African Racial Tension
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African Racial Tension
Page 100

South West Africa

LuderitzThere was only one lamp post in Luderitz. Around it, on that day, a large crowd of black faces gathered awaiting the start of our outdoor witness. As I spoke, I happened to mention a story about the funeral of Abraham Lincoln,(1809-1865) when a black woman in the crowd watched the coffin of the assassinated president go by. Holding up her little child to see she said, "Look, there is the man who died that we might be free." As I finished my message, the bishop whispered from behind, "Look, Cap, you'll get us all in trouble mentioning Abe Lincoln!" This was not America, but South West Africa with its own African form of racial tension! An invitation had come from Bob Mize, my good friend and Head of the Associate Mission in Hayes, Kansas, who had just been consecrated the bishop of Damaraland. Bob wanted me to work with his native lay workers, hoping to form a Church Army from them as we had done with the Sioux Indians a few years earlier. Even as I climbed the steps of the plane in California to Namibia, I wondered whether I would really make it. Church Army Headquarters in America had seen scary newspaper reports of bubonic plague in Namibia, a country in South West Africa, and wanted me to stay at home. The National Director, knowing my determination, had written simply saying, "Go Ahead."

Windhoek Diamond Oasis

View of LuderitzFlying into Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, I knew that I had made it. The capital looked like a glistening diamond in a golden setting in the glinting sun. There to meet me at the airport was the bishop, a very imposing flamboyant looking figure. Some Bishop's assistants I met later at the cathedral were equally unusual. Bishop Mize did not delay and put me to work on the South African border in the diamond mining center of Oranjemund, on the banks of the Orange River mouth. The overland journey in a bumpy security bus through the sun baking Namibian desert was long and arduous. Some roads turned into impassable floods in the rains. After many stops we arrived in the mining settlement. Immediately there were frustrations and problems. My first meeting came as a shock. As I answered questions I discovered that four languages were in use simultaneously. What a garble! The confusion reminded me of the tower of Babel!

"African Racial Tension"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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