In August 1992, the thirtieth anniversary of the first African Enterprise citywide mission, a celebratory week was held in Pietermaritzburg for the whole partnership called “Harambee ‘92”. A number of team members from all over Africa were invited to share in this experience. This provided a wonderful opportunity for a ministry of encouragement to the people of South Africa generally and to its leaders particularly.
African Enterprise colleagues from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe, along with the South African team, set out in seven teams around the country on their ministry tour of testimony and encouragement. Primary in this was their visit to the leadership sectors of every major political party in the country. They also visited every sector of society from radicalised township youth, to schools and colleges, and to business, military, police, civic and professional leadership. A total of 201 meetings took place in the space of two weeks.
Michael reported in his book A Witness For Ever: “… What struck me, particularly after the meetings with political leadership, was how close at one level and in general terms all of these different leaders and groupings were to each other. All spoke of a new South Africa with justice, harmony, reconciliation, democracy and a sound economy. Virtually all embraced an appreciation of God and all needed and appreciated prayer. But sectional and group interests, the past legacy of mistrust, and the tyranny of the constituency were keeping each group from doing the really statesmanlike thing in finding a meaningful way to a solution for the nation. Among the high-calibre leaders we had met, there was clearly enough political savvy, intellectual ability and moral strength to guide the nation into a solution acceptable to all and adequate to safeguard our future.
“But what if one could play a little part in helping some of these leaders to understand these realities more full and their own relative closeness to one another? What about, we thought, an open letter along these lines sent to all the senior leaders and published in the press? The penultimate paragraph included this little exhortation: ‘Why not go to the bush, climb the Drakensburg, hide in a hotel, go anywhere, but just get away and talk? Just find each other.’ Yes, it was a sound idea. But now came a new thought. What about helping such a thing to happen? Even for just a few leaders? After all, every little bit could help.”