Controversial Pastor O'Neal Dozier's Scheme to Enrich Africa

Controversial Pastor O'Neal Dozier's Scheme to Enrich Africa

"We are here today to reorder your thinking," Robert Beatty said, his careful pronunciation banishing doubt with every word. The meticulously dressed, gray-haired publisher of the South Florida Times, an African-American newspaper, stood behind the lectern of the Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach.

Behind him sat an unlikely assortment of people: O'Neal Dozier, the church's ultraconservative pastor; two members of a small but extremely wealthy indigenous tribe in South Africa, wearing jackets and ties; a former consultant to the World Bank; and several business owners.

The Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa — the successor to Desmond Tutu — was scheduled to make an appearance by video.

O'Neal Dozier
O'Neal Dozier
Winds of Change partner Julius Jackson Sr. (left) hosted Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (second from right) at an Anglican church service in Jacksonville on June 19.
Courtesy of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Winds of Change partner Julius Jackson Sr. (left) hosted Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (second from right) at an Anglican church service in Jacksonville on June 19.

High on the wall, a red, light-up cross hung above the gathering.

"God wants all his children to have abundance," said Beatty, who was serving as the MC of this event, the "Winds of Change Economic Leadership Conference," on the morning of February 18.

In the audience were a few middle-class, mostly black families and individuals, all potential investors. Dozier, the pastor, had been hinting in his services that a new opportunity was coming, that his parishioners could soon make a profit while also helping their brethren in Africa. They could skip one meal a month, perhaps, and use that money to invest in the future of a continent. Though he didn't get into specifics, he had suggested they would soon be able to purchase shares of a new, international project. The churchgoers were waiting for the archbishop to unveil the details.

The archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, is a spiritual elder in the Anglican and Episcopal churches and an influential figure throughout Africa. Much of his power is left over from Tutu, the human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped end apartheid in segregated South Africa. Now, Makgoba hopes to make his continent a dominant player on the global stage, replacing economic isolation with development and free trade.

The African men up by the altar — a public-affairs man and an investment manager, both short-statured in jackets and ties — didn't look like stereotypical tribesmen from the bush. They hailed from the Royal Bafokeng Nation, a tiny region in the South African countryside that is half the size of Broward County. Its population of 150,000 people speaks mostly Setswana, with English as a second language. The Bafokeng, an indigenous tribal group, are unlike many Africans in that they are financially thriving.

Many African nations have become dependent on foreign aid, which can serve as a set of golden handcuffs for poor countries. When donor countries expect to be paid back in their own, stronger currency, a fluctuation in exchange rates can mean ruinous debts for the poorer country. Tom Cochran, the former World Bank consultant, came prepared with a speech on this problem and on how banks were just starting to learn to lend in a country's local currency.

The Bafokeng, through careful management of funds and several protracted lawsuits, have managed to retain control of their natural resources, whereas other indigenous groups have seen theirs exploited by foreigners. From lucrative mining royalties, they have created a multibillion-dollar sovereign investment fund. The Bafokeng manage all this wealth with a secular, Western attention to the bottom line: Nowhere in their business literature is there a mention of God or divine mandate. They are simply looking after their own worldly fortune.

Their representatives were poker-faced as Beatty got religious.

"Through spiritual economics, we will deprive the locusts of the rich natural resources of Africa," he said, paraphrasing Exodus.

The crowd hushed as the archbishop appeared on two giant video screens on either side of the altar. Surrounded by foliage somewhere on a Cape Town hillside, the kind-faced figure beamed down at the audience, wearing his Anglican shirt and collar.

"In my opinion, Royal Bafokeng Holdings is the most successful group in the world," he said. He introduced "Winds of Change," a new investment plan, and explained that the Bafokeng would serve as a model. He hoped to round up capital not just from black-owned companies but from African-Americans around the world who are looking for a meaningful and lucrative connection to their ancestral home.

The pastor, O'Neal Dozier, had signed on as the project's North American president. Far away from the archibishop and the Bafokeng, he would be the public figurehead representing this bold and vague new initiative, using the power of his words and persuasion to do the archbishop's work. It was an appointment that showed great confidence. "We will launch the initiative on June 19, when I come to the United States," said the archbishop on the screen. "Until then, you are in the good hands of Dr. O'Neal Dozier."

It was, in some ways, an incongruous partnership: the archbishop — an activist and diplomat, who was known for his spirit of inclusion and had even pioneered discussions of welcoming gays into the church (a radical concept in Africa) — partnering with Dozier, who in 27 years of preaching has offended gays, Muslims, whites, and blacks. Although Dozier is disarmingly kind and attentive to his parishioners, his politics are somewhat to the right of the guy who burned the Qur'an.

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6 comments
redridinghood
redridinghood

Don't we have more than enough blaks in america cheating the government in food stamps ,welfare ,section 8 ?Do we really need African blacks to steal more money? Black pastors are more criminal minded than black crackheads.

Ronnie-Ron
Ronnie-Ron

  Black Africa has fallen from third world status from when all these African countries got their independence back in the mid-twentieth century to the new fourth world status today! They have gone backwards, while other third world countries have moved foward in varying degrees! Black Africa has always been this money-pit like an old jalopy car that as you put money in it the more money it takes to keep it running! As long as the area is unstable(social/economic/political/ethnic/religious/class structure instability), black Africa will always wallow in the mud! Funny how black leaders throughout Africa from the end of colonialism til now have always blamed "colonialism&America" for their present problems&poverty! How much money has been given since independence to black Africa? The future of that area is still going to be a "nightmare" with ever increasing numbers of people surviving on one-two dollars a day!

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time...But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshittt story. Holy Shittt! But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fuked up.

 

george carlin

 

Jimbo99
Jimbo99

Wow, anyone buying that this guy wanted Africa to prosper and be enriched ? Africa was the cause, he and his cronies were the only one's that would prosper & be enriched from this ?

boca1959
boca1959

This setting would have been better at a Howard Jonhsons,remember 'my house is a house of worship.Give unto Ceasar what's of Ceasar,and to GOD whats of GOD.

MIAmarley
MIAmarley

 @redridinghood The answer to your question is yes but there are far more white and latino on welfare than blacks so whats your point.

 
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