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HISTORY OF IZIKO LOBOMI - CENTRE OF LIFE
Iziko Lobomi is a Church-cum-Adult Training Centre built by the HBCCA for the Christian community of Imizamo Yethu township. The building comprises fourteen steel shipping containers arranged in a ‘U’-shape covered by a single steel roof fixed to the containers, creating a central hall capable of seating 200+ people. The total floor area of the hall and adjacent rooms is: 474 square metres and it took 18 months to construct. The following is a short history of how Iziko Lobomi came to life and the parties involved, helping to make it possible:
A couple of white local churches (St. Peter’s Anglican and Valley (Baptist) Church) were closely involved with their fellow black brothers and sisters living in shacks (temporary shelters) in various parts of Hout Bay prior to 1993. This was despite the policy of the then ruling old apartheid government which did not favour or encouraged racial integration.
During the latter part of 1993 these two churches together with other local churches got together and formed the ‘United Christian Community Church’ which was to spearhead an initiative to assist the Christian community in the then newly established Imizamo Yethu Estate to establish a ‘common church building’ as it was called at the time. An urgent need for such a building was expressed by the Christians staying in Imizamo Yethu at the time. They had no place in Imizamo Yethu where church services and meetings could be held and always had to ask permission from neighbouring white churches for the use of their facilities (when not in use by themselves). They also needed a venue which could be used for training in valuable skills such as sewing, cooking, etc. and which could be used to instigate income generating activities, such as the ironing service rendered to residents of Hout Bay. This building would not belong to one denomination and instead be made available to all the different denominations for workshops, income generating activities, meetings, services and rallies.
In the ‘Yellow Community Hall’ at a joint service on Sunday 12 September 1993, led by reverend John Frye, the community of Imizamo Yethu was informed of the plans to establish such a Centre and with the wholehearted support of everyone present, the wheels were put into motion. It was soon realised that a properly constituted and registered legal body would be needed to act as a vehicle to raise the necessary funds and also to perform the necessary negotiations with the local authority for a suitable property and approval for the erection of a building.
This led to the now, historical day of Thursday 3 March 1994 when the Hout Bay Christian Community Association (HBCCA) constitution was officially approved and the first committee was elected to serve the HBCCA in its first year. A total of 11 different Christian denominations* were represented on this meeting. The total number of denominations which applied for membership in the first two years exceeded twenty.
The first HBCCA-committee was elected with Mariette Pretorius as Chairperson, Griffiths Mketo as Vice-Chairperson, Marion Franke as Secretary and Hennie Jacobs as Treasurer. Mariette with her team left no stone unturned and within a matter of months a suitable site was approved by the local authority (Cape Provincial Administration) for the proposed new centre. Fourteen used steel shipping containers were sourced by Pat Vaughan (Valley Church) from Safmarine, who at the same time became one of the key sponsors and supporters of this exciting new project. A local Christian architect (Len Halgryn) was assigned to do proposals for a suitable building using the steel containers as outer perimeter shell. Malan Schrecker (Llandudno United Church) assisted as project civil engineer and designed and supervised the foundations of Iziko Lobomi. Hennie Jacobs acted as project manager and quantity surveyor and prepared a building cost estimate which came to an amount of R320,000. This was the amount needed to be raised by the HBCCA to make this new centre a reality.
Several proposals with requests for support were submitted to various organisations, trusts, companies and individuals (local and abroad). Another historic day was the meeting set up with prospective sponsors and supporters on Wednesday 29th March 1995 at the Hout Bay Library. Attendees were taken to the site in Imizamo Yethu followed by an information session on the project back at the Library. What made the meeting even more exciting was the fact that several of the invited sponsors handed their donations to the Chairperson promising further support and encouraging other sponsors also to get involved.
After this meeting there was a constant flow of donations coming from various sources. It was an exciting time and the HBCCA realised that a Power greater than the Association was in control and all they could do was to be ready to receive and use what was coming in. By the middle of 1995 a Foundation Celebration meeting was held on the site to celebrate the completion of the foundations of the new Centre. This day of great joy was attended by many enthusiastic Christians. A service was held with the singing of celebratory songs and the meeting was ended with a delicious free meal, cooked by women from the community, to everyone present. This was done following the example of the Israelites after rebuilding the foundations of the temple in Ezra 3:10,11:
· And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
The Lord was faithful and funds kept coming in and less than eighteen months after the starting date, the new Church-cum-Adult Training Centre named IZIKO LOBOMI (Centre of Life) was officially inaugurated on Saturday 19th October 1996.
Since this day, Iziko Lobomi has been a true Centre of Life and blessing to the community of Imizamo Yethu and to the greater Hout Bay. It is a concrete example of how the community has united so as to create a place for worship, learning and hope so that the generations of the future may grasp all of the opportunities offered to them in the new South Africa.
* Denominations represented at the official formation of the HBCCA on the 3rd March 1993:
1. African Gospel Church
2. Valley (Baptist) Church
3. St. Peter’s Anglican Church
4. Methodist Church of South Africa
5. Dutch Reformed Church Constantia/Hout Bay
6. Zingisani Church in Zion
7. Pentecost Holiness church
8. Elim Assembly
9. Twelve Apostles Church
10. New Babylon Church
11. United Presbyterian Church of South Africa
· Gospel Church of Power
· Dutch Reformed Church in Africa
· Philisani Church
· Llandudno United Church
· Gospel of Truth Church
· Church of Christ Mission
· St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (Hout Bay Cape)
· United Ethiopian Church of Africa
· Nyanga Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
· Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
· Dutch Reformed Church Wynberg
HOUT BAY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Hout Bay, Cape Town