That same night Buchman had said to these Africans, 'Ninety-seven per cent of Africa belongs to you. Take it.' Nkomo's interpretation of this was interesting: 'He did not mean that we should take over Africa by subversion, etc, but that through change we could right the wrongs in Africa and play our rightful role.'21 While never relinquishing his political aims, Nkomo's methods of working towards them altered considerably over the years. His own verdict was: 'I am no less a revolutionary because I believe in God. I am now fighting with greater passion for a hate-free, fear-free, greed-free Africa, peopled by free men and women.'22 Two months before his death the Rand Daily Mail called him 'the father of all blacks'.23 In the context of Southern Africa the commitment to spiritual warfare of people like Nkomo and Daneel and many others of all races was tested to breaking point, and held, even as contrary pressures mounted over the years.

Buchman with William Nkomo

Buchman's Christmas message for 1956 reflected his abundant hopes for Africa: 'At the first Christmas wise men came from Arabia and Africa to acknowledge the hope of the world. Today Arabia and Africa may be the unexpected source that gives the answer to chaos ... It is the moment for a miracle. A Moor came to worship the Babe; Egypt sheltered the Child Jesus and an African carried the Cross to Calvary. The voice of this Africa can speak to every humble heart everywhere.'

Four years later the Belgian Congo was in its pre-independence throes. Numerous conflicts developed, among them a struggle between the Lulua and Baluba tribes in which hundreds were killed. Buchman received a letter from a chief of the Luluas, who had seen the film Freedom at a conference in Brussels and had been moved by it to seek an understanding with a Baluba leader who was also there. Leaders of both tribes then travelled together to Caux to ask for Moral Re-Armament's help in their country. One of these was the Grand Chief Kalumba of the Luluas. He talked about the situation to Buchman, who promised him that there would be peace between the two tribes before he himself died.


Photo: Buchman with William Nkomo, a founder of the ANC Youth League of South Africa, and his wife.
©MRA Productions