ROSWITHA GROTH, born 14th February 1933, with her husband Werner (died 2006), were part of the Camphill movement in Scotland. When Renate Sleigh, who had already moved to South Africa in the 1960’s with Julian, said to her: “it is easier to find Christ in South Africa than in Europe. Traditions fall away and you have to find Christ from within and the cosmic Christ in your work”, she struck a deep chord in Roswitha’s heart. To find and serve Christ was her calling. So, the Groth’s decided to have a look and came to South Africa. Quickly it was clear, apartheid was not going to work for them, so they travelled further north into Botswana, one of the ten poorest countries in the world at the time.
To their surprise, circumstances converged to give them a starting point outside a village between Lobatse and Gabarone, a run-down abandoned farmhouse. They returned soon thereafter with their nearly five small children and began to take in mentally disabled children as part of the family, financing themselves. Rankoromane School for disabled children was founded in 1974.
In the 1980’s the need to extend opportunities for the children led to the founding of Motse Wa Badiri (Village of Workers) for adults and finally Legodimo (Paradise) for youth.
From the beginning to this day, the Children’s Service and Youth Service (as given by Rudolph Steiner) are celebrated every week in Setswana by a dedicated group of teachers; The Act of Consecration of Man has also been celebrated from the outset 3-4 times a year by a visiting priest from Johannesburg. We are each other’s closest neighbours. Roswitha retired from the school after Werner died, and moved to Mokolodi nearer to Gabarone into a cottage close to her children. She is still active in giving spiritual backing to the school and always is there for the Act of Consecration. The school and Roswitha are well worth visiting if anyone ‘happens to be in the area’.
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.