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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Jacqueline Galloway-Blake described her first visit to Africa to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela as spiritual

food and kept friends back home in America abreast of her experience with three journal entries. They highlight how it felt to walk in the steps of the South African civil rights leader, bumping into the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the second time in three months, finding a bible study to join in her hotel, worshipping with Seventh-Day Adventists in Pretoria, and making new friends with people from aroundt he world who shared a deep desire to pay their respects to Mandela. Here are the three entries in reverse order of her days in South Afria: Hello All, Gunu, Mandela's childhood hometown, was the site of the final service and burial. It is a day's journey by car from Pretoria. So, I was content to watch it on television at the hotel. My desire was to be surrounded by citizens of South Africa and to hear/see their reactions. We watched, cried and talked about the events as they transpired. Overhead fighter jets roared in an honor formation and the canons fired from the Union Building where Madiba had lain in state, as we watched the funeral. The skies were "roaring" in a final salute. Different colored fumes - representing the colors of SA flag - were emitted from jets. It was a dream come true for me to be on the soil of South Africa with the people to share their grief and celebrate the incredible life of reconciliation and forgiveness exhibited by this "lion" of a man. (Remember, the poem? If you didn't receive a copy in a previous email, just ask.) By the way, the night before, I met a man who travelled from England for same reason. His experience was similar to mine, acquired a passport in a short time, and jumped on a plane. But he went straight from airport to Union Building with backpack and pulling a "rollie" (as he said in his thick English accent). He was able to see Mandela on Friday. (That was quite a feat because thousands were turned away on Friday). I took his picture and interviewed him for radio program. He said, "I had to come to show my respects for Madiba." (see photo) Later that evening, my new friend, Monika - student at Univ of SA (see photo) - visited and gave me two gifts: a totebag from her country and bearing the name "Namibia" and a little beaded trinket. We ate dinner together in hotel - the salads are so attractively prepared - (see photo) and then she took me via taxi to her school.

University of Pretoria is unbelievable. The grounds are like a botanical garden, the layout of campus and design of buildings is modern and exquisite. They have every amenity: computer lab, laundry rooms, graduate dorms with private kitchenette and bath. And the air is fragrant with blooming foliage. Grass is trimmed to perfection. Lots of gates and students swipe their cards at various entry points. We visited the campus bookstore, commons, and took several pictures. The signs are in two languages: (see photo) - Afrikaans and English. Originally, this school was only for Whites, and only Afrikaans was spoken, but Mandela changed all that!!!! We left the campus and walked around the neighborhood a bit looking for bookstores. The streets were quiet, clean and peaceful - nighttime in Pretoria, SA. She took me back to hotel, and thus ended another unforgettable day! Grateful, Jacqueline

Hello All, Sabbath Report....... Gail, the one person I know who lives in SA, ( we first met in NYC as youth and whom I have not seen in 30 years) came to hotel and picked me up. First stop was Adventist Church. She said the singing at this church was extra-special and yes it was like a warm blanket placed on my shoulders to hear the rich melodies along with modern accompaniment. Lots of worshippers of all ages. The singing was in their language but the melodies were familiar so the messages in song were absorbed without translation. Sermon mostly in English. Before service ended, I was allowed to give my testimony of praise to God who, in two days, opened the doors for me to travel to the Motherland for the first time. After church a woman told me that my testimony was her's. She, too, had travelled on short notice.....coming from Germany after living in exile for 30 years. She left SA after she was shot in the leg during a massacre of apartheid regime. (Took pictures of her and the bullet wound and we exchanged contact info) She and I were both wearing the black wrist tie given to us after viewing Mandela in Pretoria. Ate Sabbath lunch outdoors in the warm sunshine with other groups of worshippers. A group of older woman called me over to talk, sharing my story again of God's miraculous gift of this journey ......they gave me an African name "Thandi" and said it means - she prayed and her prayers were answered. The members dress in very modern clothing. Some said they are planning to come to America in 2015 for the General Conference of SDA. Gail and I were wearing more African symbols than anyone

else. They are apparently trying to be Western, and we African-Americans are trying to reclaim our African heritage. Next stop - Soweto, the homeland for Blacks - little houses designed to limit the growth and vitality of Black Africans. We parked in front of another Adventist church and walked up the street - lots of cars - this is the street where Bishop Tutu and the Mandela's lived. We passed Winnie Mandela's current residence first, then at the next intersection is the Tutu house behind a big wall. Turn right and walk up the busy residential street which has been turned into a place for souvenirs and eating - lots of people. I was apparently spotted as a visitor, because a child approached and asked if I'd like to hear him sing. Gail's husband gently "rescued" me from giving monetary tokens to more children. We visited the home of Winnie and Nelson - the house where she was put on house arrest.....8115 Vilakazi St., Orlando West, Soweto. It is now a museum.....signed the guest book and as we walked up the street, guess who was walking down the street - Jesse Jackson. I spoke and reminded him that we had taken pictures together at the March on Washington in April. He responded. Next stop - Catholic church where Mandela and ANC leaders met with people to strategize, mobilize and inspire the people for the freedom struggle. Gail's husband, a child of Soweto, showed me the bullet holes in the ceiling and the broken portions of altar, etc. due to attacks by soldiers......as the people worshipped, the soldiers entered and attacked - shooting - wrecking havoc. Upstairs has been turned into a photographic gallery of the terrible days of apartheid. The black and white photos reminded me of days of Hitler in Germany. Gail was instrumental in saving the church from demolition in recent years and it is now a towering reminder of the struggle. Oh, by the way, Mandela's children attended the Adventist church school where we parked. Next stop - tour of Soweto and memorial of shooting and killing of young teenager (Hector Pieterson). The picture of the crime aroused international outrage (I compared it to Emmet Till). Next stop - Houghton, the site of Mandela's office and the Mandela Foundation. We parked and walked up a very modern and plush neighborhood - mansions behind high walls with barbed wire on top and guards at the gates. Lots of people walking to the current home of Mandela, where he lived until the last. When we arrived at the corner where his house sits, a large array of flowers spilled out into the streets, television cameras, security guards and lots of people. I met a visitor from Pittsburgh, who left USA on an impulse - travelled alone, determined to be here. I told Gail's husband, who has met Mandela, that I

would like to present my poem to the family. I was informed that the family has already left the house to travel to the site of the funeral - Gunu.....Mandela's childhood home. After standing around the barricade for a while, (which separated the crowds from getting too close to the house) low and behold, the door of the house opened and a woman walked out and walked right over to where I was standing. I beckoned her to come a little closer to barricade and told her I had a poem for the family. She took it to give to Mandela family. Amazing!!! Look at God. Dark clouds gathered and we along with others, hastily left. As the rains approached, I was informed that Mandela family is called the "rain clan". Whenever someone in family is born or dies - it rains. Mandela's middle name chronicles the fact that when he was born, lightning struck a tree. As darkness gathered, Gail handed me a gift - large cloth bearing Mandela's photo to be worn, she said around the shoulders or waist. Next stop - Johannsburg - the city is a modern as NYC and the highways are wide. We went to a plush shopping mall - Nelson Mandela Center - parking structure full of Mercedes and expensive cars. Inside, is every upscale store and a large open area with a huge statue of Mandela....a flower memorial flooded the space. People of every race - Indians, coloreds, Blacks and Afrikaners - a tribute to the struggle for racial equality! After an eventful day, back to hotel with warm embraces as I left my American friend who now lives in SA. God's wonders never cease! Thank-you, Gail. (Oh, by the way, in my previous report - I was mistaken about house in Houghton being a replica of house where he was imprisoned - it's the house in Gunu.) Still amazed in South Africa, Jacqueline

Good Morning All, It's Sabbath morning and last night God led me to meet another new friend, her name is Dawn and she invited me to a Bible study in the hotel. It was about grace and law. Afterwards we chatted in hotel for hours, sharing our stories of God's leading.

She is spiritually hungry and searching for truth. I had a chance to share the gospel story from Genesis to Revelation and when we discussed the 7th day Bible Sabbath and how the Africans kept Sabbath from creation (since Garden of Eden was in Africa) until now.........and there are clues even in Swahili - the word for number seven is "saba" and the word for white man in that language is translated - "one who brings us Sunday". The Africans observed Sabbath - Saturday until the Europeans brought them a different day. She admired the kente I wore from America - a cloth from Ghana which reinforced the conversation about Sabbath-keeping origins in Africa. She said she fasts and prays on Saturday and she can feel there is something special about that day. I was amazed at her testimony. She does not attend any church. She is searching. She said she was converted in 2004 and she doesn't know what God has in store for her. I told her not to worry because God is guiding her. Anyway, I invited her for breakfast this morning, and we plan to meet at 8:30 am. Then my other new friend, Monique, from the University of South Africa, just called and she wants to meet with us also. Wow, look at God! Travel to a far country alone and God raises up friends for you!!!! I continue to stand amazed. Oh, I wrote a poem last night and would love to give it to Nelson Mandela's wife. Gail is taking me to her house in Houghton today, I think. By the way, Mandela built that house as an exact replica of the house where he was imprisoned. Will keep you posted. Oh, by the way, the sky is quiet.....no more helicopters. I can hear the birds chirping as opposed to yesterday when the sky was filled with drone of military helicopters. Mandela is being transported back to his homeland for the burial on Sunday. Grateful in South Africa, Jacqueline