Last Saturday we gathered at the Sibane Hotel in Ezulwini for the draw of a Chevrolet bakkie. It was the end of a journey that started months' ago when the “St Mary's Parish” at Lobamba (Swaziland) launched this fundraising event towards the building of a new church.
St Mary's Parish was born in 1925. It is probably the third oldest parish in the diocese of Manzini. For some time they have been working on the idea of building a new church that would replace the prefabricated structure being used at present.
In 2013 I was invited to launch the fundraising journey with the celebration of the Mass and the blessing of the site where the new church would be built. The “Swazi TV” was present and interviewed both the chairperson of the committee and myself.
The church being “dreamed” would welcome 600 people and would cost around 1.5 million Emalangeni (around US 150.000). While every Emalangeni counts, it was important to think of an important fundraising event.
The first thing that touched me on Saturday was to see the diocesan commitment towards project. The hall had about 15 tables with 10 people each and the place was full though each person had to pay E 200. The spirit was joyful and, of course, there was lots of excitement while waiting for the draw to take place.
There were three other “consolation” prices and those were the first one to be given. Everyone was waiting for the most important one: the bakkie! It was 9.39 pm when the time came to draw the number. People had been there for more than three hours.
When the name was announced, everyone clapped with joy and surprise. The one who won it had also won the first consolation price: Vuyiswa Motsa. She was present and could not contain her tears.
Before the final blessing I congratulated the St Mary's team first led by Fr Chris Maseko and later by Fr Ncamiso Vilakati. The tickets promised the draw to take place on December 27 and... so it was! No delays. No excuses. No waiting for a bit longer to collect more money. A promise kept. An event well organised.
I then thanked the people of the diocese for making this project their own. It was seen not only in the attendance but on the pledges that took place during the evening.
Finally I invited St Mary's to make sure that while “building the Church” they also “build the community”.
"Swazi TV" was present for most of the evening. We are grateful to the Swazi media for their constant support.