Transformation Resource Centre TRC, Lesotho

The end of Apartheid in 1994 spelt a new era in the work of TRC. Like all other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Lesotho we were affected financially. TRC decided to abandon its regional focus for an internal one. Many challenges were waiting in the country: democracy education, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) and conflict management.
Today TRC is a vibrant NGO with four main projects: the Library, the Democracy and Human Rights programme, the Water For Justice Project and Information and Communication … (full text about 1/2 /General Info).

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Address: Transformation Resource Centre, P.O.Box 1388, Maseru 100, 1 Oaktree Gardens, Qoaling Road, Old Europa, Lesoto;
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About 2/2 /Background: In 1978, two years after the Soweto students uprising, one year after the death of the noted anti apartheid activist Steve Biko and the banning of many progressive Christian groups in South Africa, a South African family, Jimmy and Joan Stewart, moved to Lesotho in order to live a dream God had given them. 

Their aspiration was to establish a non-racial community which would work for peace and justice. Their call from God to serve humanity in the area of social justice marked the birth of Transformation Resource Centre (TRC).”

This journey takes us back to 1951 when a young couple, James Ecclestone Stewart and his wife Joan Alice (born Hope) arrived in Lesotho. James, or Jimmy as his friends called him, was a lawyer and Joan a teacher. Jimmy had left South Africa because he could not practise law under Apartheid. They made a living by teaching English at Pius XII College in Roma, Jim earning 5 pounds sterling. From Roma they started a journey that led them to England, USA, Kenya and Malawi before returning to Lesotho. What they left behind were crates of books which would later become the first stock in the TRC library. After teaching in Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana (USA), they returned to Africa. Jimmy took a post as lecturer in the English department at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. A few years later they left Kenya, after a crisis at the University.

The Stewart couple’s next stop was Malawi. Another job for Jimmy at Malawi University as Professor and head of the English department. In Malawi, President Kamusu Banda deported the Stewarts out of the country back to South Africa, for political incitement among University staff and students. But they never wanted to stay in South Africa. Their odyssey ended in Lesotho in the said year 1978.

Here the Stewarts shared their vision with others. They consulted with delegates to a conference of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa, which was held in 1978 in Lesotho. Archbishop Mandla Zwane of Swaziland supported the couple as they laid their plans. The late Archbishop of Maseru, A.L.Morapeli, made a pledge to help TRC with the task of fundraising. This is how the dream took shape.

First, the Assembly Bible College and then the St. Joseph`s High School gave them accommodation. There the Stewarts began to unpack the books which they had left behind so many years ago. They started writing and praying with the Dominican monks in Maseru. They also made friends with the South African refugee community. They received help from the Dominican brothers and from some of Lesotho`s leaders who had been Jimmy`s students in the 1950s. The consultation to form an ecumenical organisation also took Jimmy to Mophatong oa Morija, where he met and had discussions with one Rev. S.  Nthabane and the late Edgar Motuba who was the editor of the Leselinyane La Lesotho newspaper.

The refugee community: … (full long text).

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