In celebration of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week 01 – 07 February 2020, we are presenting a first ever Interfaith, Intercultural pilgrimage, inviting our friends in interfaith from all over the world to join us. Here is the provisional itinerary.
Day Zero: Friday 31 January 2020
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport:
Welcome to Cape Town, a proud City of Compassion known the world over and with good reason as “The Mother City”. After a warm welcome at Cape Town International Airport (rendezvous 12 noon at the Mugg and Bean coffee shop) we will transfer to a comfortable local guesthouse where you can refresh, relax and settle in. We’ll introduce ourselves over dinner, setting our intentions for the week ahead, then enjoy an early evening in preparation for our deep dive into Cape Town’s faith life.
Day 1: Saturday 1 February 2020
A gentle start to your Interfaith experience! After a leisurely breakfast, we join a group of interfaith leaders from notorious Cape Flats for a visit to Ananda Kutir Ashram. There, the practitioners of Integral Yoga will be hosting us to lunch and an afternoon of gentle wisdoms about Life and Peace with Swami Vidyananda and Mother Yogeshwari. Ananda Kutir Ashram is affiliated to the Divine Life Society of Rishikesh, India.
A sunset beach walk will conclude our day before we head back to our accommodation for a lovingly prepared, vegetarian Cape meal and an evening of gentle discussion.
Day 2: Sunday 2 February 2020
It’s our day of celebration! The first Sunday in February is the date of Prayers for the City, the event which was awarded the HM King Abdullah II Prize for the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week 2019 and which inspired this tour. This year, we return to our 2019 venue – a vacant plot in a battle-weary and economically challenged area called Elsie’s River. As we did in 2019, we unite with Elsie’s River NGO Faith Hope Love Communities to support the community’s commitment to taking back their suburb from the gang and criminal activity that threatens them every day. Our visitors will have the opportunity to engage with honoured guests including the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Dan Plato, as well as a host of community members.
Day 3: Monday 3 February
A weather-dependent trip to Robben Island, the famous island prison that housed the political leadership of the anti apartheid movement. This is an important context for our work because Nelson Mandela was a firm believer in the power and importance of interfaith harmony. His deep connection with various faiths is legendary and a model for leaders everywhere.
Day 4: Tuesday 4 February
Islamic day. First stop is the famous District Six museum where we learn the history of forced removals and family tragedies endured by a multifaith, multicultural community in bygone years. Our route takes us to the nearby Al-Azhar Mosque where we enjoy the hospitality of Sheikh Ismail Keraan before moving on to the Tana Baru Cemetry in Bo-Kaap – the first Muslim burial ground acknowledged by the SA government back in 1805. With master-historian and struggle veteran Mohammad Groenewald, we explore the issues of exploitation, crime and gentrification jostling for power in the local struggle to preserve this precious heritage.
We lunch in the Bo-Kaap and experience Cape Town’s unique heritage flavours, savouring the opportunity for an afternoon of in-depth conversation with local wisdom keepers of the Interfaith community.
Day 5: Wednesday 5 February
We join a group of Interfaith Leaders for a visit to the historic Catholic Cathedral, St Mary’s, more formally known as the Cathedral of our Lady of the Flight into Egypt. We will be welcomed to St Mary’s by none other than His Grace the Archbishop of Cape Town himself – a highlight in a week of highlights.
As we continue our pilgrimage, we’ll enjoy a light lunch and reflection on our morning’s experience before our appointment at Groote Kerk, the home of the Dutch Reformed Church. Historically, this is the church that provided theological justification for the apartheid system… and is now working hard under dynamic leadership to heal the wounds of the past and make restitution. Open Hearts Open Minds internet café within the sanctity of this Church will be our sacred dialogue in search of healing through interfaith harmony.
After dinner, we will join the Jewish Community for an Interfaith Concert in celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week 2020.
Day 6: Thursday 6 February
A gentle day, and the opportunity to explore some of the Cape’s most beautiful, unique scenery before the evening session. Knowing that Interfaith Harmony is an emerging superpower in the healing of the world, we will be joining the Brahma Kumaris for an evening conversation “Celebrating Dialogue towards Harmony”. This is how we tell our own story, in Cape Town, and we are looking forward to sharing it with you.
Day 7: Friday 7 February
We are invited by the historic Claremont Mosque to join them for midday prayers. Tour leader Rev Berry Behr is honoured to deliver the sermon at this service, in honour of World Interfaith Harmony Week’s 10th Anniversary.
Our week concludes with a celebration hosted by the Progressive Jewish community at Temple Israel, Green Point, for a special musical Shabbat Rina service. We break bread together after the service, in gratitude for our community anchored in Cape Town and for you, our honoured guest who is family now.
We recommend a day of rest before you travel, but here’s a thought…
You are in Cape Town, a gateway into the deeper mysteries of Africa, so speak to us about options for an onward tour. Visit the Sacred White Lions of the Timbavati or the extraordinary Inzawo ye langa – Birthplace of the Sun, an ancient circle of stones on a mountain top in the province of Mpumalanga. You could visit the only dedicated Tiger sanctuary in Africa, explore Namibia, take in the Garden Route, the Karoo, the Kruger National Park – or simply stay in Cape Town to experience more of our city’s many rich offerings.
It’s been a week, we’ve loved having you. We hope you will be leaving us with an uplifted sense that there is so much good in the world, and it lives everywhere in the hearts and minds of all those who embrace inclusiveness, kindness, compassion and peace.
We hope you’ll take something of our spirit of interfaith harmony home with you… and may it bless your path, and all those you meet along the way.
Tour cost: US $ 1800 / R25 000
Includes Accommodation, Meals, local transport and all entertainment and entry fees in Cape Town – so all you have to do is get to Cape Town and we look after you from there.
Exclusions: Personal purchases, gratuities, alcoholic drinks, between meal snacks.
Please note this itinerary is subject to change without notice but we do have back up plans in case of poor weather or other unforeseen circumstances. If you have physical concerns, don’t let them exclude you! Please discuss your needs with us so that we can make sure to accommodate them wherever possible. Bookings: Berry Behr firstname.lastname@example.org – Limited to 12 places. 50% non refundable deposit secures your spot, balance due 15 January 2020.
- Special South African student rate R600 per day excludes accommodation (6 spots available)
- Special South African day rate available for Capetonians R750 excludes Accommodation (6 spots available)