Each region of Nazareth Care is led by a Regional Sister Superior & Chief Executive Officer. Nazareth Care Africa is under the leadership of Sister Lorraine Akal, elected in 2022, together with Henco Walker, Chief Executive Officer for Nazareth Care Africa.
Sr Lorraine Theresa Akal, Nazareth Care Africa
Sister Lorraine Theresa Akal is a proud South African hailing from KwaZulu-Natal. They say, “We do not choose God; instead, God chooses us.”
The journey of Sr Lorraine’s vocation began after her 21st birthday when she relocated from Durban to Cape Town. While working at a Shipping Company, she ventured into the world of dance at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, finding joy in movement and life.
In 1966, residing at Villa Maria Girls Hostel run by the Schoenstatt Sisters, a transformative illness in July changed her path. A profound desire to serve the Lord emerged, shaping her spiritual journey. She joined the Sisters of Nazareth in Melbourne, Australia, in 1967, embarking on a new purposeful life.
Celebrating her Golden Jubilee on May 1, 2019, she is deeply grateful for the Lord’s guidance throughout her vocation, having worked in various Nazareth Houses. Ten years were dedicated to Formation, a period of immense spiritual growth. Serving in leadership roles within the community, she embraced the unconditional love of the Lord, reaching out to those in need.
Since then, Sr Lorraine has been appointed Regional Superior of the African Region of the Sisters of Nazareth. She had never been one to sit behind a desk all day, so the part of her job which she finds most rewarding and enriching entails visiting our Houses and outreach projects throughout the Region. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable and lonely.
Chief Executive Officer
Henco Walker, Nazareth Care Africa
“True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.”— Sheri L Dew
Growing up in the North West Province, the part of South Africa which borders Botswana, Henco Walker have had to adjust to his new working and home environment, after being appointed at Nazareth Care, situated in the Western Cape. Cape Town, as a city with its own charm, magic, challenges and cultural dynamics has become his new home and the heart of where he spends his days, nights and weeks at work and at play.
His initial expansion, into his personal journey and upbringing, began with the most special set of traits being handed over to him through real-life coaching when he was appointed as Head Boy of the student council to a school of over 900 students in the early years of the 2000’s. He participated in the oversight of student leader body members at the school, engaging in the decisions of the modern day learner, interacting with teachers and principal with a strong sense of wanting change and growth. It was during this period, and notion of his personal awareness, when he realised that management was his forte and direction in life.
It occurred to him that by being a leader he was able to influence and impact individuals and departments in a positive way and with his own flare of enthusiasm. Leadership and management has been an integral part of his journey.
The early developments in his schooling career were the stepping stones to a truly great journey to being an established, passionate and success driven individual. Having been given the opportunity to hold down a variety of managerial positions over the course of 15 years he gained an enormous amount of experience in both the hospitality, services and goods, mining and healthcare, senior and child wellness and care industries.
During the years 2006 – 2018 Henco have been involved in the operational management of and directorship of multiple resorts, hotels as well as general management of lodges and convention centres. This was most interesting to him because he was largely part of projects and roll-outs of various systems and processes.
He furthermore describes his years working in Africa as one of the key experiences equipping him in becoming the leader that is aims to be today. Being involved in multiple mining projects, that included a vast scope of work, such as leading and appointing a productive work team, supply chain management, procurement, building site management and general project planning added to his ability to be part of the management team of a world class organisation such as Nazareth Care. His experience taught him the value of team-work and taking action in a thorough and calm manner, even when situations seem out of control or stressful for those around him.
This brings him to one of the most memorable part of his career so far, being appointed as CEO of Nazareth Care Africa during March 2021. The extent of the impact of the work Nazareth House do as an organisation in communities at bay, as well as the impact the cause has on him on a personal level, enables Henco to guide the non-profit organisation with gives him so much joy, with passion and commitment.
The children and elderly residents Nazareth care for and staff whom he interacts with daily has taught him to be humble and appreciative of his role as a leader. What he has learnt, is that there is no hierarchical divide in the organisation. In his opinion, this aspect is quite rare and he has not experienced it in the corporate marketplace he ventured in before.
So far, at age of 38 years of age Henco is most grateful to have accomplished so much and is looking forward to the next part of his journey as the new CEO of Nazareth Care Africa.