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

JAH Gospel Festival – South Africa Part I

by Dr. Karen S. Daughtry.

At the time of this article, I have been in the region of Dar-fur attending meetings with all parties.  As a part of this trip, we are visiting the refugee camps in Chad and connecting with those who have been most affected by what the UN has said is "the worst humanitarian crises ever".  My departure has been delayed and I expect to return to the State on Saturday, March 31, 2007.    In my absence the articles for this week will consist of remarks made by my wife, Dr. Karen S. Daughtry, during our recent visit to the Northwest Provence of South Africa with the delegation headed by Jitu Weusi, Coordinator of the Jazz Africa Heritage Tour.  Dr. Daughtry delivered these remarks at the gospel concert which was held as a part of this tour.  

Address given by
Dr. Karen S. Daughtry
on the occasion of the
The Jazz Africa Heritage Gospel Festival
Convention Center
North West Province - Republic of South Africa
Friday, February 23, 2007
************
Let’s take a moment to engage in what I call a bit of ministry. Repeat these words after me.
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!

Honor to God, Mama Grace, Queen Mother Semane Molotlegi, All Scholars and Artists and to those who are responsible for bringing us together, Mr. Charles Ndebeni, members of The North West, Parks & Tourism Board and to my longtime friend and Struggler, Mr. Jitu Weusi, Chairman of the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium and members of the CBJC Board.

The watchwords of JAH are “The Motherland is Calling” and we from the United States have come to answer that call. I bring greetings from The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church located in the USA in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, NY, a church under the visionary and forward thinking leadership of our pastor, Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry. It is a church which sees no dichotomy between the social and the spiritual. It is a church which has been on the cutting edge of the issues of our time and in that regard has issued the calls for so many of the meetings which would determine the direction of communities and, in fact, the course of history.

Today, I am proud to be a Christian who embraces not the white man’s religion but, rather one who knows the God of the Oppressed, whose Son came out of the Cradle of Humankind, Mother Africa.
I am pleased that Bro Jitu and Bro. Charles had the good sense to put an evening of gospel music on JAH’s agenda for it is a music which undergirds our faith. Songs which come immediately to mind are “Give me that Old Time Religion”, “Deep River”, and “I’m Goin’ Home on the Morning Train”. It is these songs which have been and remain the bedrock of our hope, our sustaining sustenance and our liberation.

We understand the power of our faith, the power of the church, especially the Black church and its connection to our liberation and that is why, after the rebellion of Nat Turner, laws were passed forbidding Black folk to gather for religious purposes.

Yes, the Motherland is calling now and has been calling; and some of us in the Black church heard the call and although at the time we heard it, we did not fully understand all there was to know about the awful system of apartheid, but one thing we did now, was that we were our brother/sister’s keeper and so hearing of the plight of a sister named Winnie Mandela, whose husband Nelson Mandela was in jail, that she was being, consistently harassed, separated from her children, beaten, and detained in solitary confinement -- our spirits were troubled.

Back in February 1986, during a trip from the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus in Albany, NY, I began to complain to my husband and to pinpoint those persons and/or organizations who I felt should be responding to this sister’s plight. Rev. Daughtry turned to me and said with conviction, “Why don’t YOU do something.” My immediate reaction was anger. “How dare he challenge me! He should keep his challenges directed to the Presidents, Mayors and Magistrates of our Nation, State and City.” After a period of pregnant silence, anger having turned to adrenaline, I put out a call to the community and 30 women showed up. Honesty constrains me to say that it was my intention to have a discussion, call a press conference, issue a statement and move on. During our time together, we saw a film entitled “South Africa Belongs to Us”, which depicted the women of South Africa and their resolve to see an end to the racist apartheid system. When the lights came one, we all knew that we could not just hold a press conference but we must get up off the sidelines and take action. That day S.A.S.A.A. was born. The name S.A.S.A.A. from a Ki Swahili word meaning “Now” was adopted and we developed a Six Point Program which included Public Awareness, Educational Initiatives, Divestment Activities, Political Education, Youth and Moral and Material Support. Under this banner we lobbied, gathered petitions, held rallies and demonstrations and got arrested. We joined our efforts with the International Community and we believe that our actions, which were under girded by our faith in God and our card carrying membership in the Black church played some small role in seeing an end to apartheid in our lifetime.
One of our most notable achievements in S.A.S.A.A. was our Material and Moral Support Component in which we were successful in sending six (6) 40 foot containers of material support items to the front line states, to the ANC and SWAPO refugee camps and directly into South Africa. We gathered the items from the tri state
area as well as from other states, and we found a way to ship them and they were received by you, our brothers and sisters in this country.

In addition, in 1989 we hosted Zenani Mandela and her husband at our church the year before her father’s
release from prison and I was proud to, along with my good friend Julie Belafonte, Co- chair the Women’s Division of the Nelson Mandela Reception Committee which planned the 1990 Mandela visit to NY when David N. Dinkins served as New York’s 106th Mayor. During that historic visit, we hosted Winnie Mandela at or church in a Women’s Leadership Symposium as well as at the Brooklyn Academy of Music where more than 3000 people came to witness, in the flesh, our prayers being answered.
To be continued
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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