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
Thursday, February 22, 2007, it was another
beautiful morning. The delegates were slow getting up. Some of us did not get
to bed until 3:00 a.m. The homelike hotel or bed and breakfast hotel is a sprawling
place, with about five dining areas. I do not know how many bedrooms. The way
the rooms are situated each seems to be hid away and personalized. Our room, Bush
Ferns, was spacious with a thatch roof. It was comfortable and quaint with old
furniture and a high ceiling made with straw and other elements.
There were trees, flowers, shrubbery everywhere and a swimming pool. We were told
that this is the place where Nelson Mandela stays when he is in town. It is called
Ferns Country House. We had egg omelet for breakfast and Earl Grey Tea. We sat
outside near the pool. Soon the hornets drove us inside. They were bold and hungry.
They swarmed into all the jelly and jam dishes.
This day was devoted to seminars. The venue was ten miles away. When we arrived,
young people were ubiquitous. JAH had set up, in the front yard, a circular vending
operation. There was a car decorated with JAH promotional material. It immediately
caught our attention.
Walking through a large dining area, where lunch was being prepared, we entered
the auditorium where the seminars would be held. The auditorium seated about several
hundred people. Recording equipment had been set up. There were two themes, the
first one – “The Effects and Impact of Slavery and Colonialism on
the African Psyche,” the second - “The Origins and Impact of African
Arts and Culture in Human History.” After welcoming by Ndabeni who spoke
glowingly about the vision he had for JAH, “It has the potential to unite
the African on the continent with African in the Diaspora,” he said.
The first presenter was Ambassador Mbulelo Rakwena, Depart of Foreign Affairs.
His subject was “The Logic Behind Africa’s International Engagement
with the Continent and its Diaspora.” The Ambassador was humorous, softly
eloquent, and comprehensively knowledgeable. Also, he was challenging. He said,
“You can see Africa origin everywhere in the world.” I was especially
impressed by his knowledge on various movements in the world. He mentioned the
anti-Apartheid and Reparation Movements in the USA.
He alluded to several names connected to these movements. During the questions
and answers (Q&A) I felt compelled to enlighten him regarding the persons
he had named in connection with the fore-stated movements. I pointed out that
as it related to the anti-Apartheid Movement the persons he had mentioned had
capitalized on the motion that had been created by others - now forgotten.
And with respect to The Reparation Movement, the said persons did not have any
meaningful role or made any contribution to that movement. I related names of
persons who were the leaders. Among them were Viola Plummer and the D 12 people,
Elombe Brath, the National Black United Front, National Coalition of Blacks for
Reparations in America (N’COBRA), to name a few. I emphasized that my intention
was not to be critical but, to be accurate as is relates to history.
“Too often” I said, “it has happened that grassroots leadership
bears the burden and the sacrifice of launching and sustaining a movement. Then
when victory or success or popularity is in sight, others join the bandwagon,
and because of their bourgeois status and connections they become the recipients
of accolades. Even world leaders praise their names.”
I feel and have always felt that it is important that history be truthful. The
second point I made was to underscore the importance of JAH. It bridges the class
divide. I highlighted the diversity of the U. S. delegation. I singled out Jitu’s
credibility, his long years of organizing across color and class lines. My remarks
were well received.
When the Ambassador returned for Q&A and statements from the audience, he
reacted to my comments. He agreed with me. He shared my concerns. He reminded
us that the ANC was a mass movement. Afterwards we continued the discussion as
we went to lunch. He was a likable man, a true diplomat.
I should point out here; earlier Jitu had raised the issue of support of political
prisons in the USA. He had mentioned that other nationalities were able to win
the release of their political prisoners with the help of foreign governments.
“Could the South African government do the same?” he asked. The Ambassador
made it clear that as a representative of a government there are rules that govern
interactions between nations; therefore, he could not have that discussion in
public. There may be other channels and other persons with whom that issue of
political prisoners could be discussed.
To be continued
On Thursday, March 29 be prepared to attend the Rally when I will make my report.
Save the date
May 5, 2007 – 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
Organizing Meeting on Darfur
each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
at The House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY