Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
Mother Africa Is Calling - Journey to South Africa - Part III
In Calcutta, India they practice public cremation. The dead persons are carried thru the streets to the Cremation yard, where a bier or a bed of inflammatory material, or wood, or whatever that will burn, the body is placed on the top of the pile of stuff. Then a fire is started. Slowly the body is consumed by fire, as relatives and/or friends watch.
The government introduced a new Cremation place, with modern technology to make the exercise quicker and less painful. The people rejected it. It is incredible what humans can adjust to and once adjusted, there is stiff resistance to change.
Once we forgot we had put a kettle of water on the heated stove. The empty pot was destroyed. While I waited for my wife to buy another kettle, I started heating water for my tea in a small, twenty-ounce saucer shaped silver pan. Once the water was heated, I had to find a cloth, dexterously wrap the cloth around the handles to keep from being burned as I poured the water into my cup. It required patience and skill. Always there was the risk of being burned by fire or scalded by hot water.
Eventually, my wife purchased a beautiful, shinny new kettle, with a warning whistle when the water was boiling. Guess what? For over a week now, the new kettle is still unused. I just can’t seem to break away from the pan with all of its trouble and risk.
Now we had reached the Taung area. The bus rattled, swayed and jerked as we traveled up a narrow, twisting, rocky mountain road. The mountains were jagged, uneven and whitish gray. I understood later it was a limestone quarry. We arrived at a spot that had been cleared. It was like a picnic ground.
We were greeted with singing and dancing. Young men, it was hard to tell their ages, were dressed in rust color shorts or loin cloth. Some of them wore masks. They seemed to have been the dance leaders. Everybody, young and old, joined in the welcoming celebration. This dance reminded me of the Toie Toie dance I use to see the youth dance as they resisted laws of Apartheid.
They stomped, whirled around, lifting their legs occasionally; they hopped and skipped all in rhythm. We were greeted by the Executive Mayor of the Bophirima district municipality, Counselor Kaone Lobelo and Counselor Boitumelo Mahlangu, the greater Taung local municipality Mayor. We were guided to the tables of food. There was rice, lamb stew, chicken, greens; I think spinach, bread – big loaves of white bread, potato salad and pies and cakes. It seemed that the people went to great length to satisfy us. We showed our appreciation by the amount of the food we put on our plates. Some went back for seconds.
After lunch we walked up the hereditary trail, a rocky, dusky road, for about a mile, until we reached a plateau. There were two markers. One told the story in detailed, how a child’s skull was found in 1924, while they were blasting the mountains for lime stones. The mining manager discovered the skull but didn’t know the importance of his discovery. It was later ascertained by scientists that a great discovery was made. It is the oldest human remains ever found. That is why they call the place the World Heritage Site.
There was another marker cemented on a six-foot pyramid, a short distance away. There the guide told us the story of how the skull was found. Walking amidst the mountains, I always feel a quiet, loneliness-an over powering feeling of awe. The mystery, the majesty and mightiness of the mountains, wherever I find them, gives me the feeling of God’s presence.
Perhaps, this is one of the reasons since time immemorial seekers after a deeper spirituality has gone to the mountains. Moses went to the mountains, came face to face with God and came forth with the Ten Commandments. The air or climate seemed strangely different among the mountains. Grass, trees and shrubbery seemed to act differently as if they know they are in the presence of the Creator.
As we returned to the bus, baboons gathered on the highest mountain peak. They seemed to be watching us out of curiosity or guarding some secret. They didn’t seem threatened by us, but, it was a long distance away.
To be continued
Memorial Weekend – A Time to Remember our Heroes and Heroines
Saturday, March 10, 2007
From 10:00 a.m. – noon
We will remember Sonny Carson and Lumumba Carson
Lunch – noon until 2:00 p.m.
Dr. John Henry Clark and Dr. Betty Shabazz
From 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At the House of the Lord Church
All are invited
Sunday, March 11, 2007 @ noon
Church members will be remembered
Organizing Meeting on Darfur
each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
at The House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY