Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Augustine Ankiah (Uncle Moses): A Champion and Community Stalwart!:31-08-1926 to 11-02-2012

On the 11th of February, 2012 at the estimated hour of 12pm, Uncle Augustine Ankiah Moses took his final walk to eternal freedom as he passed away. Uncle Moses had been hospitalised on the 30th of January, 2012 at Chris Hani Bharagwanath Hospital for an emergency hernia operation, which lead to several other complications. A combination of tricky medical procedures, frailty, and old age finally caused this strong, determined, community stalwart to take his last breath and journey into his much awaited life after.

Augustine Ankiah was well known in and amongst the broader community of KZN, more specifically Chatsworth. His voluntary work and service for organizations like Child Welfare, FOSA, SANCA and the Red Cross, collectively amounting to 4 decades of service, is exactly the social proof that solidifies the passionate activism and determination of this honourable champion and community stalwart.

Known to many as Christian Uncle or Uncle Moses, Augustine Ankiah was a man of faith. His purpose, passion, and approach to life were anchored by his study of biblical scripture, and his sincere commitment to following the person, life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He served the Baptist Mission, formerly known as the Indian Baptist mission as Chairperson with distinction. Christian Uncle had a desire to see the development of the Church, Christian living, and purpose driven faith.

Psalm 23, a biblical text and well known scripture was one of Uncle Moses’ favourite readings.
Psalm 23: A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

This beautiful scripture served as a personal comfort, and steadfast reminder of the important matters in life. Psalm 23 was a reading that caused Uncle Moses to reflect and introspect. In the latter years, days, and moments of his life Psalm 23 encouraged his desire to “Dwell in the House of the Lord forever”. Uncle Moses believed that his life after certified earthly death would bring him into the presence of God.

We will remember our father, grandfather, great grandfather, family member, friend, champion, and beloved community stalwart for his:

Tough Love: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Used the terminology tough love, derived from his reading of the gospel of Mathew 10:16, “Be wise as a serpent and gentle hearted as a dove”. Augustine Ankiah was a disciplinarian, and was tough on the people he loved. However if we were only to remember this stalwart for his iron clad tendency we would be sorely mistaken. His toughness was balanced with a serious dose of love. It was his tough love that allowed him to go about his love for his family, community, and his country. It is tough love that brought him full circle to be cared for, washed and fed by his dear children. It is tough love that brought him to a place of saying the words I love you.

Social Change: If you were blessed to be part of the daily devotional time at the Augustine family home in Chatsworth, you would have experienced an hour filled with reading of the “Daily Bread”, Biblical reflection, and prayer. More specifically you would be captured by Augustine Ankiah’s closing prayer. In his prayer he remembered his family members and extended family members by name, their children and their children’s children. He would press on to pray for family friends, their children, and their children’s children. Lastly Uncle Moses would prayer for South Africa, ministers, councillors and the President. His life of service and his activism to see a better South Africa was immersed in a life of prayer. His faith based communication with God propelled his social action for positive change.

A closing word:
We will love you and miss you Papa,
But we celebrate your life and your laughter
We will remember the cane shots on the buttock
But also your sincere love solid as a rock
You are now in rest and complete peace
But we must take up the path you journeyed with ease
To fulfil the call of service and faith
That you championed always
Hamba Kahle Papa, our champion and stalwart
God be with you till we meet again!

Rev. Seth Naicker (grandson of Augustine Ankiah-Uncle Moses).

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