The Walking Wounded

By Riedewaan* (name changed to protect identity)

I cried when I was born, the evidence shows why.

At the end of 9 tedious years in prison, I woke up every morning

And I realized, I hated myself and the life I was living.

An unpleasant odor followed me whichever way I turned.

The smell of a deep set wound in the deepest recesses of my heart.

Because it was unattended to for years, too many to count.

I believe it was an injured part of my being,

And all I that I knew was an incurable heart beat

Pacing at a dying rate each and every day.

And I, was walking around wounded.

Leaving behind the scent of an easy pain

Yet threatening and sinister enough,

To fend off whoever wanted a piece of me.

During my upbringing, I experienced immense difficulties at home.

My primary habitation that should have provided the comfort, security and tranquility of a living home,

Was the very place I was most unhappy, lonely and restless.

I was delighted to put the blame on my parents

For the unstable environment that I found myself in.

The nonexistence of my father was too hard to bear.

My father never left me. 

He just never had time for me, or any word of encouragement.

Not receiving any blessing or expression of praise was far worse than not receiving any substance of necessity.

I remember as a boy wanting my father to die and feeling immense guilt for having such a desire.

He spent his entire life making himself the center of attention.

Thus, we might reason that I am who I am today, not just because of my own actions but because of the void left by him.

I acknowledge that it hurts.

And I choose to extend forgiveness to my father.

I am probably indebted as well anyway.

But how many of us can truly point a finger to our fathers.

For he too lacked in his father, what I longed for in him.

As one of the walking wounded, I was trotting along with this target; Bulls eye on my back

Constantly on high alert, my rivals fixated on me

As if from a shooting range.

If this fatal wound to the very core of my soul wasn’t enough to kill me any quicker,

I had to find a way to end it myself.

And what better solution I had than playing in the face of danger.

Like playing cops and robbers.

And sad to say, toy guns, were not going to do.

Not only was I a robber of wealth and riches,

But robbing people of their lives and peacefulness.

A menace to society.

Sending boys my own age far too early to their graves was the bravado of my gang culture.

Another one bites the dust, with no hope beyond the grave.

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.

And giving back a man’s heart is the hardest mission on earth.

Because he first has to admit that he lost himself.

For me, it took longer than most.

I believe if we want to establish character, we need to set boundaries.

I contend that it teaches us to be strong within the confines of our reality.

These wounds can cripple one for life.

If he refuses to seek aid, becoming vulnerable and letting one’s guard down isn’t easy.

But if we are able to release ourselves from these walls we erected,

We need to let go and let God.

It is scary to think about the potential life changing decisions we make every day.

We remember very little about the past and we know absolutely nothing about the future.

But we are called to accept that which we cannot change.

In the road to discovering myself, I was able to identify, no matter how deep the wound to one’s soul, words that will lighten one’s soul are more precious than any jewels.

And living a life without meaning is madness.

And to put meaning into one’s life is the torture of restlessness and mad desire.

It’s a home longing to live, so that which is broken is made whole again.

In truth it determines not my destination but my life.

What you are journeying towards, is freedom, healing, and authenticity.

Are you still walking around wounded?

I believe that when you hold a candle to light another one’s path

You brighten your own.

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Handing over the reins

I tried to think of a way to capture my 52-year journey with City Mission in one short paragraph, but I gave up trying. It needs a book.

But believe me, the God stories over these 5 decades have been transformational and dramatic in countless ways. I was tasked with driving Discipleship strategies as a core function of City Mission 10 years ago and I believe that God has firmly placed City Mission as a driver and catalyst in this space, not just in our City but in our nation.

Coaching Disciple makers and disciple making strategies is my lifestyle and my passion. I am thankful that I will be able to continue in this dedicated role within City Mission, without the CEO type functions, as we solidify leadership development from within and take the ministry into the future.






City Mission is excited and thankful to announce this change in leadership.  As of 9th January 2019, I will be handing over the functions of CEO to Mrs. Carmen Daniels.  I am thrilled that we can make this appointment from within. Carmen started her journey with City Mission as a volunteer in 1998 and came on staff in August 2000. She is married to Andre and they have a beautiful daughter Kendra.    

Carmen has served us competently and faithfully for the last 20 years, in various roles, including Senior management and Board levels.  She has also produced our marketing and publication materials for many years.  Carmen is a gifted administrator who understands and fully supports that Disciple Making Movements is at the core of what we do and that the transforming power of Jesus is evidenced through changed lives that impact their communities.

Do stop by in the new year or invite Carmen to chat over coffee and get a sense of her heartbeat.






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Stories of Change: Blondy


My name is Blondy, I grew up in Guguletu. My childhood was sweet, until I began to surround myself with negative peers, because I so much wanted to fit in. I started partying till early hours of the morning and my behavior changed completely. My parents gave up on me.

The worse part of my life began in 2002 when I started committing crime and getting involved with serious fraud syndicates. I was in and out of prison and ended up with numerous warrants for arrest. In June 2014 I was arrested and convicted for 17 counts of Fraud, corruption and money laundering.

In 2015 I was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Then I found myself all alone. My friends vanished, and I was drafted to Kroonstad prison, where I had no one to visit or bring me any comforts. One day while I was sitting on my prison bed, I looked back where I came from and I realized that the devil had stolen so much from me and with my permission! That is when I decided that when I get out of prison, I want a new life.

I prayed to GOD for forgiveness of my sins. I came out of prison in May 2018. The vision that I had is to influence and save lives that are still in darkness. I did not know where to start. While I had this mind, I was introduced by a friend to City Mission and began to do volunteer work.

I enjoy helping with the meal provision to the Eye OPD at Tygerberg Hospital. I also go to farm to spend time and play games with the farm laborer children to show them that GOD loves them. The children really enjoy this weekly visit. My vision is to help people who are still going in and out of prison especially women who are living in darkness. What a wonder that If you turn to GOD, HE will not hold your previous life against you.

HE accepts you with your burdens and you will be at a place of peace.  That’s where I am now.


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Touched by Love

The urban farms that make up the Philippi Horticultural Area are part of the Cape Flats, and only 20 minutes from the city centre. It is here that 80% of Cape Town’s vegetables are grown and cultivated and then sold to us through the retail giants, fresh produce markets and informal traders.
As we work with the farm labourers and their children through the years, it saddens me that they are largely such a forgotten people. Yet we live off their hard labour and forget them because we don’t see them.

Thanks to Logos Church we had a wonderful time just blessing the hands that serve us through their labour. The ladies’ hands are rough from hard work. Gentle loving touch from partners or others is not their everyday experience. So, what a delight for them and for us to treat, manicure and caress these hard-working women’s hands and just bless them as we talked and prayed with them.


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Changing lives through Soccer

The Drakenstein Soccer Programme is more than just a sports programme to keep inmates occupied, it’s a valuable tool to begin a process of positive and lasting life changes and reintegration back into society.  This is where we met Shaun. 

Shaun was an active member of a notorious gang before being sentenced and then continued with an equally notorious prison gang inside prison.  He was first sentenced at the age of 22 year and sent to Pollsmoor to serve his sentence.  On nearing the end of it just 2 years ago, Shaun was transferred to the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, and with no rehabilitation and no inclination to change his life path, his primary intentions for going there was to be elevated in the number gang who he served for many years.

On his arrival in the youth facility at Drakenstein, to his surprise, things were very different.  Gang activity was not allowed.  Instead inmates were motivated and rewarded for their good behaviour and positive choices, by access to various privileges.  It was not long when before Shaun progressed to Medium A, giving him access to more privileges including playing soccer.  Since a young boy, he loved Soccer and playing it gave him a sense of freedom and expression to be more than just what he was always labelled as.

Unable to control his anger, on a certain day, Shaun got into a fight and his soccer privileges were immediately revoked.  He began introspecting, questioning his core values and focusing on changing his life. He chose against living the life of a gangster and instead learnt more about becoming a follower of Christ through through the City Mission Discovery Bible Discussions that he participated in.  These Bible discussions are specially selected for young men who are exiting crime and gangsterism. Within 6 months Shaun was moved back into Medium A and his involvement with the City Mission soccer programme and off-site league games could continue. 

On his release, the reality of life outside prison without a strong support base soon sent him back onto drugs.  The challenges of rehabilitation and reintegration for parolees often seem insurmountable, but this component is a vital part of developing healthier, contributing members of society and a much needed step to crime reduction and individuals re-offending. 

Fortunately for Shaun, being able to live in City Mission’s halfway home for ex-offenders, the weekly accountability meetings, the mentoring and support and being able to play in league soccer matches, is changing and transforming his life.   He has been clean since April this year and is excited about the prospects of his new life.  He recently had the opportunity to watch a show at Artscape, which was such a highlight for him and is involved in making and serving sandwiches to indigent out-patients awaiting care at Tygerberg Hospital on a weekly basis. 

The City Mission soccer programmes, the immense value and learning opportunities that the sport brings, the league games, the mentoring and development and the accountability structures, have all played a big role in his ongoing transformation. 

Flashback: 64 years ago

Not only Winter … but each month City Mission is able to serve more than 2000 meals through our various programmes for those most in need.

With hundreds of people crossing our doorsteps every year for the past 116 years, sadly the need has never ceased or diminished.  It may not be the same faces, but the needs remain the same.   Below is the one such appeal we did 64 years ago.   


The elderly need care, youth need interventions from destructive influences and behaviours, children need clothing and food to be able to learn.  People need care.  Our various interventions is able to bring change and much needed relief to many of clients. 

Across the board, City Mission has never closed it doors on the poor and often marginalised members of our Society.  Much to the credit of people like you, who have continued to open their hearts and give time, resources and funding, so that we are able to meet these needs. 

Now we need your help once again! Whilst the rain is much needed right now, the cold and rainy seasons brings along it’s own challenges for many across the City. 


Please consider them this Winter.  Help us to help them and bring hope to someone in need this winter. 

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Sharing our stories of change

Our guys picked him up at the airport and they clicked immediately. Earlier in April, City Mission welcomed Johnny Pickup.  He is a photojournalist from London UK who has come to chronicle the stories of transformation in this, City Mission’s 116th year. 

It is his first visit to Cape Town but he asked not to live in a hotel but to live in our flat for ex offenders and stay with our amazing young men for the 7 days he is with us.  He was happy to sleep on a couch or on the floor but Sibu insisted to give up is bed.

One evening, Marlon was on supper duty and Johnny was introduced to gatsby’s!  And the stories started.

We were delighted to have you with us Johnny! Carry our stories of dramatic transformation in your heart as you witness the power of God in action.  There was so much to see in his short 7 day stay, but he enjoyed every minute of his time with us!  Until next time, Johnny.  


City Mission welcomes students from Trondheim University

City Mission is delighted to welcome our first 2018 group of social work students from Trondheim University in Norway. They will be with us for 5 weeks. Continuing a twice yearly relationship that has gone on for at least 13 years. Students become part of the life and blood of City Mission as they get exposed to real life issues and struggles. Their stay with us is always a pleasure. Ladies, we welcome you!

Dynamic Business Startup

And so we ended the first stage of our business startup program for young men and women who need a way out of negative lifestyles and income streams.  In short they learned how to make money with R100 and how to manage money in very practical ways.  

It was with great excitement that we started our micro business start up program in April this year.  We have 21 participants who successfully completed the online aptitude test.  One of our big challenges, is to be able to substitute negative and destructive income streams from crime, drugs or prostitution, with positive income streams. Thanks to Chris from DBSP for coming down from JHB to live and work with us for a full month. We are excited to see how God will use this training to equip our young men and women. Watch this space.  

May God be glorified in and through their lives and the stories to come. Some of our guys have been having a blast of excitement with their buying and selling. 5 of the group have been taught how to follow up and coach the participants for the rest of the year. This has been a very productive month of intense learning and practical exercises. And also to understanding that Gods Word has all the guidelines we need for business success. Goodbye poverty mindset and poverty thinking responses to life situations. Our staff coaches are also trained disciple makers who will walk alongside the other participants the rest of this year. Pray with us and trust God with us.

Thanks to Community Chest for your support of this program and also MDA and private individuals. We will make you proud to be part of our lives and our individual business start up journeys.

Opportunity for life long change

chinaFor every field task we seek an intentional outcome. This was beautifully illustrated at Tygerberg Hospital where a young man and his virtually blind father had spent a day and a night without food into the next morning, between state hospitals.

In the grip of a drug addiction, Khaya was so impacted by this service that he connected with us and became a volunteer himself. He has been drug free ever since. We discovered that he has a university pass matric. Amazingly he has just received his acceptance letter from Cornerstone Institute, to do a BA in Media Studies in 2017. Pray with us that we get funding to make this possible.

At the same time, Sandisiwe also one of our program participants and wife to Hani has been accepted by Cornerstone to do the Higher Certificate in Community Counselling. China as she is fondly known also has a dramatic life transformation story through her engagement with City Mission and the life change journey of her husband.

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