Pirate party! Ahoy, me hearties! Argh!
One of the causes our Cape Town Sisterhood supports is the Orphan Care Foundation’s Kids Club, a Friday afternoon programme at the Westlake Community Centre for the children from Westlake Village. Last Friday, our Cupcake Revolution Team, headed up by Magriet Smit, held a pirate-themed Cupcake Party for the more than 400 children who come to Kids Club.
The Community Centre hall was festooned with balloons, as well as decorations the kids had made in the preceding weeks. Exotic painted fish swam through cobalt waters and coral reefs along the front of the stage. In the centre of the hall, a long table was crammed with hundreds of brightly-coloured cupcakes decorated with rainbow sprinkles, heart shapes, marshmallows, marzipan pirates, treasure chests, and gold coins. There were even cupcakes flying the Jolly Roger (the pirate flag with skull and crossbones). Magriet said that there had been an overwhelming response from people offering to bake cupcakes for the party. Her own hairdresser was inspired to bake 24 cupcakes after Magriet told her about the party, while Audi contributed 50 cupcakes (as well as sponsoring Magriet a car for the day).
The festivities were scheduled to kick-off at 2pm, but the kids were already gathering outside the Community Centre long before then. I talked to a group of eleven-year-old girls who were waiting outside. ‘Do you have kids, Auntie?’ they asked. I said that I didn’t. ‘But are you married? Is that your wedding ring? Will your heart break if you lose it?’ They told me that they came to Kids Club every Friday. They knew all about the Cupcake Party, and wanted to hear if they were going to bake the cupcakes themselves, and what we had for them to dress-up in, and what activities they were going to do, and how much longer they still had to wait.
To their delight, the party started sooner than planned when a sudden downpour had volunteers hurrying to open doors and usher everyone in out of the rain. Soon, groups of thrilled kids were being outfitted with red and purple headscarves, eye-patches, spyglasses, and drawn-on facial hair. When it was time for the eagerly-anticipated cupcakes, trays full of them were fetched and distributed to a horde of starry-eyed swashbucklers sitting on mats on the floor. (Two little girls in the front row told me how they’d swapped cupcakes with each other and with the small boy sitting between them until they each had exactly the cupcake they wanted.)
It was sweet to see everyone interact with the children. Orphan Care Foundation founder Martin Oosthuizen, who was dressed as a pirate, told them how he’d bragged to Jon Norman and Lucinda that the Kids Club kids were the best children in the whole of Africa. Jon, who spoke a short message, had everyone repeat after him, ‘The most valuable treasure in the room is me!’ (Magriet and her team had made treasure chests, with mirrors inside, so that when the kids opened them, expecting to see treasure, they would see their own faces, and know that they were precious.) And then of course there were the amazing volunteers, who do Kids Club every Friday, and who remained unruffled no matter how rowdy it got.
Before the blankets from COLOUR were given out, Lucinda told the kids: ‘We have this beautiful group of women, and they’re called the Sisterhood. And the Sisterhood got together in April, and they bought all the children of Westlake a blanket … When you wrap yourself in this blanket, you’ve got to always remember that there’s a God in heaven who remembers you, and there’s a God in heaven who loves you.’ I asked a little girl if she liked her new pink blanket. She said that she did, and then added shyly: ‘Your hair looks nice.’
And that wasn’t even the end of the afternoon yet. There were still drum majorettes, who performed for us on stage, and a group of boys, who did hip-hop dancing. On their way out, each child was given a lunch pack containing a hot dog and a juice. The hot dogs are made each week by women from the community, who have pitched in to help. ‘Do you know, we worked for four years, and sometimes you don’t see a lot of difference,’ Martin Oosthuizen said. ‘But all of a sudden, after four years, they know our organisation, the Orphan Care Foundation, and they all want to help. There’s ownership and everyone is helping. It’s a whole community thing, which is excellent.’
The kids had made ‘Thank you’ cards for everyone who contributed to the party. ‘May God bless you for ever think you have done,’ read one glitter-covered card. While another one said: ‘Thank you God. Bless me!!!!’ Earlier, Martin had told me that for many of the children the food they got at Kids Club was their only meal of the day, and one little boy had written poignantly in his card: ‘To God and everyone, Thank you for the food. God we ask for more food plz plz plz!!!’
This was the biggest Cupcake Party so far this year, but there have also been parties at Linawo Children’s Home, as well as in Macassar and Somerset West. And Lucinda has taken cupcakes to the women in Pollsmoor Prison too. I asked Magriet what the best part of leading the Cupcake Revolution was. ‘I love to see how God is stirring hearts, empowering people where they are, [and] taking Church, hope, [and] Sisterhood to them,’ she answered. ‘Our mighty God uses something as small as a cupcake to change destinies.’
Posted by Michelle Buchel-Kruger, Sisterhood Cape Town