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August 2020 Update
Webinar on Corruption to honour Paddy 
Time of Reflection for the DHC Team
On-line AGM for our UK Support Association
Closer links to the 'Southern Cross'
Time of Reflection for the DHC Team
On-line AGM for our UK Support Association
Closer links to the 'Southern Cross'
As well as being the founder and chair of the Denis Hurley Centre, the late Paddy Kearney was also Chair of the Gandhi Development Trust. This year GDT’s Kearney lecture was instead a webinar focused on the subject of rooting out corruption. The hosts were Ela Gandhi and her daughter Asha Ramgobin, and they deftly chaired the event involving multiple speakers and using a number of technology platforms and a sign-language interpreter to maximise access.
Insights into the level of corruption in South Africa were shared by Neeshan Balton (Ahmed Kathrada Foundation), Crain Soudien (Head of the Human Science Research Council) and Mashudu Masutha (Corruption Watch). Pursuing private interests over public policies had, they felt, eroded the general public’s wider trust in, for example, government and the police. The impact of this was felt by everyone in South Africa but especially by the poor who are dependent on Government services. An international perspective came from Juanita Olaya of Transparency International who urged the creation of environments of integrity which encourage people to report corruption.
Fr Smagaliso Mkhatshwa – former Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and onetime ANC Mayor of Tshwane – spoke on behalf of the Moral Regeneration Movement. He described the actions of corrupt officials and politicians as ‘diabolical’. But he added that corruption is something that is learnt and so can be un-learnt; better teaching of right and wrong from an early age would make a difference. What was important was to promote a values system that was an alternative to capitalist greed. He reminded attendees about the way in which Street Committees were used to engage the masses in the struggle against apartheid.
In reflecting on Paddy’s life, our Director recalled how Diakonia used programmes to raise consciousness among parts of society who might otherwise be indifferent or silent about injustice.
The full video of the 2-hour webinar is available on You Tube.
Paddy seen at an award ceremony of the Gandhi Development Trust.
The day that would have been Paddy’s 78th birthday (28 August) was an opportunity for the DHC team to gather and reflect on the ups and down of this year. We were delighted to be hosted in the gardens of St Thomas Anglican Church in Musgrave and to be led by Methodist Minister, Revd Lauren Matthew. She was to have guided our Lenten reflection in March, which was cancelled because of the lockdown.
25 staff, interns and volunteers spent a pleasant few hours away from the centre to be at peace with each other and with our Creator. Lauren used the variety of the garden to help people to think about how they were feeling. Each person spent time reflecting on an object that expressed something about themselves: for some it was a rock that had remained solid despite months of battering; for others a seed that symbolised new life emerging now in the Spring; for one it was a feather caught by the wind and taken in unexpected directions; for another it was a jasmine flower providing a restorative perfume that inspired her to carry on.
Lauren then used the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12) to show how Jesus gives us a way of reframing a situation. Those who might otherwise be considered as rejected – the poor, the oppressed, those in mourning – are presented instead as ‘happy’, ‘blessed’, ‘beloved’. She commended the DHC for the way in which we help reframe the lives of people in the city centre and encouraged us to allow Jesus to reframe our own lives when we face difficulties.
Annie Webber, an old friend of Paddy, was there to serve tea for us. She and Raymond talked about the impact of Paddy’s inspiration. Raymond is researching a biography of Paddy and has been working through his archives. He is keen to hear from people who have stories about our late founder.
Leanne Banks (foreground), the DHC Administrator, sharing her botanical reflection
in St Thomas tea garden. (More photos available on our Facebook page)
Our support organisation in the UK, the Denis Hurley Association, had to hold its recent AGM via a Zoom platform. But this provided an opportunity to broaden access to the meeting and allow involvement by DHC staff members from Durban.
A particular honour was the presence of Most Revd Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham. He was very impressed to hear an update on our activities and, in particular, our recent interfaith response to the pandemic. There are interesting similarities between Birmingham and Durban: two cities of a similar size, with large Indian communities, a mix of wealth and poverty, and a strong Catholic heritage. Durban has the extra advantage of sunshine and golden beaches; but Archbishop Longley can claim credit for seeing through a local man to canonisation: St John Henry Newman spent the last years of his life in Birmingham.
As a UK-registered charity, the DHA Trustees are required by UK law to meet on a regular basis and, once a year, hold a publicly accessible AGM to report back on their activities and finances. The Trustees include people who knew +Hurley personally and have close links to Durban: Robina Rafferty, Philip Hourquebie and Sr Marie-Henry Keane OP. In addition, there are others who are keen to support our work, almost all of whom have visited at some point: Declan Keane (Treasurer) and Helen Coleman, Janice Burn and Mick Perrier (the latter three are, by coincidence, all retired teachers). Mick (who also happens to be a cousin of our Director) took over from Robina as Chair.
The existence of the DHA means that UK supporters can donate to us in pounds and we can claim back from the UK Government the generous tax allowance which adds an extra 25%. It also means that UK residents can leave legacies to the work of the DHC in their wills.  Do get in touch with them if you are UK-based or know people who are.
We thank the DHA for their sterling (!) work which amounted to over R2.2 million in the six years to the end of 2019.
Mick Perrier (far left) introduces Archbishop Longley (far right) to one of our Patrons, Dr AV Mahomed and his wife during their visit to the UK in 2019.
In October, SA’s Catholic newspaper will celebrate 100 years of continuous publication. The Southern Cross has seen some extraordinary changes in the Church and in South Africa since 1920; and in the last decade radical shifts in how news is ‘consumed’. The paper – partly owned by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) – has a long history of reporting on and supporting Archbishop Hurley. When we celebrated Hurley’s Centenary and opened the DHC in November 2015, they issued a special commemorative edition. The paper’s excellent coverage of religious affairs means it has a readership beyond just the Catholic community.
The COVID-19 lockdown has had a huge impact on all print titles; this is especially true of the Southern Cross since the majority of its copies were sold through churches which have been closed for 5 months. During this period, they have provided a free weekly on-line newspaper, even more valuable in a time when many people felt cut off from the support of their local church community.
Facing the economic reality of post-lockdown South Africa and given the impact of technology on print media, they have decided to relaunch as a printed monthly magazine in late September. This will be on sale in churches, but they are also promoting subscriptions so a printed copy could be delivered to your home – also giving you access to timely on-line new stories. For details about subscribing (or parish deliveries), email Pamela or call her on 083 233 1956.
Our director has been a monthly columnist for the Southern Cross for 7½ years – in fact all 110,000 words of his 92 ‘Faith and Society’ articles are free to view on their website. Subject to confirmation by the SACBC, he has now been invited to join the board of the company that owns the newspaper, in particular to provide advice on marketing and give a KZN perspective.
One area where he is looking for assistance is people who are willing to volunteer (once a month) as drivers to collect copies from a central point in Durban and take to parishes around the area. Email if you think you can help.
65 years ago the Southern Cross was supporting the massive international fundraisng campaign that Archbishop Hurley led to keep Catholic schools open and resist the pressure of the Apartheid government to enforce segregation.
Director: Raymond Perrier ( )
Bookings: Jean-Marie Ntamubano (
If you wish to donate to support our work, you can donate by EFT:
First National Bank Durban Main branch 221426
Account: Denis Hurley Centre Trust A/C No. 622 0426 1002

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