I am somewhere in the air above the Nullarbor and it's dark out. There are just too few porches out here for anyone to usefully put a light on. From here, it's only an hour to Perth. 2 hours between flights there. 12 hours or so to Joburg. 6 hours in a transit lounge there. 2 more to Zimbabwe. Then one short and bumpy ride home to Hatfield, Harare. What to do but A. watch in-flight movies or B. read? I choose life. I choose B.
One of my favourite reads of all time is Andrew Buckoke's Fishing in Africa. It is a little-read, discontinued Picador print from the 1990's. It promised clarity on things Africa at a time when I first encountered things Africa. I was teaching Somalis in London at the time, struggling to keep Somalis apart from Sikhs in Inter-Continental Playground Battles than ran hot, before running riot, before pulling weapons. It was all education for this little teacher at the time.
At the time I also fancied myself as a developing fly-fisherman, so a book on both fishing and Africa seemed at best serendipitous and at the least, efficient. Of course, the book wasn't about fishing at all. Its' author did carry a rod, and also managed to land a few trout in Cecil Rhodes' backyard in Zimbabwe, but mostly he told tales of war and corruption. (A Guide to War and Corruption) was its' give-away sub-title. This too was a lesson for this little teacher. I knew nothing of either. I re-read the book only recently and if its details are now out of date, its' themes remain on point. It's still easier to catch war and corruption in most places than it is to catch fish.
In tribute to Andrew Buckoke, these blogs are called Preaching in Africa because my reason for being in Zimbabwe this time is preaching. I am here to preach sermons from the book of Psalms at the first-ever Preacher's Conference of The Gospel Confederation of Zimbabwe. To suggest that the Zimbabweans are opening their innings with a mid-pace bowler would be fair. Like Fishing in Africa (A Guide to War and Corruption), this blog needs a more expansive sub-title. I suspect we may talk about much more than preaching. This conference aims to do more than that. Alongside promoting the cause of expositional preaching, it happens amidst the student Christian movement at a time of strategic opportunity, and exists because of the difficult relationship between student ministries and the churches that surround the campuses.
So welcome to Preaching in Africa (A Guide to Student Ministry, Strategy, Gospel Ecosystems & Hatfield, Harare). Yikes, what a mouthful. That's a lot of fish to land.