Sunday, February 04, 2007
Our last best word
Scarcely a tribe of East Africa was left unaffected in one way or another from a suffering unimaginable when the slave traders arrived from Arabia backed by their European financers. They travelled many miles into the African Plains to abduct their slaves before heading back to the coast toward Zanzibar. The last stop on the mainland was (and still is) an eerie place called Bwagamoyo.
Legend says that Bwagamoyo takes its name from the two Swahili words, bwaga and moyo. Bwaga means to throw down or put down, and during the long safari (journey), the leader of the group of slaves would, at certain times, shout to the other porters, “Bwaga mizigo” which means put down your loads. Moyo means heart. Bwaga moyo literally means to put down your heart.
I remember standing at Bwagamoyo awaiting the arrival of a ferry to Zanzibar nearly two years ago. As I stood at the waters edge I realised the enormity of its name. It was the place a captured slave, after his gruelling journey from the plains of East Africa, would lay down his heart, it was the place all hope was lost, because this would be the last time he would stand on the soil of his homeland before his trip to Zanzibar and beyond to a lifetime of cruelty and despair.
Two hundred years ago, British politician William Wilberforce and a small group of loyal friends took on the most powerful forces of their day to end the slave trade. His mentor was John Newton, the slave-trader-turned-songwriter who wrote the world’s most popular hymn, "Amazing Grace."
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, but the work of justice and mercy continues. Today 27 million men, women, and children are still enslaved around the globe.
Watch this and if it does not make you weep then I doubt you have a pulse....as Philip Yancey says, this is truly our last best word
* seems some are having problems with the link, if so, go to www.amazinggracemovie.com and play the trailer...