|Laphuma Ikwezi means "the sun is rising" in Xhosa language|
|Rosey Tyam on left|
We first met Bishop Tyam the first weekend we were in Port Elizabeth when we went out to the township areas to participate in a “Helping Hands” service project. The project was to clean up 3-4 acres of land he was in hopes would one day be the site for a new church building for his congregation. Since that time, we have interacted with him in a variety of activities and meetings and found him to be very cordial and concerned about the welfare of those under his stewardship.
It was in May of this year, 2014, that he approached us and asked that we hold a Self-Employment Workshop that he could attend and learn how to begin a business he was interested in. We held the workshop where he and another man who was interested in becoming his partner, attended. They were very excited about what they had learned and committed to move forward with their business idea. They wanted to begin a security academy in Kwanobuhle which would include security personnel training, security system installations, firearms training and martial arts. It was an ambitious objective and we offered all the encouragement we could and yet cautioned them to begin small and focus on being realistic. Information about where to go to register their business and which government agencies they should contact for financial and equipment assistance was shared with them. We were hopeful and yet not overly optimistic since we have seen so many begin the race but run out of steam before their objective was more than a shimmer in the distance. The key to start a business, here as elsewhere in the world, is commitment and perseverance, two virtues most people lack, especially here.
Months went by and each time we met Bishop Tyam, we asked how he was coming with his business plan. Each time, we received a big smile and assurance that he was still working on getting the business registered. Our optimism continued to wane as time went by with no firm development apparent. And then last week, he came up to us with a tremendous smile and asked if we could come to Kwanobuhle Monday for the opening of his academy. I was amazed and not sure I heard correctly but after probing, he indeed was inviting us to see his facilities as he opened the doors for the first time.
We were elated to say the least. It had happened. A dream had come to fruition. The world had suddenly expanded and became brighter for this man who had struggled for so long to provide for himself and his family.
equipment such as printers, phone sets, tables, etc. that we asked if he could use. He was overwhelmed with the offer as the government bureaucracy was to inspect his facility and he was required to have many of the items we offered. So we loaded up what we had and arranged to meet him at his new establishment. What we saw was not quite what we anticipated. The opening of the doors was not a translation that equated to the beginning of business but rather a time that he was handed the keys to the facility that allowed him to begin his renovations – but he was happy and proud as were we for him. As we presented to him our meager offerings of equipment, you would have thought we had just delivered him a bucket of bullion. He and his partner’s eyes were all aglow but the real expression of gratitude came when we handed him a phone system – oh, how happy were they, smiling and rejoicing as they admired them.
And then Angie presented them with their own leather briefcases so that they could look like true officials. I doubt that they have had such a joyous day for many years.
Both of them were bubbling over with excitement as they told us of those that had already contacted about attending their “Academy.” Plans were shared about the academy, the renovation of the facility, where each piece of equipment would be located, where the offices would be and on and on. Joy and excitement filled their souls.