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 VII
After lunch, speakers included Professor B Mbenga, North West University and Professor Y Ngalaba Seieti, Department of Arts and Culture. I attended the lectures given by Professor B. Mbenga and Seleti. All of the speakers were brilliant. Again, I was compelled to respond. There was a statement made by Professor Seleti. He cited two Africans’ reacting to Christianity. One said he would Africanize Christianity and the other stated he would reject Christianity, saying you cannot be African and Christian. In my response, I said the two options presuppose Christianity is a European creation or has a European origin. “Christianity,” I said, “has its origin in Africa and in its early history was influenced by Africa. Europeans stole and/or assimulated and/or interpreted and implemented their brand of Christianity. But, if we throw out everything Europeans stole and distorted, there really wouldn’t be much left.”
“While it is commendable to Africanize Christianity, it is better to think of recapturing Christianity.” I made it clear that I wasn’t trying to convert anybody or even playing upmanship with religious. I said, “Africans, indeed, all people should choose the religion they desire and not disrespect other people’s choices.”
I praised the Black church for its role in African people’s struggle for freedom everywhere. I emphasized, “To say one can’t be African and Christian is not only untrue but it is a slap in the face of Black Christians who have given so much and struggle so long.” My reaction was well received. Afterward, many Africans thanked me. They had been wrestling with the same questions. At times they felt besieged and battered by critics and other religions that belittled or dismissed their commitment to Jesus Christ and Christianity. They said they appreciated my sincerity, knowledge, passion, persuasiveness and African consciousness. Brother Jitu Weusi made closing remarks. He thanked all the participants and looked forward to years of success.
Friday, February 22, 2007
We started the morning at the Mafikeng Studio, in Mafikeng. Local Municipality Executive Mayor Mosa Sejosengoe sponsored the events, including breakfast and subsequence golfing. The recording studio and resort had been vacant for several years. Now, it had been purchased and showed signs of rejuvenation. After breakfast was served - a wide variety of fruits, meats, cheese, bread, cereal, yogurts and eggs and potatoes, there was a short program. Mr. Ndebeni gave brief remarks. He extolled the accomplishments and potential of JAH. The Mayor welcomed everybody and Jitu expressed appreciation for the hospitality. There was a slide presentation on the recording studio. After breakfast and the program I gave gifts to the Mayor, Mr. Ndebeni and Mr. Lungali. The gifts were, my books on (South African Reader, and 2Pac for the Mayor), My Beloved Community and our church’s DVD for everyone. The executive mayor, a youthful attractive, intelligent female, thanked me profusely. A photo session followed.
Then we were taken on a tour of the facility. It is the most advanced studio in Africa we were told. There are three studios in the building. We visited the largest one. It was spacious, exquisitely designed with a beautiful shinny hardwood floor. The gray felt material, enclosing the sound, decorated the walls. The acoustics were superb. The performers’ area could accommodate one hundred artists. The recording area was lined with recording equipment and “more was on the way.”
While we were in the recording area, Randy Weston played one of his favorite numbers. Afterwards, he made remarks regarding his being raised as an African, Garvite by his father. He was born and raised in Brooklyn. Then he announced that he would make his next recording in the studio. Jitu proceeded to challenge all JAH musicians to do the same.
The next event was at a hotel and School for Hotel Management. We held the last meeting there. As the meeting progressed, I was informed that it was time for me to leave for the airport. I was asked to make remarks and pray. I repeated the remarks I made in Taung and prayed that God would bless the JAH efforts.
It is a three-hour drive from the hotel to Oliver Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. My wife and I said so long, as I with Eric Frazier, a Brooklyn musician stepped into the SUV. Our driver, Masego, a tall, brown skinned man with a clean head and a round face, asked us, “Are you comfortable, are you all right?” “Yes,” we replied, as we fastened our seat belts. “All right we are ready to go,” he said.
I landed back in JFK Saturday morning February 24. Whoever coined the words, “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home,” was right, even though being back home meant returning to challenges and crisis. It is still, always good to be back home.
Save the date Dar-fur Benefit
May 5, 2007 - 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
Organizing Meeting on Dar-fur
Each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
At The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
P.S. Report on Trip – Thursday, March 22, 2207