The air tasted thick with moisture.  Abra clung to her mother’s lifeless body in the forest. Eyes searching the early morning mist. Her chains clattered in the darkness, she cried softly, so as not to bring any attention to herself. As the day dawned, she realized they were quite alone.  The slavers seem to have abandoned them overnight.

An owl’s call in the distance wakened her. Startled, her eyes searching in the early morning shadows. No one came. She called out, softly at first, a little less fearful, with each passing minute. Finally she screamed, as her mother’s lifeless face lolled over.

‘Afande!’  It was the only word she could remember.  The kidnapping of random family members in their Mozambique village had alarmed her.  Their long march to the land of sea lasting days. Hunger, thirst and disease claimed its first victims on their long march. All the while, her mother gently reassuring her that her father and brothers would come searching for them. How, she wondered.  Her mother had eventually lost hope, as they marched north up the coast, with its warm sticky breezes. She recalled the clear skies and beauty of the waves, the beautiful white sand and the striking colours of the sea.

‘Afande!’ Desperate and breathless, she began to cry. Hot tears streamed her cheeks as she placed leaves over her mother’s face, chest and arms. ‘I am sorry, Mama. If only we let them separate us, you would be here to speak to me today.  I am sorry!’ She cried, screaming as she released her  frustration.

The man leapt out beside her, startling her as he landed.  His white head-dress clearly visible. He bent down, felt Abra’s mother’s pulse and turned to inspect her. She shivered, fearful of a beating.  He lifted her chin with a short cane, forcing her to her feet. She held her breath, eyes wild, afraid to look into his murderous eyes. He muttered some words in Arabic.  Abra stood motionless, with her chains clanging in the morning stillness. He picked the keys off his belt and unlocked the shackles around her mother’s wrists, freeing her dead body. He threw a large palm over her and grabbed Abra’s neck, leading  her out of the forest and onto some sand dunes. The dense bush was left far behind and a line of chained slaves came into full view, their heads and eyes looking ahead of them, fearful, tired, anxious and in coerced obedience.  Her wrists tethered and chained to the others and the chief slave raised a chant, to which they marched in solitary silence.  The slavers were few but heavily armed with whips and swords.  The men led the group followed by women and children in another chain gang.  Some teared up when they saw her. Others cursed the day they were born, each wondering when this endless march would come to an end.  They marched across the scorching dunes and back into the scrub land and into a long, damp endless forest. 


They foraged for food at nightfall.  Their captors ordered their personal slaves to prepare their tents and food for the night.  They ate to their fill, laughing and celebrating their catch from the hinterland. The slaves shivered with starvation, crouching on the forest floor, scooping out every drop of water from the large leaves that covered the ground.  A solitary bowl of food shoved to the male slaves, later in the evening.  Men and women scavenged for its contents.  Pasty, strange flavours, flat and slightly sour.  This was the last of the food seized during one of the village raids, stale and rotting.
They huddled in groups, women clinging to children, some of whom they did not know, gently singing lullabies to ease them to sleep.  The men crouched, some lay in foetal positions at a loss at how and why they were. They each settled into an uneasy sleep, occasionally stirring, chains restraining their movement.  They heaved in their deep and fitful sleep. Abra slept for the first time in many nights.


Saluting Madiba


The true greatness of a man shines through his humility, commitment and sense of purpose.  We live in a world where glamour and riches are the main aspirations of younger generation; the glimmer of recognition and the apparent reward that brings are presumed to be true happiness. So what happens when a man, who simply chose non-violence and strategic leadership comes along and changes our perception?  The world stops, we stare, quietly question and admire this new line of humanity, bowled over by his appeal.Image

Mr. Nelson Mandela, you inspired a nation and a continent, to turn us all into a rainbow nation, after years of racial stuggles across every nation.  We thank God for you.  Your simple statements opened our eyes and hearts to simple truths of our existence – poverty, HIV/AIDS and racial divides as some our real enemies. 


It is a great honour to have heard you speaj, visit your nation and rejoice with your people at the birth of the Rainbow Nation.  We thank God for you and pray for your nation’s continued strong path.







Shifting sands once more


“The birds have circled for a while now”, said the girl. She went on, “Yesterday felt much worse!'” As I write this post, I realize I she and her family spent the last 24 hours ‘feeling’ stuff.  Blame it on shifting atmospheres.  Things are set to change because God handles all.  Change is coming, whether we like it or not.

2 Corinthians 5:17

As the old self unravels, a sense of death is strangely welcome. The warm comfort of Scripture and God’s reassurance.  The seasons change and we adapt to our new environment, like shifting sands.  36 hours after dreary news came answered prayer.  A sigh of relief, a silent prayer and near disbelief.  God shone through and delivered them from certain bankruptcy.

“The birds have left”, the little girl shared.  ”

The sun is out and God’s arms are around us in June”, beamed the girl’s mother.  “God is here and we cannot find the words to thank Him enough!”Image

The shifting sands of time, directed under God’s awesome care, control and plans!  I remember that girl and thank God for all He continues to do.  What about you?