Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.

JAH Gospel Festival – South Africa Part II

by Dr. Karen S. Daughtry.


Our actions in S.A.S.A.A., growing out of our strong bonds of faith helped us to know, that like the women in the film, South Africa Belongs to Us, we are made in the image of God, we can make a difference. And so we stand together tonight understanding that 20 years later, our destinies are STILL inextricably woven together; that none of us is free until all of us are free.

And then, after the elections we came to South Africa on a fact finding trip to see what next steps of support S.A.S.A.A would take. We were hosted by Mama AdelaideTambo, who recently made her transition. Mama Tambo, greeting us at what is now known as Oliver Tambo International Airport said in our prayer together, “I thank God that I knew that one day we would stand together with our sisters from across the water in a free South Africa.”
During that time together, we met, Queen Mother and the people of Phokeng, visited schools among them, the Hector Peterson School, Orlando Children’s Home, Parliament, various ministries of the government, churches, hospitals and just plain folk. We adopted the Village of Tamboville, named in honor or Oliver Tambo, wrote a proposal to have a day care center built there and sponsored the Sole to Soul Pen Pal Program, linking the youth in the USA and the youth in South Africa by sending sneakers and exchanging letters and photographs. We went back home and changed our name from S.A.S.A.A. (Sisters Against South African Apartheid) to S.A.S.A (Sisters Assisting South Africans) and changed our watch words from “With Daring Direction, Divine Determination, Unceasing Desire, All of South Africa will be free! to “ Because of Daring Direction, Divine Determination and Unceasing Desire, all of South Africa is NOW free!

JAH presents another opportunity for us to make strong these linkages and represents the coming together through the universal language of Art and Culture, something which transcends gender, class and religious persuasion. JAH has the potential to produce a ripple effect which can send reverberations across the Diaspora that the blood that binds us together is STILL stronger than the water that divides us.

Both tonight and tomorrow we will stand together as brothers and sisters, as one people and we shall bear witness to the universal language of art and culture in action. Whether it is singing or listening to the gospel tonight by artists like Bishop Nat Townsley and the Gospel Jubilee and Rebecca Malope or tomorrow night - the rendering the universal language of jazz vocally by Vanessa Rubin and on musical instruments by Randy Weston, Jeff King or Hugh Masekela, we will all in some way participate in the healing effect that the music will bring.

But let us neither be immobilized or lulled to sleep by the music, nor be sent into a state of indecision or inaction by the paralysis of analysis but let the music and the art form awaken our spirits and ignite us to take action.
Malcolm said, “Power belongs to the people who prepare for it today. Do nothing today and there will be no tomorrow.

The end of legal segregation in the United State of America was in a tomorrow when, Rosa Parks refused, after a hard day’s work to get up from the seat she occupied on the bus.

A Free South Africa was locked in a Tomorrow when Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robin Island, and P.W. Botha was in power and Apartheid was the order of the day.

Jazz Africa Heritage (JAH) was in a Tomorrow before it was born in the minds of assassinated freedom fighter David Sibeko and his wife, Elizabeth and passed on to their son.

Our challenge is to, in the words of the Prophet Habakkah as written in Hab 2:2
“Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets that he may run that reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it because it will surely come to pass. It will not tarry.”

Let me share with you a biblical story. Scripture says that the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses were liberated from bondage and set out on an eight day journey to the Promised Land. They miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, were provided food and water but for 40 years wandered in the desert, and because of their contrary spirits and disobedience, most of them died in the wilderness never receiving the promise. A generation later, Moses himself, died and his successors, Joshua and Caleb, sent spies into the land to see what it was like. Two reports came back. One, the majority report, said there were giants in the land and they were grass hoppers in their own sight. The second (the minority report), said that although there were giants in the land, they (the people of God) could be victorious. The most amazing part of this story is that Joshua and Caleb, believing the minority report, went in to possess the land only to hear the “giants” say that they knew that God’s people were coming and they had been trembling every day, for the past 40 years, while waiting for the people of God to come and claim their inheritance. JAH reminds us that today, we must write the vision and make it plain. We must put petty differences to the side and we must return to our cities, our countries, our co workers, our families , our friends and yes, even our enemies and spread the good news of JAH. We should never forget that our faith must always undergird the work that JAH has outlined, the work that we should all commit ourselves to do because our work can and will make a difference. We must remember that “if God be for us, He is more than the whole world against us.”

And so my brothers and sisters, let me take my seat by repeating our initial affirmation, one which I hope you will capture and put in a place where you can see it often. When discouragement comes we need to be reminded that we are all special and not only is our individual work important, but it is a sacred work.

I am only one!
but still I am one!
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something
And because I cannot do everything.
I shall not refuse to do what I can do
for there is no one else quite like me
And I can make a difference with God’s help!
NOW LET THE HEALING BEGIN! MAY GOD BLESS YOU. ENJOY!

Save the date Dar-fur Benefit
May 5, 2007 - 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
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Organizing Meeting on Dar-fur
Each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
At The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY