A vision of ‘Africa redeemed’ – Harriet Beecher Stowe

From time to time I come across an article, speech or writing  which just has to be shared. Not necessarily reported on or disected, just shared. This is one such article which is filed under the Verbatim section.

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin (published in 1852), a novel which played a significant role in the lead-up to the abolition of slavery in the United States. It is rumoured that Abraham Lincoln once quipped that Stowe was responsible for the bloodshed of the civil war, as this book exposed the reality of slavery within American society, to the extent that people took sides around the issue based on their reading of this novel. As an African, although probably not included in Stowe’s initial calculation but certainly in the modern sense of the word, I share her hope below – not on any other grounds than my perception of God and of history.

“Tom, therefore, in his well-brushed broad-cloth suit, smooth beaver, glossy boots, faultless wrist bands and collar, with his grave, good-natured, black face, looked respectable enough to be Bishop of Carthage, as men of his colour were, in other ages…

…If ever Africa shall show an elevated and cultivated race –and come it must, some time, her turn to figure in the great drama of human improvement– life will awake there with a gorgeousness and splendour of which our Western tribes faintly have conceived. In that far-off mystic land of gold, and gems, and spices, and waving palms, and wondrous flowers, and miraculous fertility will awake new forms of art, new styles of splendour; and the negro race, no longer despised and trodden down, will, perhaps, show forth some of the latest and most magnificent revelations of human life. Certainly they will, in their gentleness, their lowly docility of heart, their aptitude to repose on a superior mind and rest on a higher power, their childlike simplicity of affection, and facility of forgiveness. In all these they will exhibit the highest form of the peculiarly Christian life, and, perhaps, as God chasteneth whom He loveth, He hath chosen poor Africa in the furnace of affliction, to make her the highest and noblest in that kingdom which He will set up, when every other kingdom has been tried, and failed; for the first shall be last, and the last first.”

Serv. via Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ch. 16, p.227-228)

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…” -2 Chronicles 7:14


About Servaas Hofmeyr

For life through Truth.
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