BAGAMOYO by J. Paul Bruton, February 13, 1968, Nairobi, KenyaPosted on July 19th, 2011.
“Bagamoyo is the name of a coastal town in Tanzania, East Africa. But it is more than the name of a town. Bagamoyo is a Swahili word, meaning literally, “here I lay down my heart”.
The story is told of the black days of slavery, when it is estimated that fully twenty million Africans were captured and sold. Other untold thousands died by the wayside of the slave trails and were left to vultures and hyenas. After a seemingly endless journey, after beatings and torture, after the whips, the staves and the clubs, those millions who were brought out on the East African trails often arrived on the shores of the placid Indian Ocean. It was from these shores that the slaves were put on ships and taken to the far-flung countries of the world.
The last night on African soil, this was perhaps the last time that many would lie down to receive succor from the breast of mother Africa. Gone were the hopes of every returning to home, shamba,* wives or children. This place came to have a special meaning to the millions who passed through. They named it Bagamoyo, “Here I Lay down My Heart”.
I too can say, “Here I lay down my heart.” God called me to be a missionary to Africa when I was a child, at six years of age. Before I was born, my parents, while awaiting my birth, their second son dedicated me to missionary service. Wisely, they did not tell me this until after God spoke to me.
I have followed the trails of David Livingston. I have crossed such mighty rivers as the “greasy Limpopo”, the mighty Zambezi, the turbulent Congo and the elusive Nile.
I have crossed the trails of what Livingstone, and others, who brought to the mind and consciousness of men and women around the world, the evils of slavery which Livingstone called, “this great open sore of the world.”
Although mighty strides have been made to bring the light of civilization and Christianity to the African continent, much of it is still in bondage and darkness.
Africa is awake! Africa is stretching forth her hands! This generation will determine what those hands are going to be filled with.
God give us men, money and lives, if necessary, so that instead of exchanging colonialism and despotism, another kind of slavery will not be imposed. So that the empty outstretched hands of Africa will receive the freedom that comes with the hearing and the reception of the “message of life”, so indeed there shall be implanted in the outstretched hands of Africa the Blood stained banner of the Cross of Calvary.
*Swahili word for garden or farm