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Hope For The "Basket Case" Continent!

Length: 112 pages1 hour


Poetry is at the heart of Africa's long existence. It flows through chants, rhapsodies, songs, and praises. The continent has seen more than its fair share of joy, pain, rage, and faith; and every generation has asked questions in the light of their share of despondency. How long will this go on? Is there hope of Africa ever turning around?

These poems took shape in the boiling pot of my service as a volunteer missionary and a church minister. From Kibera, in Nairobi, to Tambo Square, in Cape Town the pain is the same. I have danced in churches in the slums because their hope, faith, and love is as real as anybody else's. But I have also stood in the streets of Mandeville, Jamaica, and seen that this pain follows Africa into the diaspora and teaches us to hold our joy and pain in a dynamic tension that leads to hope. In African poetic expressions I join those who channel anger, disappointment, and concern for injustices and oppression into faith in God's companionship on our common journey towards hope.

Parts of this continent have capitulated to rage-inspired by hopelessness. But without hope, faith, and love, the bloodshed of rage has simply provoked greater rage and more bloodshed. Africa has been marketed as a "basket case" by fatigued development enthusiasts but, I write to say there is hope for Africa. Some poems in this little book describe things as they are and others are intended to be inspirational.

The hope of Africa is in her spirituality and the health of the African Church is a huge concern to this writer. I also write in the hope that Africans reading this will see hope and have fun with the wording and phrasing of these verses. This writer draws inspiration from European history and its transformation because there were times when Europe was in no better shape than Africa is today. Transformation came and Europe rose from its ashes.

Japan, China, Australia, Singapore all had very dark days, but they moved forward not backward; towards joy, not hopelessness and anger. This is the heart of these poems: transformation is happening in Africa at a painful pace today. With more and better quality education, this pace will increase to take Africa to a more joyful place. I hope for the coming of a joy that will comfort concerned global citizens who are happy to see the missing face of Africa--truly happy faces of Africans thriving in their own way!

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