The African Pre-World Conference

We just finished the African Pre-World Conference, held in Lagos, Nigeria. Tim Jackins led the conference, and Chioma Okonkwo, the Area Reference Person for Lagos, organized it, with a large crew of able assistants. There was also a strong support team from outside Africa, consisting of Barbara Love, the International Liberation Reference Person for African-Heritage People; Fela Barclift, the Regional Reference Person for North Brooklyn, New York, USA; Marion Ouphouet, an RC leader in Seattle, Washington, USA; Rudy Nickens, the Regional Reference Person for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, USA; Ellie Putnam, an RC leader in Seattle, Washington, USA; and me.

Tim focused first on our counseling, then on Community building and RC finances, and finally on care of the environment. People used groups on the Guidelines and Community issues well. They were engaged with the discussion and asked many questions. “Coached counseling” in the support groups showed both the strengths of the counseling in Africa and some places that could and did improve.

The African Communities are much more solid and in many places larger than they were four years ago.

Here is a short summary of the state of Re-evaluation Counseling in each country represented at the Pre-World Conference:


Re-evaluation Counseling was started in Benin sixteen years ago by Melphy Sakupwanya, a former Regional Reference Person for Africa. There are currently seven teachers and five classes, and people are teaching RC in a number of schools. There are support groups for women, men, and young people.


Re-evaluation Counseling started in Ethiopia twenty-five years ago, when a teacher from the United States introduced RC to Mesfin Taye Woldegiorgis, now the Area Reference Person for Addis Ababa. He was “hooked” when Harvey Jackins had him translate The Human Side of Human Beings. The Addis Ababa Area has nine RC teachers and forty Community members. There are support groups for disabled people and community workers. Mesfin has a class for leaders, and a Community class meets twice a month. 


Re-evaluation Counseling in Ghana started in 2003, when Melphy Sakupwanya led a workshop there that was organized by Urbain Bamama, now the Area Reference Person for Accra. There are seven experienced and six new RC teachers, and each of them is leading a class. There are also support groups for women, men, young adults, and children, along with a new class for children under twelve. Teachers and leaders meet monthly. The two organized Areas are Accra, led by Urbain, and Laterbiokorshie-Accra, led by Yvonne Ammah.


Cyrille Zounon started the Community in Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) three years ago, after learning RC in Togo in 2011. Sixteen people meet weekly for classes and sessions. There are two RC teachers.


Re-evaluation Counseling started in Kenya thirty years ago, after Wanjiku Kironyo, the Regional Reference Person for Northern Africa and East Africa, met Diane Balser (the International Liberation Reference Person for Women) and Barbara Love at the United Nations Conference on Women, in Nairobi (Kenya). The two organized Areas—Nairobi and West Kenya—now have fifty Co-Counselors and six RC teachers. There are support groups for young people, youth, men, women, families, and soon elders. A number of classes meet weekly; some less frequently. Time pressures (people working many hours), security (terrorism), most of the Community living in slums, and a lack of safe meeting places make it challenging to hold regular meetings. There is a class for refugees from the Congo, and the young people have an active environmental program.


Re-evaluation Counseling in Nigeria began fifteen years ago, from contact made with RC at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Now it is in thirty-one places in eleven states, and there are ten organized Areas. Most of the Area Reference Persons and Alternate Area Reference Persons, plus seven additional teachers, are teaching RC. Most places have a class within the city and another meeting rurally. Approximately two hundred and seventy people are taking classes. There are support groups for women, men, lawyers, young adults, colleagues, teachers, and professionals and for family work.


South Africa has two developing Communities. The Cape Town Community started thirty years ago and is rebuilding. It recently had a very international fundamentals class. The Johannesburg Community started twenty-five years ago, with people who had learned RC in Europe and England. It collapsed twice, and now people are building it again. There is a weekly class and a weekly three-way session. 


In South Sudan, RC started eleven years ago with a workshop organized by Wanjiku Kironyo and Jane Lucy Gachihi, an RC teacher from Kenya. Another workshop was held in Juba in 2012. Currently two people are teaching RC, and two others occasionally come from outside and teach. There are support groups for women and young adults. Because of the war in South Sudan, one of the RC leaders is in a refugee camp in Kenya and the other may soon follow. Many South Sudanese are in Kampala (Uganda), where there is another RC Community.


Swaziland RC was started twenty-three years ago by Bafana Matsebula, the Regional Reference Person for Southern Africa, who learned RC in the United States. There are twelve certified RC teachers. The seven active classes all have assistant teachers. Manzini and Mbabane are the two organized Areas. There are monthly playdays, and support groups for youth. Teachers and leaders meet monthly, from Friday evening to Saturday noon.


Re-evaluation Counseling was brought to Togo seventeen years ago by a woman from Cameroon. Later Melphy Sakupwanya led a workshop there. At one point, the one organized Area had fifteen RC teachers. A recent attack caused much of the Community to collapse. Now it is being rebuilt and has five active leaders. There are three RC groups in the capital and two rural groups. There are support groups for women, parents, and men.


The Uganda Community started with an introductory workshop led by Melphy Sakupwanya in 1999. Gulu and Kampala are the two organized Areas. Gulu has four certified RC teachers, and classes both inside and outside of the city. The Community is reorganizing after the death of Abitimo Odonkara, who was the Area Reference Person for many years. A satellite Community is not far away. Kampala has five teachers who are teaching in five different parts of the city. There are support groups for men, women, and young adults. 


Co-Counseling started twenty years ago in Zambia. Then seventeen years ago Melphy Sakupwanya re-introduced it. Many people have been certified to teach RC over the years, but most are not actively leading now. There are five small classes in five different places.


Co-Counseling in Zimbabwe was started twenty-six years ago by Melphy Sakupwanya. Currently there are five RC leaders in Bulawayo and one class. A youth group meets at a church. Extreme poverty is a major barrier; most people can’t afford the bus fare to get to a class.

Diane Shisk

Alternate International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

Seattle, Washington, USA

(Present Time 186, January 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00