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Susan Valiquette

South Africa

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How would you describe the mission of our partner in South Africa?

Inanda Seminary, founded in 1869, was the first secondary school exclusively for African girls in southern Africa. The vision statement of the school includes the empowerment of students (affectionately known as “members”) to play a role in the development of the nation and become future leaders. The school’s current alumni include the former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Baleke Mbete, the former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, the late Minister in the Presidency Manto Tshabala-Msimang and many other distinguished South Africans.   They have indeed fulfilled the roles that were visualised for Inanda members!

The mission and purpose of the Seminary is captured in its six core values and its commitment to service.  These are honesty, loyalty, self-discipline, respect, sociability and responsibility.  These values form the foundation of all that is offered and accomplished at the Seminary. This enables Seminary members and alumni, in the words of the school motto, to “shine where you [they] are.” (Philippians 2:15)

How do you fit into their mission?

I am the Chaplain of Inanda Seminary boarding high school.  I am responsible for worship services—four times during the weekday and Sunday morning.  I develop termly themes for the weekdays and preach each Sunday morning. 

I teach the required curriculum of the subject life orientation for grade 8 and grade 9 students.  I am the senior teacher for life orientation.  I am responsible for monitoring the life orientation curriculum and results in all grades.  I provide guidance and support for the life orientation teachers and moderate all exam papers in the subject.

I provide pastoral counseling for all students and coordinate appointments with psychologists and manage the on-campus intern counselors. 

I am responsible for the social development throughout the school.

What led you to engage in this calling?

When I was in Seminary at United Theological Seminary, I was exposed to countries and people beyond my world view that developed a mission-minded spirit within me. During my time at Seminary I went to Israel and Nicaragua and volunteered for a summer at Jubilee Partners (Georgia).  After completing Seminary, I spent a brief time in West Africa.

Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?

When Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman by the well - John 4:1-26

What are some of the challenges facing Inanda Seminary?

Inanda Seminary seeks to educate black females from disadvantaged backgrounds.  It is important to keep the quality of teaching of learning high while at the same time keeping school fees low for fee payers and donors.

What lesson have you learned working alongside the staff and students of Inanda Seminary that you would like to share with churches in the U.S.?

Grace! South Africa seems to have been able to move forward at a rapid rate in terms of racial separation.  A tremendous amount of grace and forgiveness is always present in terms of race and cultural differences.

What is a common phrase used in the local churches?

Ngiyanibingalela egameni likayise neNdodona noMoya oyiNgcwele!

I greet you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Which movies have shaped your understanding of your work in South Africa?

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