Golden Opportunity: The Amazing True Story of a Scheme to Enrich a Continent

"This moment will be a turning point," the archbishop said as he took the podium. He again quoted the Exodus verse about driving the locusts out of Africa. He said he was committed to making sure the project was well-administered: "As an archbishop, I have to be unashamedly ethical and be a good steward. We want Africa to thrive. That is my vision. That is my dream."

After leaving the podium, he explained why he had chosen Dozier to lead his economic mission.

"He is a pastor who is close to some of the people we're working with," he said, adding, "He can articulate the biblical values of transparency, honesty, and showing 'love your neighbor.' Sometimes I do not agree with him in terms of content, but he is speaking where it can be heard."

Pastor O'Neal Dozier
Pastor 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.

Eventually, the executives led Makgoba back down the hallway, where he paused to answer a final question. Would his initiative take him to other places like this around the world, to partner with other businesses? Was Jacksonville, Florida, just one stop of many?

"No," said the successor to Desmond Tutu, smiling warmly. "This is our home. It is our Bethlehem." With that, he followed his hosts downstairs and rode off to dinner in a silver Chevy Tahoe.

Dozier missed the news conference. His delayed flight was just touching down as the event ended. He would meet the archbishop at dinner. But if anyone had noticed his absence, no one had made a big deal out of it.

"They didn't even mention me," said Dozier, back in his church a week later. He sounded frustrated: His controversial past had started to worry the project's organizers.

Dozier had believed that the archbishop knew what he was getting when he signed him up. "The archbishop was looking for a partner who would have the combination of being conservative — very conservative — and involved in the political struggle."

He pulled up a printout of an email Jackson had sent to all of his partners, including Dozier, the Bafokeng, and the archbishop. It urged them not to speak directly to the media.

"Please don't give the media the opportunity to get information that, as we know, they can spin in a way that does not edify the archbishop's cause," Jackson had written. "We want this to maintain a media focus of what can be accomplished in Africa, and not about the roles of the individuals or companies involved."

Dozier realized that Jackson was nervous about the fate of the endeavor. "I think Julius is afraid something's going to nip it in the bud," he said. Some more of Dozier's old quotes, dug up, rehashed, and associated with the archbishop, would not "edify" the cause. But he was still confident, denying that he was a liability: "It would be so easy for the archbishop or Julius Jackson to say, 'You know what? Reverend Dozier is bad for this project, so let's dismiss him.' "

If the archbishop and Jackson had wanted a less-controversial pastor to spread the word about the Winds of Change, they would have had some willing volunteers. The Right Reverend Leo Frade, bishop for the Episcopal church in Miami and Southeast Florida, had been watching the archbishop's plan with interest as a fellow member of the Anglican Communion. Late last year, he even thought he might be asked to help. But then he learned that Dozier had been appointed.

"It disconcerted me," says Frade, who had already heard more than he cared to of the pastor's right-wing talking points and knew they conflicted with the archbishop's public role as a peacemaker. "But I don't think I'm in a position to question the archbishop. I'd say he wants to reach out to all kinds of people, not just the liberal types."

John and Jean Comaroff, two sociologists living in South Africa who have studied the Bafokeng, religion, and African economies, put it a little more bluntly. People in South Africa watch the archbishop's moves very closely, said Jean Comaroff, and "if there's the slightest smell of antigay, it's not going to fly... I think the archbishop is well-intentioned but underinformed."

Of the Bafokeng, she said, "I'm very surprised they're involved [with Dozier]. I can't imagine this fitting into [the king's] idea of theology at all. He's not antigay."

After receiving Jackson's email, representatives of the Royal Bafokeng Nation were reluctant to talk. "It is still very much at the conceptualization stage," said Mpueleng Pooe, the public-affairs director who had visited Dozier's church in February. "There's not a whole lot that we want to be discussing until we have very solid and concrete structures in place." Pooe would not comment specifically about Dozier. But inquiries from New Times seemed to raise concerns about how the small, unlikely tribe would be represented across the ocean.

On July 1, Bernadette Morris, a public-relations representative hired to represent Winds of Change, contacted New Times and said that the Bafokeng leadership did not want to be mentioned in a story that painted the initiative in a negative light. "I think the problem is they're not used to American reporters," Morris said. "It's a very private operation."

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