (GE as in get)
Isandlawana ee san DLWAH’ nah
KwaZulu KWA’ Zoo lu
KwaZulu Natal KWA’ Zoo lu nah TALL’
Shembe SHEM’ be
Shembites SHEM bites
Vasco de Gama
Zulu ZOO lu
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