South Africa was found wanting once before when the wind of change was blowing in Africa. It is happening again now, writes Tshego Motaung.
Earlier this year on February 16, I was MC for the Africa Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) pre-launch event. The event, at the Sandton Shul Hall, brought South Africans of all racial groups — Jews and Gentiles — together. One couldn’t help but marvel at how the words of the prophets of old are being fulfilled in our time.
While preparing for the event and pondering on what to say, the words of Harold Macmillian, the British Prime Minister who made the famous “Winds of Change”, speech came to mind. He addressed the South African Parliament on February 3 1960 in Cape Town. He had travelled the continent and had overseen the liberation of several African nations at the time, which began with the liberation of Ghana in 1957. He said: “The wind of change is blowing through the continent. Whether we like or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.”
The South African political elite of the time were in denial of this wind of change, and were determined to resist this move with everything they had. They were able to resist it for 30 years, until February 11 1990, when they finally succumbed and released Nelson Mandela and all political prisoners.
Wind of change blowing once more
In my opening remarks I shared about this, and how I believed that once more the winds of change were blowing through our nation and the continent.
However, these winds are moving Africa not just towards national consciousness like before, but they are moving Africa and her people towards the fulfilment of ancient biblical prophecies.
The coming together of Africa and Israel is a fulfilment of ancient prophecies. In Isaiah 19, the prophet prophesied about the future of Egypt at a time when it was still a global leader in almost every sector. Biblical Egypt and Ethiopia refer to most of what we know as Africa today, and is not just limited to the current borders we know. To help us understand this prophecy I will use Africa instead of Egypt.
The prophet spoke of the calamity that would befall Africa. A time of conflicts and civil wars in Africa as brother would fight brother, kingdom against kingdom. A time when the economies of Africa would fail, a time of famine and hunger. A time when Africa would be under the hands of cruel taskmasters. A time when unemployment would be high and the workers would lament (Isaiah 19:1-16). This would happen because Africa had forsaken the living God and relied on worshiping idols.
The prophecy of Africa doesn’t end with destruction like the prophecy of Babylon which the prophets declared would never be rebuilt. The story of Africa ends with the hope of restoration. Africa will cry to the Lord because of her oppression and the Lord will deliver her and heal her. The prophet continued to speak of a time when there would be a highway that would connect Africa, Israel and Assyria.
Time of the restoration of Africa
I understood how special that pre-launch evening was, and how blessed we are to be living in this time of restoration of Africa. Initiatives like the AICC are some of the tools for bringing fulfilment to these prophecies. However, it is fascinating to notice how the current South African political leaders are acting in the same way their predecessors did in 1960, when they resisted the winds of change.
ANC resisting winds of change
There is a move that is bringing Africa and Israel together again. But, in the same way that liberation of South Africa was resisted in the 1960s, the ANC is resisting this current move in South Africa. During their recent policy conference, the ANC adopted a policy position that wants to see the country downgrade ties with Israel. This was a compromise they reached as many wanted to see the relationship with Israel completely severed.
The irony is that, this is happening at a time when more African nations are strengthening their relationships with Israel. In 2015 Zambia, the former headquarters of the ANC liberation movement, reopened their embassy in Israel after over 40 years and recommitted to working together with Israel. That same year Rwanda and South Sudan did the same. In 2016, the Prime Minister of Israel visited four African nations, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya. Later the Togolese President visited Israel and will be hosting the Africa-Israel Summit in October, bringing heads of state in the continent together with Israel.
As if this is not enough, Prime Minister Netanyahu made his second trip to Africa in less than a year. He joined the West African leaders in June at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting in Monrovia, Liberia. ECOWAS represents a population of approximately 350 million people, where Islam is a predominant religion of several ECOWAS states. Upon his return to Israel, Netanyahu met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who was visiting Israel.
Blowing throughout the nations
These winds that are stirring nations towards Israel are not just blowing in Africa, but throughout the nations. The United States is planning to move its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made history as the first Prime Minister of India — a nation with approximately 170 million Muslims — to visit Israel. His visit took place the same week the ANC was busy deliberating on downgrading relations with Israel. China and Israel marked 25 years of diplomatic relations this year, and China’s interest in Israeli innovation and technology remains high.
One cannot help but wonder where the ANC is going on this subject, when the rest of the continent and their BRICS friends are moving in the opposite direction. I guess this is the reason the psalmist wrote: Why do the nations rage, And the people (ANC) plot a vain thing? — Psalm 2:1
We can only hope that someone will remind them before their conference in December that no purpose of the Lord can be withheld from Him — Job 42:2. And that those who walk in pride He is able to put down — Daniel 4:37, irrespective of how high they may be.