by Reingard Knausenberger and Shirley Marais
Having completed their tasks in Port Alfred, Shirley and Hennie are now part of the Afrikara Community living on the Hoekiesdam Farm in the western Cape. Afrikara (meaning ‘Spirit of Africa’) is a bio-dynamic training facility for student farmers wanting to learn sustainable agriculture and food security. Their training includes bio-dynamic principles, according to Rudolf Steiner, which are practiced on this farm.
Surrounded by conventional large-scale farming for the export market, Afrikara in contrast puts effort into healing the earth, improving the soil and not putting strain on existing resources and serving the local market.
In Port Alfred Hennie worked as a journalist for 15 years, first in mainstream media and then ran his own highly successful digital (online) newspaper for seven years. He shut that down last year, because he needed an operation on his shoulder and his surgeon banned him from using a keyboard for at least six weeks. He had been seriously considering making wooden toys and creating an online shop for anyone making toys and other things, and that is one of the things he is currently setting up, also with the aim of providing woodwork training to the agricultural students at Afrikara.
Shirley started off working as a journalist, with Hennie, mainly writing travel and entertainment articles and doing the language editing. This led to her becoming the chairperson of the Forum for Astronomy, Science and Technology, and doing various other miscellaneous things. She completed a Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing at Rhodes University two years ago and started teaching creative writing. She also qualified as a Life Alignment practitioner and will continue doing all those things at Afrikara, as well as managing the spaces and accommodation there.
Hennie has taken charge of maintenance for the Community. Both are also involved in various aspects of training and supporting the Afrikara ideals. They also focus on expanding the non-agricultural earning potential of the Afrikara Community, such as creating holiday cottages and a backpacker facility.
The farm also hosts children and high school camps and volunteers, and is also currently training three student farmers, one of whom is Jason Higgins, who are registered with the Bio-Dynamic Association.
The farm is also an incubator for the Breede Valley Rehabilitation Initiative, particularly addressing the water crisis.
by Rev. Reingard Knausenberger
Derek (*13.12.44) met the Christian Community at the time his 2 young children were going to Kindergarten and primary school. When his wife became ill with cancer and then died, leaving him with the children, he found a strong support in the church community. As a civil engineer specialised in noise impact assessments in road and traffic engineering, his work projects took him away from home for extended periods. He did a lot of ground-breaking work, e.g. for the Gautrain project by setting all the standards for the contractors. Until recently he was still running his own business, together with his wife Erica. After a series of operations, which have taken their toll on him, he has closed his business and has a very reduced radius of mobility. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 22 years ago; he is now in the constant care of two carers and his loving wife at their home in Pretoria. His sense of humour and quick wit are still his signature when one meets him. And his interest in people and events in the community a constant life-thread of connecting.
He is very grateful for the prayers and good thoughts from the community and of not being forgotten.
by Leila Kuhlmann
Cindy Spencer suffered a stroke in the early hours of Friday, 26th April 2019 at her home in Merweville in the Great Karoo. She was only found in the late afternoon on Friday and arrived by ambulance at the Mediclinic Hospital in George at 04h30 on Saturday morning. By then it was too late for early intervention treatment for stroke victims. Cindy is paralyzed on the left side of her body from a stroke that happened on the right side of the brain. She spent most of May 2019 in a Spescare rehabilitation home in George.
Cindy remains a fighter and is getting stronger, but the doctors say that she will need frail care with 24-hour nursing going forward. Her speech has already improved greatly and she is mentally strong. Her cognitive abilities have not been impaired by the stroke. It is going to be a long road ahead and life changing for her and us as a family.
Cindy’s sense of humour is also still intact, and she has been working hard with her physiotherapists and occupational therapists. She has had three hours of therapy a day. Cindy says that after the stroke “it’s like being in prison in your own body”.
The family is preparing to bring Cindy to Johannesburg where they are looking for a suitable frail care home. Paul, Leila and the family are shattered by this event as it was the last thing one would think would happen to Cindy. Cindy was happy and well in Merweville and had planned to live there till she died. Now she will not be going back to Merweville, which she loves and where she is happy, unless a miracle happens.
Some images of Cindy's life in Merweville
The labyrinth and spiral (see the town's church in the background)
Update in June 2019
by Leila Kuhlmann
After visiting many homes with frail care, the most pleasant and suitable home for her is The Village Bryanston. She has her own private room and bathroom and little garden, sunny bright and light. It is a pleasant place to visit, not reminiscent of a hospital at all. It feels like home. It has been furnished specifically for her. She moved in on Wednesday, 19th June. Visitors are always welcome. Cindy will be needing a lot of visits and attention as she has lost her life in the Karoo. She is still paralysed on the left and trying her best to walk with help.
Where are they now?
Members of our congregation move away from Johannesburg. Whenever they visit us they feel immediately at home. In part this is through receiving our monthly newsletter. We too would hope to remain connected through these posts and learn something of their lives and where they are now living.
The Act of Consecration of Man
Wednesday see programme
Saturday (in German) 09h00
Sunday Service for Children
2nd & 4th Sundays 10h00 - 11h00