Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

MLK’s Flame Of Hope Shines Beyond America

By EUNICE MAFUNDIKWA-Commentary | Published January 19, 2006

Published: January 19, 2006

I had heard of and read about, in a limited way, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but had not stopped for a moment to reflect what he signifies in my personal life, until this past weekend as America celebrated Martin Luther King day. This was my first time to celebrate this illustrious man’s life.

Suddenly it hit me that I had taken my being in Atlanta for granted. “I have my right to movement and I can be anywhere in the world when I want to,” I told myself.

The America I am visiting today is certainly not the America that I would have come to, had people like Dr. King, among others, not sacrificed their lives to deliver a new America. The old America was evil and hostile. Just like I had vowed I would not visit apartheid South Africa, which is a bus ride away from my home, I would not have moved to America before today, knowing fully well that the place would strip me of my human dignity.

It has been a month since I arrived in Atlanta and I can safely say, as a black African woman, I have not been confronted with anything near what I would consider racist. And I hope I have not spoken too soon.

However, from monitoring of the local media, I am saddened by the scenes of violence that we are continuously bombarded with. It breaks my heart even more that in most of the instances it’s “black-on-black” violence. Is this how America wants to repay the legacy of this great man?

“Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another’s flesh,” Dr. King reminded us.

Racism is an ugly animal, which cannot be eradicated totally. Through the sacrifices of the likes of Dr. King, America has been made a zero-tolerance zone for racism. Those who perpetuate racism do so at their own peril. Dr. King moved mountains and paid the highest price—his life—to make democracy a reality.

Coming from Africa, a continent that is torn by civil strife, I pray that God will give us another luminary to deal with the ongoing savagery. Africa desperately needs a Dr. King. Africa needs to know that nonviolent passive resistance is an option that can effectively deal with any form of dictatorship.

Like Jesus gave us the hope for the heavenly kingdom, Dr. King gave us hope for a world in which people can realize their dreams as beings with full dignity.

May the many flames of the timeless values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that Dr. King taught us through his example continue to light the hearts of my brothers and sisters the world over, so that we soon relegate to history the unnecessary shedding of blood we witness every day.

For me Dr. King’s message is clear…it is doable nomakanjani (“no matter what” in Zulu).


Eunice Mafundikwa is a Catholic journalist who has recently moved to Atlanta from Zimbabwe. She can be reached at