Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
Mother Africa Is Calling - Journey to South Africa
August 2006, a delegation from South Africa came to the USA to promote African Solidarity and Tourism. They were hosted by the Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, headed by Jitu Weusi. The South African delegation conferred with numerous persons and visited many places in the USA including our Church.
We promised that we would attend, what would be, the first Jazz African Heritage (JAH) festival February 15 – 25, 2007. February 18, 2007, my wife, Dr. Karen Smith-Daughtry and I honored our promise. We headed to South Africa. We were scheduled to leave February 14, with the USA delegation. But due to my court appearance, derive from my arrest at the Sudanese Mission, protesting the said government involvement in the death and destruction of Dar-furians in Western Sudan; we had to delay our departure. Arrested with me were the Reverends Cheryl Williams, R. K. Smith and C. Herbert Oliver. We pleaded guilty to the charge of blocking entrance to the above Mission; however, charges were dismissed conditional upon our staying out of trouble for six months.
The time of our scheduled departure from JFK was 5:20 p.m. EST. Actually, we took to the sky 8:00 p.m. EST. After 15 hours of air time, with an hour stop in Dakar, Senegal, we arrived at Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. There is a seven hour difference in time. An hour and a half later we were at the pyramid shaped Meroteng Hotel, in the Northwest providence, where we were to spend the night.
We arrived just in time for dinner. Immediately we were ushered into a usual size hotel restaurant. “A perfect entrance,” somebody said. We received e SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1nthusiastic applause from the sixty US delegates plus South African staff and visitors to the occasion. I was invited to say a few words and bless the food. Then I pleaded to go to our room to freshen up. We promised to return presently. True to our word, we were back at dinner in a half an hour. We had been warned that the dinner in this particular hotel was tasteless. The rumor proved to be true. I dined on spinach pasta. My wife ate chicken and mixed vegetables. After dinner, there were the usual exchanges of greetings. Borgani Sabaco, the son of Elizabeth and David Sabaco were great friends years ago, gave us an update on the program.
The next morning February 20, we were up at 7:30 a.m. Our room was spacious with a dome like ceiling. A small refrigerator was in the bedroom. The floor to ceiling picture windows led to a patio. The view was spectacular. The reasonable high mountain range stretched out into the distance. A blue hue engulfed the farthest mountains. Off in the distance animals strolled about leisurely. We went to breakfast at 9:30. The breakfast provided a variety of choices. Omelets were cooked according to taste. There was a smorgasbord of fruits, breads, cold meats, cheeses, yogurts and cereals. Liquids included juices, milk, tea and coffee. We dined on the veranda.
It was a lovely morning, about 65 degrees. The sun was climbing above the mountain top. A slight, refreshing breeze was blowing. Mr. Ndebele, CEO of the Northwest Park and Tourism Department, who is the head of JAH, along with Mr. Lungali came over to our table. Mr. Lungali is Chairman of the Board of the Northwest Park and Tourism Department. They were very pleased with the developments so far. They gave us the schedule of the rest of the trip. Also, Dr. Lorenzo Pace dropped by. Mr. Pace, whose perpetual laugher always informed where he was in the room. He is the well-known sculptor and author. He mentioned the planning to do a monument of our healing in South Africa. He planned to start with each person bringing a stone.
Later, my wife reminded me that the last year’s theme at our church had been “We are the Evidence.” It was rooted in the Bible story of God miraculous opening Jordon River for the people to cross over on dry land. As they journeyed, they were to pick up stones, and when they reached the other side, they were to place the stones in a pile. So, when the years rolled by and the children shall ask the meaning of these stones, the people would teach them.
Mr. Pace was deeply impressed, and he told Jitu. I conveyed the story to Jitu. Likewise, he was impressed. We paused for a moment with Professor Olivia Cousins, who is a well-known author. She decided she would stay behind and prepared for her lecture on Thursday.
We were scheduled to leave the hotel 11:00 a.m. We departed at 1:00 p.m. There were other delegates two hours away. Even so, Africa time is always a reality. It’s “colored people time” in USA. It was a comfortable bus. As we started our journey, we were told our first stop would be at a flea market. It would take an hour and a half to get there. Time went by rapidly as Mr. Ndebele led us in South African songs including South African Anthem. Also, from time to time, he would point to places of interest. He pointed to a Squatter’s camp held over from the time of apartheid’s rule. “There is a serious housing problem,” he said, “the government is moving as fast as it can to resolve this problem.” He pointed to beautiful homes and rolling farm land. He emphasized that these belonged to whites. However, occasionally he would point to homes owned by South Africans. South Africa is moving much slower in land reform than Zimbabwe. There were resorts for tourism, even golf courses. He bemoaned the fact that some of the development on the side mountains which, according to him, destroyed the view.
There were two nuclear plants for energy purposes. During the apartheid days, we criticized Israeli South African connections. We knew Israeli government was helping the apartheid regime develop nuclear power. We did not know for what purpose. We suspected that it was for purposes beyond simply energy.
Organizing Meeting on Darfur
each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
at The House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
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