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Living Art: Malusi’s Story

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Growing up in the rural community of Bergville, Malusi Manzini’s passion for artwork, creativity and recycling began with creating one model of a rural home out of cardboard.  At first, Malusi did not plan on using his God-given talent in creative arts. However, with a family of four brothers and two sisters and no one working at home, he managed to use his creativity to support his family.  Malusi made more artwork out of the materials he could find, such as plastic materials and cardboard, and sold them to raise income each month.

After matriculating, Malusi moved to Chesterville in 2012 to live with his brother, and was able to study Social Work at UNISA.   He continued to create artwork as he completed his Social Work practical in the community.

“After moving away from a rural area towards the city of Durban, I was so fascinated by the kind of lifestyle lived here. I could easily draw the difference in the type of infrastructure found here in the city with the ones in the rural areas, I was so motivated by this difference that I even decided to take a picture of one of the houses and tried to build it into a smaller scale using cardboard as part of recycling.”

During this time, he met Nomakaya Mpambaniso, CAST’s Chesterville Community Co-ordinator, who took an interest in his artwork.  Nomakaya encouraged Malusi to showcase his artwork at West City Fellowship (WCF) in Chesterville, and she also connected Malusi with CAST’s Youth Development Programme.

Excited about the opportunity, Malusi joined CAST as a volunteer soccer coach working with 23 boys between the ages of 13-15 years old.  However, he envisioned the programme to go beyond just sports.  Malusi realised that some of the boys showed artistic potential, so he developed a formal Creative Arts Programme.

The boys use recycled plastic materials and cardboard to create their artwork.  CAST and WCF also support Malusi’s programme by donating materials such as brushes, paint, scissors and glue.

“I like to work with the younger boys and share stories.  I tell them to try to be creative, try to make your own things.  Don’t depend on your parents.  I encourage the boys to finish matric and go to university.”

Malusi and his boys are looking forward to attending the upcoming CAST boys2Men Camp in October.  Although Malusi has not attended the camp previously, he believes this will be a good opportunity for his boys to develop values such as respect and self-determination, while also spending quality time with peers to share ideas and support each other in learning how to become strong men.

In the past month, ten boys from Malusi’s programme have raised the necessary funds (R200/$15 per boy) to attend camp.  CAST still needs to raise another R350/$27 per boy to cover the entire cost of 60 boys attending camp.  This is a unique opportunity for the boys to experience life outside of their community, grow in their walk with the Lord and learn more about what it means to become a man.  If you are interested in sponsoring one of Malusi’s boys to go to boys2Men camp or donating art supplies for the Creative Arts Programme, please contact George at: george@cast.org.za or 079 596 7364

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Spinach & Soccer

 

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Rain or shine, you won’t find Sibu sitting in his house.

A typical day for Sibu starts with tending his farm: cabbage, spinach, green pepper, mealies and green beans.  By noon he is finished and ready to help out in his community.  Between attending Noodsberg Baptist Church, coaching CAST’s Noodsberg soccer team, participating in CAST’s Business Forum and teaching community members how to farm, Sibu keeps busy.

Sibu first started giving back to his community by coaching soccer.  He noticed that the boys did not have a coach – you can read the full story here.

But as Sibu explains,”The aim is not about soccer, it’s about the church.”

It was at boys2Men camp last year that Sibu came to know Jesus, which changed his life forever.  Now Sibu wants his boys on the soccer team to also experience the same transformation.

That’s why he has the team pray when they finish playing, and makes sure that the boys are in church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

It’s why he visits the boys at home, connecting with their families and getting to know the challenges they face.

It’s why he teaches the boys how to farm, and gives them a chance to get work experience.

As a ‘big brother’, Sibu walks alongside his boys, preparing them for adulthood.  He encourages them to stay in Noodsberg, because he knows the importance of having positive role models for the younger children.

More recently, Sibu has been involved with CAST’s Business Forum in Noodsberg.  After 3 months he became a Paradigm Shift trainer, as he found more and more people approaching him to learn about farming.

This month Sibu decided to raise money for home gardens in Noodsberg by selling seedlings.  In a matter of just a few minutes, he raised R150.

Sibu explains his motivation for this project, “I want people not to ask me for food, but to grow their own food – that’s why I am selling seedlings.”

Volunteers like Sibu, who are passionate about their communities, are vital to sustainable community development in the areas where CAST works.  Sibu is using simple opportunities like farming spinach and coaching soccer to transform his community for the Kingdom of God.  If you would like to know more about how you can become a CAST volunteer like Sibu, email volunteers@cast.org.za to find out more information.

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Meet the Coaches: Sibu & Jackie

In honour of the upcoming Youth Day holiday next week, CAST would like to introduce two of our new coaches working with youth in the community:

Sibu

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“Our aim is to change lives.”

Sibu’s heart for the boys in his community is evident.  Growing up without a mom, Sibu is able to identify with many of the boys in Noodsberg who don’t have a parent actively present in their lives.

Originally from Tongaat, Sibu ended up in Noodsberg fifteen years ago after he became very sick.  A gogo took him in and after Sibu recovered, the gogo saw Sibu’s potential for farming and encouraged him to pursue growing mealies.

When CAST brought Paradigm Shift to Noodsberg, Sibu was quick to join.  It was at business forum that Sibu learned all about networking, which motivated him to ask Bongani, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Coordinator, about volunteering with the boys soccer team.

Sibu knocked on Bongani’s office door at the CAST Community Centre and said, “Give me your boys!”

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Sibu (back row, on the right with soccer ball) and his team

True to his word, Sibu began training with the boys every weekday.  He coaches a large group of boys, ranging from 13-23 years old.  They train on a very small, informal pitch on the side of a field.  The boys barely have enough room to run, but they have come to really enjoy being part of a team and having a consistent coach.

Despite all the challenges, Sibu says of coaching, “I like to be among people and tell them how life is.”

Sibu also has a desire to give back to his boys by teaching them how to farm.  He wants them to not only be part of a team, but also develop a life skill they can use in the future.

Jackie

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A year ago, CAST started our very first sports team for girls.  This initial tennis team in KwaDabeka has led to another girls basketball team in that community, as well as a girls netball team in Chibini.

One of the challenges CAST’s Youth Development Department has faced is finding female coaches for these teams.  After posting a notice in the Westville Baptist Church bulletin for a tennis coach, CAST finally heard from a community member who was interested.

Jackie first approached CAST after hearing about the coaching opportunity from one of her friends who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Interested in development work, Jackie was happy to utilize her experience in tennis.  Under the direction of a new coach, the girls have grown in their tennis skills.

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CAST relies on volunteers like Sibu and Jackie, who are passionate about reaching out to youth in the community.  Without these volunteers, who consistently give of their time each week, CAST would be unable to run our youth programmes and offer sports opportunities to the youth.  All of our programmes at CAST are “grassroot” by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.

CAST is still looking for a girls basketball coach in KwaDabeka.  If you are interested in coaching, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za or 0795967364.

In addition, this coming Tuesday, 16 June, CAST will be hosting a Youth Day Celebration at KwaDabeka Baptist Church from 10am-2pm.  Please feel free to join us as we celebrate the youth of KwaDabeka!

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Nathi the Noble Cake-baker

noble /ˈnəʊb(ə)l/
adjective
Definition: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles.

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Before boys2Men camp, Nathi was a not-so-noble teenager, disrespecting his parents and drifting into friendships with not-so-good guys.  The kind of friends that smoke things they shouldn’t and drop out of school.  But then last year Nathi signed up for boys2Men camp, not sure what to expect, and unaware of how camp would radically change his life.

Aside from playing soccer and hanging out with friends, camp provided Nathi an opportunity to reflect on his life and walk with Christ, and make the necessary changes.  Nathi came back from camp with a different attitude, ready to help out at home with tasks that he used to deem as “the stuff that girls do”, like washing the dishes.  As a young man growing up in a rural community such as Noodsberg, boys are expected to help with things outside the home, like caring for cattle or goats while girls help with the housework.  However, as one of nine siblings, Nathi found plenty of housework to help out with at home.

Nathi took things a step further when he began to invite his old, “not-so-good” friends to Noodsberg Baptist Church.  Some of those friends even organised a group (with the help of some ladies in the church) to bake cakes for the community.  Nathi became the “Noble Cake-baker” by allowing God to transform his life at camp.  This decision not only impacted Nathi and his family but also his friends and the greater community.

Nathi believes that, “Even though we are still young, we can do something.”

Now, Nathi is 18 years old and in Matric.  Excited about the future, he can only narrow down his career options to four areas of study: nursing, teaching, agriculture, or correctional studies.  This coming weekend he will be attending boys2Men camp for a second time, where Nathi will hear about God’s vision for his life, the theme of camp this year.

Nathi is one of 60 young men from CAST communities that have been specifically selected for their leadership potential and ability to give back to their communities.  Please be in prayer not only for the boys attending camp, but also for the older men who will play a father-figure and mentor role for our boys at camp.  Over the years, CAST has been working to break the cycle of fatherlessness through the impact of boys2Men camp.  Our prayer is that the young men in CAST’s Youth Development Programme will become noble men of character, who love God, their families, and greater community.

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A Light in Chibini

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Meet Mr. and Mrs. Khumalo, who lead a church in Chibini.  They have grown an extraordinary children’s ministry, bringing many young people to their church to hear the Gospel.  Baba and Mama Khumalo shine brightly in their community.  Meanwhile a whole ocean away, a group of Americans heard their story and decided to help build a playground in Chibini so that children would have a safe place to play.

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To celebrate the playground, CAST, along with the visiting American team, put on a holiday club in Chibini this week.  Before the holiday club even started, the Khumalo’s church blasted music to promote CAST’s event, which led to an impromptu revival for the community!

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At first, the children trickled in slowly.  However, once word spread about a new playground and American peanut butter sandwiches, the masses came flooding in.  By the time the sun was setting on Wednesday afternoon, CAST had 176 children listening to the American team share the story of David and Goliath through a translator.

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The theme of holiday club is how God has created each child as unique and special.  All the crafts and activities are centred around the movie Khumba, which is about a unique half-striped zebra who ends up saving all the animals in his community.  CAST’s prayer is that the children will come to know that Jesus loves them deeply and has created each child to be a light in their community.

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Also meet Sihle, another individual who has become a light to the youth in Chibini.  Sihle is only 19 years old, but he coaches a soccer team in Chibini.  Sihle’s journey began when Bongani Mkhize, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Coordinator, invited Sihle to boys2Men camp.  At camp, Sihle learned about being a light in his community.  He came back to begin a soccer team of boys aged 13 to 18 years old.  The boys play without a proper soccer ball, shoes, markers, or jerseys.  The uneven open field they play on is nothing close to a proper pitch, but the boys come faithfully to practise.  Sihle always prays with his boys and encourages them to focus on soccer and school.  In a community where father figures are largely absent, Sihle is able to be a light by pointing his boys to Christ.

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As holiday club comes to an end this week, we pray that this week will be the beginning of many children coming to know and love Jesus through light of individuals like the Baba & Mama Khumalo and Sihle.  Remember to pray for Chibini!

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Youth Day 2014

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Mandela spoke these words on the second anniversary of Youth Day in South Africa,

This generation of youth stands at the border-line between the past of oppression and repression, and the future of prosperity, peace and harmony.

Today’s generation of youth face the same challenges on the “border-line” of change.  Social issues like drug abuse, fatherlessness, poverty, and HIV/AIDS face the young people today, especially in the communities where CAST works.

On Monday, CAST remembered the Soweto uprising in 1976 through a Youth Day celebration in KwaDabeka.  Local youth celebrated through basketball, soccer, dance, and music.

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Ambu Madilonga, Westville Baptist Church’s Youth Director, spoke to the youth about the Soweto Uprising and the meaning of Youth Day in South Africa.  Ambu shared his story about meeting Jesus and also about the importance of young people.

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The theme of KwaDabeka’s Youth Day Celebration was “Young, Gifted, & Blessed”.  The focus was on the value and worth of young people, and finding their God-given purpose.  While there are many obstacles and challenges facing the youth in CAST’s programmes, Youth Day 2014 was a reminder of the bright future that God has in store for every young person.