Content on this page:

- Bogus, facts and fears
- Until the end of the world
- May you live to see...





Below you can read an essay on Africa before the new millenium, written by Fredrick Omondi, July 1999. Edited by Jacob Crawfurd.

An African Apocalypse

Only 5 months, 13 days, 6 hours, 41 minutes and 22 seconds yet to go... For some reason, we expect more from a step to a new millennium than just another year. Some people look forward to take a step closer into a futuristic vision, while others seem to hope for the end of the world.

The deadline is fixed, and as we are counting down to 01-01-2000, religious groups, fanatics, bankers, small-savers and ordinary people are starting to panic. Computer engineers in Europe, Japan and North America has already been trying to solve the "Millennium Bug" problems for several years. The "bug" is a computer-malfunction due to the date-shift, that could affect a lot of the IT-systems our modern world is depending on. The danger is that 2000 will be mistaken for year 0 or year 1900 because many systems only reads the two last digits in a date. The data-engineers has now made a fortune from fixing their own previous mistakes. But in the global village, Information Technology doesn't really know any borders and no country can feel safe to be 100% Y2K compliant. Who really knows what will happen in developing countries where the equipment is old and probably more vulnerable?

In the beginning of 1999 the Kenyan government established a "Year 2000 Co-ordination Centre" (no longer online), but in general it seems that the African continent has been pretty slow to realise the potential danger of that second when all digits turns from 99 to 00. According to the International Air Transport Association (Kenya's Nation newspaper, June 19, 1999) only Cairo International Airport has so far been rated as Y2K compliant. Other African airports risk being shunned by the international airlines and thousands of tourists.

Bogus, facts and fears

Not only computer-engineers are gaining from the fear of Y2K. All around the world ingenious tricks are used to cheat the paranoids. False Y2K insurances are sold for high prices, and in order to sell new equipment, retailers are convincing PC-owners that their old computer could explode on New Years Eve. The Millennium Bug is basically just a simple coding error and maybe we should fear the human factors more than the digital. Maybe I trust the banks will be able to manage Y2K, but what will happen if people in panic starts to withdraw every penny they own from banks all over the world. And what will happen if fanatics armed with bombs and religion wants to fulfil whatever deadly prophecy they might have put together for the occasion?

Y2K is riding on a great tide of fear. African churches is among the places where the promise of the year to come is pronounced like a threat. Devotees are told that destruction of all civilisation is very near and preachers give supportive evidence as wars in the Gulf, Kosovo and Kazakstan, violence, ecological disaster and AIDS.

African Apocalypse - illustration

Africa - until the end of the world

Reverend Emmanuel was one of the many victims of the Rwandan genocide. The following is the story he is telling today. A grenade hit and destroyed his church. Scores of people seeking shelter in the house of God, were killed or injured. The Father barely survived the attack, but lost a leg and the left arm from the shoulder. He was also injured on the lower abdomen leading to an open wound in his stomach. Emmanuel was brought to a nearby hospital where skilled doctors managed to stop his bleedings. But fighting continued and soon after all doctors had fled for their lives, leaving Emmanuel and the other wounded patients to die.

People on the hospital were starving and according to the father some even started feeding on dead people for their own survival. As days passed many died of hunger and diseases, but Emmanuel didn't stop praying and believing in the power of God to save him.

"Finally God came for me," Emmanuel announces to the crowd. His soul left his body as it is written in the scriptures, and in Heaven he was received at a beautiful gate. He saw only beauty there: angels and people who were holy before God and obeyed his commands while on earth. He saw Jesus and even the Virgin Mary, but noticed with some satisfaction that there was no sign of the prophet Mohammed. Hell was also shown to him and he saw how the unbelievers were punished. But Reverend Emmanuel was not intended to go to Heaven yet - and certainly not to Hell. He was sent back to his wounded body only moments before he was buried along with the other victims. By a miracle a Red Cross voluntary worker discovered a small sign of life. Emmanuel had returned with a message to mankind; a message about the end of the millennium and the end of the world.

May you live to see the end of the world

Somehow Reverend Emmanuel survived the Rwandan tragedy. He may have lost his limbs, but he is today very much alive and maybe stronger than ever. In the last few months, the Rwandese priest has been touring Eastern Africa preparing people for the times to come by telling (and selling) his dramatic story. For a good donation it is possible to get the full story with even more horror and bloody details than rendered here.

The holy mission of Emmanuel has become a carrier of making poor people accept Jesus as their personal saviour. As so many times before, he and other doomsday prophets are asking their followers to surrender their lives and their properties. Praying and paying seems to be the only way to avoid the inferno. 1999 will certainly be a profitable year for churches and street preachers. Beware of most of them, for the bible says that in the end we will have many false prophets and many of them will call themselves the Lord or even Jesus Christ. Reverend Emmanuel is a strong man of the church. Maybe he will also survive the end of the world.

5 months, 13 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds...

© Fredrick Omondi and Jacob Crawfurd, July 1999




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