This is great news!

The Cape Leopard Trust have been doing some sterling work in the Boland area logging details of known leopards, as well as using camera traps and physical traps to monitor the health and distribution of these splendid creatures in the Cape.


What a privilege too to know that some of the routes we mountainbike on we also share with some leopards.









On the news today there's an article about the results of last year's census here in South Africa. Here's the BBC's take on it: South Africa's census: Racial divide continuing.

Given how the media likes to sensationalise stuff and focus on the negatives the article leads with the grim statistic that the black majority are paid six times less than their white counterparts.

In typical fashion Jacob Zuma has done little to acknowledge the problem or to address it, preferring instead to retreat into political rhetoric about how the ANC have done more than any previous government to deal with the issues. Thing is, they've been the only government since the end of apartheid.

Normally I avoid politics here in SA, mainly because I can't vote and partly because we used to be with a mission organisation that prohibited its members from getting involved. The second reason is no longer valid but I'm still unable to vote despite being a permanent resident with a constitutional right to remain in the country.

So here and now I will state categorically that the government is entirely responsible for this grim statistic! Since the inception of Black Economic empowerment (BEE) they have been very focused on making sure that the means of production are in the hands of the black majority as much as possible. In reality this means that the well connected have profited nicely whilst the majority remain in poverty. Anyone who disagrees needs to get off their backside and go into a township or two!

Even worse than this though is the fact that the government continues to ignore the one true avenue of BEE, namely to level the academic playing field. If the government raised the standard of education in the poorer communities to the same level as that in the wealthier communities things would begin to change massively. For that to happen though teachers need to be paid a living wage. Currently a university educated teacher earns less than a miner! Schools should be resourced and teachers should be trained to use the resources to benefit the pupils to their maximum effect. Tragically here in SA much of the best work being done in schools is facilitated by NGO's and charities thereby relieving government of its obligations.

I truly believe that until this happens the disparity between the white minority and black majority will continue. Sure some will get fat and rich off the spoils of BEE, especially the well connected but as most Americans can testify, positive discrimination does not work.

Martin Luther King had a dream in which he believed that one day his children would be judged on the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin. I'm convinced that he would have seen education as being pivotal in his dream. Sadly in many aspects of society, both here and around the world this dream is far from being realised.
What a great weekend!

On Friday we joined with Every Nation here in Somerset West for their conference. They were hosting a guy called Marc Dupont who despite looking like a skinny Robin Williams was very good. We were particularly taken with his exposition of the name El Shaddai meaning God who is able to do that which you can't do for yourself. That is definitely our experience!

I was a bit reluctant to go on Friday simply because I had been struggling all week to put my sermon together for Sunday. I was planning to continue on "Come with us and we will treat you well", looking at the whole thing of loving our neighbours but I just couldn't get anywhere. So after eventually waiting on God I felt it was right to revisit the story of Joseph, one of my fav' stories in the bible. I was looking at it from the perspective of 'when bad things happen to good people'. Joseph certainly had his fair share of bad things happen and yet despite how bleak things got God still had a plan for his life and his hand was still on Joseph. What was amazing was that the theme of the morning was about how folk are struggling with bad things at present, so this was definitely a word in season. God is good!

Sunday was then topped off with another visit to Every Nation's conference. We were blessed to join them for their final session and again Marc was brilliant. We felt he picked up on the theme from my sermon in the morning and carried it to another level. God is amazing!

We got home very late and the boys stumbled into bed at a very uncharacteristic 10pm but we felt very refreshed!
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Superkids!

Our boys' school is having its bi-annual production at the Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West this week and for the first time Joel has one of the speaking roles as the Policeman. Part of his role is to lead the other policemen including Eli.

I managed to sneak a photograph (yes I turned the flash off) which isn't very good but it does at least show Joel with his truncheon and Eli (3rd from left) disappearing under his bobbies helmet.

It was a great evening and we're very proud of our boys!

Baptisms

We just had to share this post from Tree Of Life's web page (http://www.treeoflifechurch.co.za) about our baptisms in Mitchell's Plain yesterday....

"This Sunday we had the privilege of joining with our family at Church of Love & Grace in Mitchell's Plain to baptise three of our members together with eight of theirs.

We had an amazing time in God's presence with one of our member's granddaughter being saved. Hallelujah!

In the midst of our gathering we also honoured Martin & Mercia who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Martin was then involved in baptising his youngest daughter who had given her life to Jesus just last Sunday.

We thank God for an awesome time in his presence and look forward to doing this again very soon!"

It really was great to watch people stepping out in obedience to Jesus and to honour family in the same gathering.

Click here to see the full photo album.

You can follow Tree Of Life Church on their blog or on their Facebook page, even if you're not signed up to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tree-Of-Life-Church/309590142425854