Zakhele at Redland

Meeting for worship on 10thMarch, Redland Friends shared the generosity and warmth of 12 dancers and singers from Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Zakhele’s 3-week tour of North Somerset schools and communities opened at Redland meeting. Just 36 hours after they landed at Heathrow, the group joined all age meeting “upstairs” before leaving with the children and young people for their meeting in the community room downstairs.

We are always an all age worship group – we simply worship in two spaces – divided by age. Zakhele’s presence was a very real experience of that, as the singing, dancing and drumming happening downstairs permeated the otherwise silent worship upstairs. After our worship, Cleopas, the group’s leader, made an appeal for the funding of Zakhele’s work on HIV/AIDS education in their home area. We then cleared a space for the Zakhele choir to sing and to teach the “Wellie boot dance.” We ate our shared lunch, and sang an impromptu “Happy Birthday” to one choir member – first the British tune, and then a South African refrain – same words – just a different tune!!  We danced a conga to the South African national anthem – I can’t easily imagine doing a conga to the British anthem. Now there’s a challenge!

The atmosphere was celebratory, loving and for many of us a welcome break from our political and climate concerns. The Zakhele’s message was that we are stronger together – across continents, cultures and ages. A very similar message to “Our Faith in the Future”, the vision agreed by Britain Yearly Meeting in 2015, “In turbulent times, Quakers in Britain seek a future where Quaker communities are loving, inclusive and all age: All are heard, valued and supported both in our needs and our leadings. Everyone’s contribution is accepted according to their gifts and resources. All are welcomed and included. There are clear and effective ways of working together on shared concerns. Fellowship and fun strengthen the bonds between us, enhancing a loving community.”

They have a final concert at Nailsea school on Saturday 30th March at 6.30pm. A few seats may still be available.

For more information about Zakhele you can ask Dawn Snape who helped set up Za Foundation or go to https://zafoundation.org.

Helen Chambers   

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