Today we flew down from Jo’burg to Cape Town. We’re staying with some old friends, Christiaan and Karen Snell who work on the Cape Flats.

The Cape Flats is a large area of land East of the main city centre of Cape Town. It is very flat and very sandy. The area is largely made up of the cape coloured people (who interestingly make up 60% of Cape Town’s population). Karen Snell is from Ireland and she was commenting on how similar it is here to ‘old Ireland’. No, it’s not all green with Lepricorns bouncing around the place. But in terms of attitude to church it is very similar. There is quite a high church-going rate, but a lot of these people are ‘church-goers’. There is the strong expectation that the minister will do everything. Although Christiaan is only about 30 they insist on calling him ‘pastor’ and will not call him Christiaan. There is also quite a negative attitude to alcohol, but interestingly a high alcoholism rate. There are loads of churches around the area, and yet very little impact by these churches.

There is also a large muslim population on the Cape Flats. I could hear the call to prayer just now before writing this post. At the local shopping center you can get a fried breakfast. There’s the usual: eggs, sausage, macon, toast… yes – I did write ‘macon’ and it was not a spelling mistake. There’s no bacon in the fry-up, just macon, which is a sausage equivalent as far as I can tell.

So it’s a tough work out here on the flats, but one that desperately needs doing.