I am particularly excited that we are naming Africa, the Great Lakes Region of East Africa in particular, as an area of special focus for the center, which will lead to more Duke involvement in the region through specific programs of Field Education; Pilgrimage Pain and Hope, leadership training etc. There is a saying: “You can take a man out of the village, but cannot take the village out of a man.” This is particularly (and thankfully)true in my case. You cannot take Malube, Africa out of me. She has so much wrapped herself around me that she would never let go. Not only will Africa be my home, my sweet, sweet, painful home; there is a sense in which all journeys finally lead me back to Africa, if not physically at least intellectually and emotionally. In my teaching and research, I seek to understand Africa; explore her gifts and challenges; and seek ways of making a difference to the world of my mother, and of others like her, in Africa, millions without a voice. That is why I will always speak with an accent – a heavy African accent – about matters Africa.
In this way, I bring Africa, wart and all, her ancestors, her joys and painful memory, her suffering, struggles, her hopes, frustrations, her gifts and needs to Duke, to North Carolina to America. And at the same time I invite my audiences to listen to and to ‘come and see’ Africa- fully aware that those who accept the invitation will be richly transformed.