Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Psalms of Beatrice Sithole

Beatrice Sithole (centre) making a point at a recent meeting in Harare.
Book Title: Tribute to God
Author: Beatrice Sithole
Publisher: HansMak Designs P/L (Pvt.) Ltd, 2013
120 pages: ISBN: 978 0 7974 4884 1
Editor: Eresina Hwede
Translators: Barbra Oketta, Keresiya Chateuka, Jethro Dube and Remy Kasongo Mutambayi

Reviewed By Josephine Muganiwa
This unique book in five different languages; English, Kiswahili, Ndebele, Shona and French is a collection of prayer-poems by Beatrice Sithole. That is why the title appears simultaneously on the cover in five languages as: Tribute To God / Sifa kwa Mungu/Udumo Kunkulunkulu/ Ruremekedzo kuna Mwari/Louange A Dieu.

The translators; Barbra Oketta, Keresiya Chateuka, Jethro Dube and Remy Kasongo Mutambayi and veteran editor, Eresina Hwede did a splendid job. It is yet to be established if we have ever had any other single creative project coming out in five different languages under one cover, at the same time.

Blessed are those who will read this book because they will appreciate the beauty of worshipping God in different languages. His name as expressed in the five languages in this book are thrilling to hear; God in English, Mungu in Kiswahili, Nkulunkulu in Ndebele, Mwari in Shona and Dieu in French. It reflects that God is awesome and loves diversity. The author hammers this point home when she writes;

            “Oh Heavenly Father,
             Your people- those you created in
            Your own image worship
             You in various ways and at various times.
             There are those who lock themselves in their private rooms
              to glorify Your name.
             Some gather
 in different houses to worship You.
In synagogues and in various churches
Your people revere Your name
And share Your word in different forms
             Oh God we thank You
             for all the colourful things
              we see in the world.
             All the people, creatures and everything
             that colour our world.
             We thank you for all the different languages,
              different cultures, different characters, different manners
               and different shapes and sizes.” (p21)

After reading this, one becomes ashamed of any discriminatory tendencies. If the great God created diversity, who am l to despise it? Nature has a way of synthesizing diversity and humans must learn to do the same in their affairs.

As one turns the pages, it is like reading King David’s psalms in the Bible. The human experiences highlighted are universal, yet in all of them Beatrice Sithole helps the reader to see that God is in control. Eleven (11) powerful ‘psalms’ express who God is and how He relates to all Creation. The advantages of knowing this God personally are clear:

            “Oh Lord
             You dwell in the hearts of those
              who seek You with all their hearts.

            Oh God,
            You are the rock
            of all those who put their trust in You.

            You are their fortress and their deliverer.

            Their shield in times of trouble,
             You are their refuge and savior.
              In times of distress
              those who call upon You find rest.” (p13)

After reading all the poems that feed into each other, one cannot help but long to have a personal relationship with God so as to exhibit the same confidence in His presence. The sub-titles reflect the main idea to be discussed as follows: The Greatness of God, Wisdom, God the Comforter, Praising God, God and Christ, Holy Spirit, God and Nature, Forgiveness and Second Chance, Healing, Love and Calling. The benefits of knowing this God personally are clear.

If there is anyone who does not know what Christianity is about, this book is a must read. It expresses the core beliefs in everyday language that helps one to relate to the one great God who has revealed his being in different forms as the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and to fulfill different purposes (Creator, Comforter, Provider, Healer, Savior etc.) through the ages. The main emphasis though is on the message that God is God in all situations, all creation belongs to Him and reveals his glory. For that reason He must be worshipped. God abides in the praises of His people and he therefore guides those that make the decision to stay in His presence regardless of circumstances.

The book was launched on Saturday 26 April 2013 in The Terrace, 3rd floor Barbours Departmental Store. The launch was well attended by people whose lives have been touched by the author, Beatrice Sithole. Tribute to God is her seventh book and it has also been translated into Braille and is therefore accessible to everyone in the community. The Director of the Dorothy Duncan Library revealed that they were grateful that Beatrice did not forget the blind as is often the case with other publications. Her calling is to ensure that the word of God reaches all people.

At the launch it was also revealed that established publishers had refused to publish Beatrice Sithole’s work as they said it does not sell thereby forcing her into self- publication. The impact of her work was seen in the people that attended the launch; People from Dorothy Duncan, Children from Harare Children’s Home, Pastors from her church. Her family members and friends recounted how she made them pray in every situation. The children sung Amazing Grace and recited scripture that speaks to their lives. In concluding the launch, Beatrice encouraged everyone to exercise their gifts and skills to make the world a better place. Her speech sums up her prayer in the last poem entitled ‘Calling”

            “Yes Lord,
            many are saved
            when Your servants play their part and
           Perform their duties
            as per Your instructions.

            Help all Your people God
             to search and find their callings
               so that YourWil
             l is done on earth as it is done in Heaven.”

The book does not just make you feel good but challenges everyone to action. To achieve peace in the world everyone must play their part. There is need to adopt St Francis’ prayer that we be instruments of peace by initiating good moral behavior in every situation and helping those in need that we come across in our daily interaction. Those who can are called to go beyond call of duty and reach out to the hurting and hungry. The underlying point to be noted is that each one of us has been given a calling and the challenge is to discover it and put it into practice. God has created diversity so that each one of us can add a building block that no one else except us can create and deposit. Do not deprive the world of your unique contribution.

Beatrice Sithole is a Zimbabwean author and motivational speaker who wrote the books; Walking in God’s Way, Kurarama MunaJehovah, Lift Up High The Banner of God, The Best Things in Life are For Free, Reflection, My Little Prayer Book Series 1-4 and now; Tribute to God. Guided by a Christian background, Beatrice has changed a lot of lives through the seminars she has been given the platform to speak and through her books. She is a grandmother of six.



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