On Friday June 24 at 10am on a cold winter’s morning, the Logos Hope opened its doors to the public for inspection and scrutiny.
Randy Grebe, acting as the MC of the Logos Hope Ship extended official welcomes to dignitaries at the opening function.
He reminded young people that older folks often put a bucket list together. One of them may include a visit to the largest floating book fair in the world.
“This is a very historic occasion for us in Cape Town, as the Logos Hope makes its first arrival to Cape Town since it started sailing in 2009.”
He added, “As a ship we “have no home,” this is the furthest South we have sailed.”
“We are here to bless the nation of South Africa.”
He said that since its initial sailing in the first three years the ship visited 62 ports and welcomed 2.5 million visitors.”
“Initially the purpose of the ship’s ministry was known as “Good books for all.”
“Today, it is so much more, we like to be aware of the needs of a country and come alongside them to help them meet those requirements by offering our help.” “The vision of the ship is to provide knowledge, help, and hope.” He echoed, “This is what we hope to do while in Cape Town.”
Captain Tom Dyer, who has served as captain on all four of Operational Mobilisation (OM)’s shipstold guests at the opening that he was last in Cape Town when the Doulos was there in 2003 for a “heart transplant” — an overhaul of the electrical system.
Commenting on the funding of the ship, he said: “The ship funds its travel through the sale of the books, which makes up a third, another third comes from the crew member’s contributions and a third through support and donations.”
Reverend Barry Isaacs, a leading pastor of the churches of Cape Town and head of the Transformation Africa welcomed the ship and its crew to Cape Town. He commended them on their vision of bringing knowledge, which would help broaden horizons and encourage learners to read. Furthermore, he thanked the ship in anticipation for the projects such as eye-testing, dispensing of reading glasses, as well as the purification of water.
“We are in dire need of hope in Cape Town and South Africa, he said.
‘Heart shock’ needed
“We need a ‘heart shock’ and God has sent you to shock us.”
In addition he made reference to the unity that is experienced on board ship.
He said, “The unity that you bring is ‘aansteeklik’ – (contagious) and I believe it will filter though to our many cultures, and help us with our discrimination and racism issues.”
Other speakers at the opening included Professor Brian O’Connell, the former head of Education at the University of The Western Cape, and the Director of the ship, Seelan Govender who is originally from Durban and has been sailing with OM for 14 of his 18 years with the organisation. Govender is married to Carlien who is from Cape Town, and they have two daughters.
Govender said that Christians were known as “the people of the book” and “we have a message for today – one of forgiveness, peace, justice and reconciliation.”
He said: “Everyone is valued by God, this world is damaged — only He can make the difference in our lives, motivate and empower us.
“Selfish ambition does not value others or others’ interests, it is the knowledge and hope that we share that does.
“My hope and prayer is, that through engaging and experiencing us, it will make a difference.”
Imam Maulana Sayed Aftab Haider, leader of the Shia Muslim, and a special guest at the opening, welcomed the ship and expressed a blessing on the sojourn of the ship’s stay in Cape Town and its people.
Another special guest, Cantor, Ivor Joffe, said a blessing from the Torah and sang unaccompanied the blessing from the book of Numbers. “The LORD bless you, and keep you: The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ~ Number 6:24 – 26
Members of the public can visit the ship until July 11 to view the wide range of affordable books in the book fair. Entrance costs R5 and is free for children under the age of 12 and for pensioners.
Visitors can also go on a tour of the ship. The journey takes 45 minutes. It costs R20 for adults and R10 for pensioners and children. It is best to phone 082 407 1963 and make an arrangement prior to arriving on the ship, as the tour groups are limited to seven people per tour.
Visiting hours are: Wednesday to Saturday — 10am to 9pm; Sunday to Tuesday — 2pm to 9pm. From the welcome area, which introduces the new vessel through a short movie and interactive displays, to the International Café, which has ice cream, drinks and snacks for sale, there is something for everyone.
The onboard programme of shows and events can be viewed here.