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South African Preaching Project Inspires Devotees and Trains Young African Leaders
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Апр 15, 2023
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Devotee sharing Krishna Consciousness on university campus

Wake up South Africa (WuSA) is a newly established initiative by African devotees explicitly focused on African preaching in university settings. The active non-profit, recognized as an ISKCON affiliate for creative initiatives, is dedicated to sharing the principles of Bhakti Yoga to benefit society through five main objectives: mantra meditation, timeless knowledge, ethical leadership, Vedic lifestyle, and positive recreation. 

WuSA Projects include kirtan parties and prasadam, education, training, and cultural exchange programs, including arts and crafts, podcasting, and even an “open mic” poetry circuit. The project aims to share Krishna Consciousness creatively with the larger population outside the standard restraints and expressions of traditional Hindu culture.

The unfortunate death of George Floyd in 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed reignited the dissatisfaction of many in the African devotee community with their inability to eliminate racism through previous discussions with the South African National Council (SANC). It resulted in an open letter noting the shortcomings in the ISKCON South Africa management structures’ facilitation of African preaching projects and an online petition calling for change, which was widely circulated. In addition, hundreds of devotees from the international devotee community signed the petition in support of the now-organized collective of African devotees known as Wake-Up South Africa (WuSA), calling for a live online meeting with the SANC to discuss the issues inclusively. 

SANC helped register WuSA and has committed five thousand South African rands monthly to support the project. The South African National Council (SANC) includes the GBC of South Africa, regional temple presidents, project leaders, management teams, and consulting senior devotees.

Locals receiving Prabhupada’s books at campus outreach

Currently, the WuSA project is running through the support of a collective international effort and management team, which includes resident grihastha disciples of Kadamba Kanana Maharaj, Manukanya Devi Dasi, temple president (the first female and African woman to serve in that position in the movement), Atma Tattva Das who serves as center grounds manager, graphic designer, and technical support for the project alongside WuSA chairperson, resident preacher, and sannyasi candidate Savyasaci Das Brahmachari. 

One initiative, “Preaching Through Empowerment,” is a way of engaging African devotees in the practice of Krishna Consciousness. Atma Tattva was inspired by his spiritual masters’ approach, which emphasizes creating a sense of sustained stability and free movement of Krishna-conscious African lifestyles. ‘Diversification of the ISKCON ZA economic ecosystem is required if the movement is to do effective preaching in disadvantaged African communities. This can be done through educational training and development policies to tackle youth unemployment, developing skills transfer initiatives, and implementing university student exit programs designed to sustain the broader Krishna Conscious community in such areas,’ shares Manukanya Devi Dasi, Temple President at WuSA. 

WuSA has partnered with Govardhan Prabhu, Co-GBC of Southern Africa, to develop its “Preaching Through Empowerment” program for conscious leadership. Govardhan Prabhu teaches for the MBA program in Conscious Leadership at the Alfred Ford School of Management. His expertise will be invaluable in creating this program. “As young graduates, there is a lot of uncertainty about our future. Bhakti yoga can feel like a burden and a waste of time when we are unemployed in the city. Our families struggle to send us to school so that we can help ourselves out of poverty. It can feel frustrating to be left alone to struggle after making society look good for doing African preaching. Unlike the Indian community, Black African students often don’t have a developed economic network to access support. That’s why I believe programs like this are really needed,” says Bhaktin Ntokozo, BYS Chairperson 2023.

To learn more information about WuSA, visit www.wusa.online

To help fund this vital project, visit www.wusa.online/projects

To watch WuSA and SANC Meeting (July 2020), visit https://youtu.be/iwFReYa6x2E

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