I am an African. Born of her soil. Formed through her travail. Here in the cradle of all humanity. For several Christmases after everyone died I was at a loss as to what to do, where to go. I gravitated to the poor. Then one Christmas I discovered St Gabriel’s in Guguletu. It is a huge church down a rough road amidst rows of tiny houses with their patch of front garden, people chatting at the gates or sauntering off to church in their Sunday best.
The Church was packed. Long before the service singing started with the Marimbas dancing along. Sing to the Lord with the Marimbas, with the sound of music ring out your joy reaching to the very gates of heaven: A great throng of the heavenly host praising God and singing: Glory to God in the highest and peace to people on earth. Babies abounded on laps. Littlies gazed solemn around. Teenagers whispered the latest news. This was truly Christmas: To us a child is given, to us the Christ is born.
I bring you tidings of great joy. At the end the priest asked visitors to stand and say where they were from – Holland, America, Germany ….and myself, down the road. The congregation clapped loud and long to welcome each of us. Even after it was all over as the people poured out of its doors a group of old men formed a circle outside and continued to sing and shuffle-jive stiffly: There could be no end to the joy of the revelation of divine love. Lo I am with you always. Truly Christ is among us.
Here in Africa, birth place of humankind, even in the worst suffering, voices rise in praise to the Supreme Being – forever and for ever.