Tag: South Africa

Mandela legacy in South Africa: All races worship freely


Mandela legacy in South Africa: All races worship freely — Anti-apartheid champion’s quest for equality and justice draws praise from leaders of Churches of Christ. Page 1 lead.

Second Place, News Story, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

Bullets came flying at Alan Martin as he stepped off a Cape Town, South Africa, bus after a Wednesday night Bible study.

Martin, now dean of the College of Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, grew up in a segregated church and faced violence and oppression during the apartheid era.

Apartheid — an Afrikaans word meaning “the state of being apart” — was a government policy of segregation and racial and economic discrimination against non-whites.

“When I became a teenager, I became aware of apartheid. I just saw the discrimination, and I saw the unfairness,” Martin said as he reflected on anti-apartheid champion Nelson Mandela, whose Dec. 5 death at age 95 drew tears and condolences worldwide.

Like admirers around the globe, the roughly 30,000 members of Churches of Christ in South Africa celebrated the legacy of Mandela, who served as the nation’s first black president from 1994 to 1999.

In today’s South Africa, Christians of all races — including blacks, whites and “coloreds,” as those of mixed races are known — can worship together freely. That’s just one legacy of the life of Mandela, who had Methodist roots and wrote in a 1975 letter, “Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps trying.”

This story appears in the February 2014 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

The church in South Africa: Post-apartheid era brings blessings


The church in South Africa: Post-apartheid era brings blessings (reporting from Benoni, South Africa). Page 1 lead.

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Lynn McMillon, Amanda Jordan and Joy McMillon), In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Team, Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

BENONI, South Africa — On the fourth and final night of the Southern Africa Bible College lectureship, the voices of 500 Christians rang out in praise.

The diverse crowd — a mix of blacks, whites and “coloreds,” as those of mixed races are known in South Africa — sang first in English.

Then Clive Landsberg, a Zimbabwe-born immigrant, led two hymns in Venda, one of 11 official languages in Africa’s wealthiest and most developed country.

“It helps with unity,” said Landsberg, who a few nights earlier joined attendees in worshiping God in Zulu, another official language. “People feel welcome.”

A loud chorus of “Amens” greeted that night’s guest preacher, David Duncan, minister of the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston, when he pointed out that Jesus did not speak English.

“We are all here today because someone shared their faith with us,” Duncan said. “And we are called on today, no matter what country we’re from or what culture or what color we are, to share our faith in Jesus with other people.”

Bringing ‘salt and light’ to journalism (reporting from Searcy, Ark.). Inside Story.

Modern-day prodigal son takes his passion for reaching lost students to the City by the Bay (reporting from San Francisco). Currents.

50 years of mission support: Al and Donna Horne profile (reporting from Benoni, South Africa).