Historical Perspective

The Emissaries have been active in South Africa since the early 1970s. In 1978, when the Hohenort Hotel was advertised for sale, an enthusiastic group of young Emissaries, keen to be of service took up the challenge of owning and running a somewhat run down commercial hideaway hotel and transformed it into a popular tourist hotel and conference centre.

The emissary in residence management team, committed to demonstrating the power of spiritual agreement in action, created an atmosphere of loving respect, and were soon ready to extend a warm welcome with a proficient level of customer service.

The Hohenort Hotel business in association with the adjoining Gate House Centre provided a true space of home for Emissaries to serve the awakening spiritual consciousness stirring in South Africa and in the world at large.

Highlights of those early years, included a much loved dinner/concert venue and meeting place for jazz enthusiasts featuring Cape Town’s finest classical and jazz musicians. The first multi-racial weekend jazz festival held in South Africa during the repressive apartheid era, was held at the hotel while at the same time, hotel staff quarters were often prey to police raids and pass law immigration checks.

Long before the green environmental movement, the Hohenort established itself as a venue for leading edge conferences, public speakers and workshops offered by renowned figures including Laurens Van Der Post, world famous psychologist Carl Rogers, reflexology pioneer Wayne Dyer, Open Space visionary, Owen Harrison along with many others.

The Emissaries offered their own spiritual education seminars, classes and workshops. These programmes were created to inspire a newly awakening consciousness around living a spiritually oriented radiant life, focused on personal leadership and service for the larger good.

The Hohenort developed as a thriving conference centre and safe haven for multicultural healing, holding true to a vision for the time to come that would supplant the cruelly repressive apartheid era.

Weekly interfaith meetings were held over a number of years, hosted by a much loved and respected Xhosa speaking elder, Peggy Norton. Her home welcomed our hotel staff as well as a number of domestic workers and gardeners in and around local neighborhood.

In 1991, after 14 wonderful years of service, the Hohenort Hotel was sold – and a new era of service commenced.

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