“Bokamoso in 2023” by Jim Cawley and Connie Sullivan

An open hand full of mustard seeds

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

January 22, 2023

We were very disappointed that visa problems made it impossible for the young people from Bokamoso to visit us in person as they have done so many times in the past. Instead, Jim Cawley and Connie Sullivan, the Vice President and President of the Bokamoso Foundation, respectively, spoke to us about their own involvement with the program and their perceptions of how things are going. We also showed several videos of the young people singing, dancing, and speaking to us.

Here are links to the videos:

Remminneleng di Haleluya https://youtu.be/bUy2tisVK18

Lemagae https://youtu.be/wYvZ8coAnpA

Kamogelo’s Greeting https://youtu.be/lje7OJG3MZA

Yele Yele https://youtu.be/_F8D_4z6Dwo

Sarafina Dance https://youtu.be/QDVjJYxlzQc

Here are Jim’s notes for his portion of the sermon:

  1. Programmatic growth and change
    • More of a focus on the arts
      • In the Youth Development Program have always used the arts (dance, music, poetry, story-telling, drawing) to build confidence, provide a safe space for self-expression, work on problem solving;
      • In addition, the Centre is now focusing on the arts as a cultural expression
      • Through a grant from the State Arts and cultural Council have hired staff to become more technically proficient working with the youth
      • The Centre has developed a relationship with the State Theater in Pretoria – something like our Kennedy Center
    • Scholarship
      • Since 2008 – 300 Bokamoso Grads have gone on to post-secondary education through more than 500 scholarships – 71 of which were provided by the colleges and universities themselves.
      • In 2022 28 Bokamoso grads were enrolled in post-secondary education – 14 receiving Bokamoso-provided scholarships and 14 receiving university-provided scholarships
      • Youth studying Law, Policing, Business management, accounting, Beauty Therapy, graphic design
      • Bokamoso graduates have obtained employment in nursing, education, social work, banking, skilled trades, youth work, computer technology, the arts and media, business and industry.
  2. My own journey with Bokamoso – what keeps me involved
    • Connected for 20 + Years – deeply for past 13
    • 8 times I’ve had extended stays at the Centre 3 to 4 weeks – working with the youth and staff
    • Captivated by energy, resilience, joy, enthusiasm of the youth – and how they manage to overcome the challenges into which they are born
    • Building and maintaining relationships with Bokamoso and with the broader Winterveldt community
    • Seeing what a small investment can accomplish – how lives can be positively changed
    • Not always easy – there have been challenges with staff performance and relationships, the death of Bra Solly and the transition, establishing a local board
    • Throughout it all I know I’ve learned more – gotten more out of the relationship – than anything I’ve put in.
    • My major take away – South African concept of UBUNTU – I am because you are – we are bound together by our humanity – we are inextricably joined together in this journey through life – what affects you affects me.  Jesus taught UNBUNTU when he said love your neighbor – and again when he said pray for those who persecute you.
    • It has been through my experiences with Bokamoso and in South Africa that helped me understand the broadness and depth of Jesus’ UBUNTU.

The text of Connie’s remarks is not yet available.

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