CORPORATE IDENTITY OF AFRICA
by: Pieter Bos
The Corporate Identity of Africa: SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY
Definition of Corporate Identity (CI:)
Tribes, peoples, states and cities,
in general: 'nations', are corporate persons, created by God in his image.
The Corporate Identity (CI) of a corporate person is a. the expression of God's
character in that person, because of which it contains b. her destiny in God's
purposes, and c. her redemptive gift to her fellow nations; the fall has distorted
and corrupted the corporate identity, but it can be redeemed. or
The Corporate Identity (CI) of a nation is the creative and liberating truth
of God over a nation.
The theology for the understanding of Corporate Identity can be found in
chapter 3 of my book HREF="http://www.servingthenations.org/booktnc.htm">"The
Nations Called; A Theology of the Nations and her Redemption."
Each individual person of a certain people group reflects more or less the CI
of that group, be it the corrupted or the redeemed expression of it; a substantial
part of his individual personality is rooted in the corporate persons (!, plural)
he is descending form and connected to.
‘Spiritual Authority’ is central to God’s character and being (since authority
is spiritual in nature, ‘spiritual authority’ is really a tautology. But the term
is useful to differentiate from organisational ‘ranking’ and scientific ‘being
A symbolic picture of Africa is found in Joseph. He was sold as a slave and
educated in Egypt (which in Scripture may very well stand for the whole
continent. Joseph not only suffered slavery, the very corruption of the CI of
the continent, but also symbolizes the redemption of the CI: he exercised
spiritual authority, he exposed sin, and he extended mercy, security and
Moreover, Joseph is an example of election and leadership through suffering,
and of spiritual authority to release a nation. The church of Africa possesses
a grand message to bless her whole continent and the other continents.
[For a sermon in the heart of Africa I elaborated on the biblical content of "Spiritual Authority".]
Negative expressions in society:
The continent-wide practice of ancestor worship is a worship of fathers and
fatherhood. It completely obscures bible-based fatherhood-under-God, and the
spiritual nature of authority. The traditional influence of the African
father/parent on his children’s lives is quite stifling, if not oppressive.
In fact it is a parent-imposed mild form of ancestor worship.
The ubiquitous African practice of witchcraft is a corruption of submission
to spiritual authority. It does not recognise God, but his enemy as authority.
Historically the continent of Africa has been denied expression of her identity
and given no opportunity to contribute her gifting to the world: on the one
hand Europe (the ‘brainy’ continent, exporting rationalism) simply looked
down on this witchcraft-ridden sister; on the other hand through colonisation
and slave trade Europe cruelly hurt and almost crushed the continent of Africa
in the core of her Corporate Identity. 1)
At the first evangelisation of Africa, the European and therefore mind-dominated
church had difficulty taking root. Theological thinking were dismayed at
witchcraft, blocking the discernment of spiritual authority.
In Africa ‘promiscuity is normal’, because ‘a woman can hardly refuse a man’.
This expression of male ‘authority’ is a perversion of ‘Spiritual Authority’,
and indeed, in Africa women are seen as possessions rather than as unique
potential covenant partners. 3)
Neither negative nor positive is the American Black Muslim movement.
Understandably, the abolition of slavery and the end of official segregation
did not end Afro-American pain. The Black Muslims try to strengthen the Corporate
Identity of Afro-Americans. The movement clearly shows ‘Spiritual Authority’,
in a quite forceful, almost manipulative, unredeemed way. This movement also
denies the American aspect of their corporative identity; many Afro-Americans
have visited Africa in recent years, but few wish to live there; they are
Americans after all.
However, recently the continent of Africa, to the surprise of the world, has
brought forth men and women of impressive spiritual stature: Emeka Nwankpa
from Nigeria, John Mulinde and Laban Jjumba from Uganda, Langton Gatsi from
Zimbabwe, Mrs. Judy Mbugwa from Kenya, Kwabena and Mrs. Darko from Ghana,
Andre Quiala from Angola (now working in Brazil), are among them. These leaders
and visionaries of the African Church and society impress the other continents.
Among the political leaders are the presidents Mandela of South Africa, Museveni
of Uganda and Kerekou of Benin. Each of these embody vision and servant leadership
for their own nation and continent, with much wider influence.
The corruption of Spiritual Authority was seen in some very tyrannical and occultly
empowered political leaders in recent African history. But the redemption of this
identity is also impressively visible in three African presidents who dedicated
their nations officially to King Jesus (see par 5.1.2). They show the authority
that reflects the God’s character: presidents who recognise God’s authority
Also: the church of Africa is quickly growing away from dependency on foreign
financial and theological aid, and becoming a missionary church. The Amsterdam
based foundation GATE (Gospel from Africa to Europe), a network of Afro-European
churches, expresses this development.
During GCOWE ‘97 in Pretoria, South Africa, my wife and I led the intercessory
team that supported the Student and Youth Leaders Track. During a most precious
time of God’s presence, a young married man shared he felt not released by his
father to ever become a missionary; and a mother in her fifties shared her
inability to release her son to leave home. We felt led to help them both to cut
these spiritual ties. We then went to the meeting of the Student and Youth
Leaders Track, and found that most young leaders did not feel at all released
into their leadership or even into functioning out of the parental home; many
older leaders recognised their unwillingness and/or lack of experience in
releasing their youngsters into THEIR vocations. The next day, in the plenary
meeting, I challenged all pastors, fathers and mothers in the 4500 audience
(that is: all traditional spiritual authority figures, from all over Africa)
to apply Gen 2:24, even to the point of releasing their sons and daughters to
become prodigals. Again it caused a strong reaction, as we cut the undue ties
and proclaimed release. Later I realised that this experience helped me discover
the CI of the Continent of Africa. 4)
BOS, Pieter, ‘The Five Major Sins of Europe and her
Hope’, in European Prayer Bulletin (Brussels, EPB, 1994, nr. 1).
Back to article.
Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch Daily), March 22, 2001), from
a report of a nun and medical doctor, working in many African nations, on sexual
abuse of nuns as ‘HIV-safe’.
Back to article.
This results in almost uncontrollable spreading of AIDS.
However, ‘in Uganda a massive campaign for abstinence has caused teen
pregnancies and HIV-contamination to drop significantly’.
Back to article.
‘Cutting spiritual ties’ is spiritually cutting in the
heavenlies undue ties of submission, subordination, sexual or occult
Back to article.