Business trip to Lidgetton

This Easter weekend, we were on something of a business trip to the small town of Howick, known for its falls, about an hour’s drive north of Durban, and the village where Veto, two years ago, helped build a orphanage and a school. We were now here to get an understanding of the current situation, progress, and possible future requirements, as there might be a few bucks available to spend on the project again in the near future.

Our ‘tourguide’ is the likeable and extremely energetic John Tungay who, at 70, has the enthusiasm of someone decades his junior. Founder of the Drakensberg boys’ choir school, former secretary to Margaret Thatcher, former bigwig at the SABC (the South African equivalent of the BBC), inventor of the word amperbroekie and, now, the driving force behind Khazimula.

At the end of Saturday, while copying my digital images onto a DVD, I noticed a video on one of the shelves with a sticker, The weakest link, with a date in 2004. I commented on it. In that particular show, one of the questions was “Who was the founder of the Drakensberg boys’ choir school?”. “They had the answer in one go.” John said.

Second try

In 2000, my fraternity built a house in Beius, Romania, with Habitat for Humanity. In 2005, we thought we could do one better and organize a similar trip on our own. Through an acquaintance, we bumped into John’s Khazimula project in the village of Lidgetton, near Howick. Although the boys slept at Khazimula (“to shine”), most of the work was done on the nearby school Jabula (“happy”).

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Worth it?

At Khazimula, only since January, 21 kids now live who seem to be enjoying their stay. They go to school at Jabula, a short drive down the road. Here, unfortunately, the metalwork and woodwork classrooms, which were the ones worked on by Veto two years ago, still have not been used, mostly due to unreasonable local authorities exercising their power and, undoubtedly, venting their frustration at not having control.

Activities on the side

Besides visiting Khazimula, during a weekend when the weather resembled Dutch crappy, gloomy, cold and rainy, weather, we also were dragged to several social events: A Zulu boy’s 21st birthday, the opening of an art gallery exhibition and a boat trip on Midmar lake.