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Voices only: Hymns and prayers for a troubled Eswatini

The southern African nation is home to a Christian college, clinic and multiple Churches of Christ.

Welcome to Voices only. Each week we scour the internet to bring you the best a cappella videos we can find.

This week I’m featuring some videos I recorded in the southern African nation once known as Swaziland, renamed Eswatini in 2018. It’s one of the last countries on the planet that’s classified as an “absolute monarchy” and is currently enduring a wave of violent, anti-monarchy protests. I have visited several Churches of Christ in this small nation and I’m praying for them — and for all of the kingdom’s 1.1 million souls.

Darren Hagood, spiritual director for Texas-based DCT Summer Blaze, plays “Simon Says” with children in Swaziland during African Christian College’s Golden Jubilee.

I was there in 2017, covering the 50th anniversary of African Christian College, a school with ties to our fellowship that has graduates serving as preaching pig farmers in Zambia, soul-saving school teachers in Kenya and benevolence minister baristas in Uganda. It’s a place where academia meets macadamia. An on-campus nut farm helps sustain the school.

I also got to visit legendary medical missionaries Bob and Annette Whittaker at the Mathangeni Church of Christ Clinic. They serve in a hotspot for HIV/AIDS. They share medicine and the love of Jesus. During the protests, looters have broken into the clinic and stolen computers, the Whittakers report.

Bob Whittaker takes a quick break during a busy day at the Mathangeni clinic in 2017.

Bob Whittaker takes a quick break during a busy day at the Mathangeni clinic in 2017.

Here’s a host of African and American Christians singing “When We All Get to Heaven” in Eswatini’s language, siSwati, during African Christian College’s golden anniversary celebration:

I first visited the college back in 2010 and also got to worship with some of the local congregations. Here’s a video from the Sunday morning services of the Matsapha Church of Christ:

This next one is one of my favorites. It’s a song from the flag ceremony during the 2017 anniversary celebration:

Here are some still photos and more songs from the celebration:

Finally, here’s a spoken-word poem by Sibusiso Adontsi, a graduate of African Christian College. I love his opening words: “Before we can heal Africa, we have to understand Africa.”

Related: African poet shares hardship and hope

Father, I pray for understanding and for healing in the Kingdom of Eswatini. Protect your servants there and make them shining beacons of hope in their homeland. Help them point the way to your Son.


Filed under: absolute monarchy African Christian College African Christianity African unrest Annette Whittaker Bob Whittaker Christian hospital Eswatini Eswatini crisis International medical mission Swaziland Voices Only

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