Dear Friends,

Just returned from three weeks in Cape Town. Reminded me of a poster I saw on a Chowpatty noticeboard that went something like this, ‘The Holiday That Turned Into A Nightmare.’  Ah, the “sand in the sweet rice” phenomenon….

Rupa Raghunatha prabhu’s car broke down in Hanover, 300km from Bloem. We sat on a koppie (‘small hill’) like those two lost soul’s in Waiting For Godot pondering our situation, the Boer War, British “scorched-earth” tactics, small towns, corrugated iron roofs, detachment/attachment and Krishna’s Divine Will.  I was amazed how calm Rupa was about the situation.

Anyway, Rupa called a friend who owns a towing company to see what could be done about about the situation. By Krishna’s grace his kind-hearted friend, Ashlin, towed us free of charge. I was thinking that Krishna was reciprocating with Rupa since he is so courageously campaigning for Him in Bloemfontein.

We decided if we would go to Cape Town if we could arrange the use of a vehicle there. That night our friend Mukunda offered us the use of his wife’s car. So we stuck with plan A. We took a bus from Bloemfontein on the 31st of August and arrived in Cape Town the next morning. We left our bags at the Desais’ house and collected Mukunda’s car from the airport.

I was happy to see Minny and Manu Desai because Manu has been very sick. I wanted to see them in person. I am like a son to them and was very concerned that he had been so ill.

We proceeded to Table View where we stayed with Rasaraja prabhu.  Rasaraja and his family hosted us for ten days. The next day we went to the Temple for the Sunday programme. Rupa prabhu led a fired-up kirtan…and Suell cooked a great feast.

We braved the awful Cape weather for the next week.  Seeing the north-west wind blowing across Table Mountain, I would say, ‘It’s either going to rain this afternoon or tonight. One hundred percent. When the north-wester blows that means rain.’ And rain it did.

The trip afforded me the opportunity to touch base with the devotees, friends and people I have met in the course of my preaching over the past 11 years. We also had the good fortune of celebrating Radhastami in Cape Town. The presence of His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Maharaja made it extra special. We had supper at Medhavi prabhu’s house and visited the Desai’s several times. Rupa and I returned the car to Mira in Pringle Bay. I dropped him off at Cape Town International the next day.

I also invited the brahmacaris over to Rasaraja prabhu’s place and encouraged them to distribute books and perform harinama-sankirtan. We had a beautiful harinama with the boys through Rasaraja’s neighbourhood. It was one of those light, bubbly harinamas that really lifts the spirits. I recited the pastime of Lord Vamanadeva – it was Vamanadeva’s Appearance Day – but kept it short because I could see the devotees were eager to honour prasadam. Suell prabhu said, ‘You must lead kirtan tomorrow at the Sunday programme.’ I said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ Well…I ended up leading kirtan. It was very blissful since I really love the Cape Town devotees. It was also very moving for me to chant before my worshipable Lordships Sri Sri Nitai Mayapurachandra.

During this time I was reading a very interesting book by an American Christian pastor named Rick Warren. The book was called The Purpose-driven Church. What a fantastic book! It gives some really wonderful insights into developing your ministry. I recommend it to all preachers. It also made me think of how I can better apply Prabhupada’s aims and purposes in my life as a preacher of Krishna consciousness.

I stayed an extra day for the Vyasa Puja celebration of His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami.  This was on the request of my dear good friend Harishchandra prabhu. Harishchandra’s wife, Mamta, cooked a wonderful feast. She is one of the best cooks in the Cape Town yatra.

I also visited my friend Bhakta John Robbie who is managing a backpackers in Long Street. We spent quality time together, called some of our friends, and then carried on with our respective duties.

Yes.  Cape Town is my home.  Johannesburg is my office.  And Durban, home to Sri Sri Radha-Radhanath, is my place of worship. 

Hare Krishna
Your servant
Mukunda Charan das (ISKCON Pretoria, South Africa)