A number of my Facebook friends have asked what my PhD Thesis was about. It was about one of the most difficult phases in the work of church planting missions, i.e. the handover process from pioneer missionaries to indigenous leaders. This is often fraught with suspicions and fightings. Having observed a different story in the relationship between Olive Doke (pioneer missionary) and Paul Kasonga (indigenous leader) at the commencement of Baptist work in Zambia, I unearthed various archived materials and conducted key interviews in the region where they once laboured together (1931-1954). This formed the core of my research and, upon subjecting it to biblical and historical analysis, it proved the thesis that the success of their working relationship and handover process at the Kafulafuta Mission lay in their mutual respect and admiration. Paternalism gave way to true partnership. Finally, in the Thesis, I have offered a model or strategy to ensure that what happened between Olive Doke and Paul Kasonga is nurtured among missionaries and indigenous leaders today.
And what is this photo about? The man next to me is Dr Gerhard Venter, former principal of the Cape Town Baptist Seminary. He is the man who got me seriously thinking about undertaking formal theological studies. I lost touch with him for some years and, in the Lord’s providence, met him this year on the eve of my graduation. It was an opportune time for me to thank him for that nudge he gave me over a decade ago. Isn’t the Lord amazing in his timing?