Many people have read the bible; debates have been had and some have even put the Holy Book aside and concluded it is just a history book with no relevance whatsoever to the world today. However, some people like Olebogeng Mafatlha have taken the bull by the horns to illustrate, as it were, the relevance of the Bible.
He read the bible along with other commentaries and history books and drafted an artwork which he calls a calendar and, according to him, explains the current events of the world and will predict the future.
The thing I was most curious about when I saw Mafatlha’s artwork was why he felt people needed to see this calendar at this time when Corona Virus/Covid-19 is causing a global panic; could he perhaps be seeing something which we are not seeing, or he just wants to share his creativity with the world?
Answering these questions Mafatlha said that his artwork is more like a watch which helps to keep people up to date. “The crises we experience today were prophesied long time ago. Even when you read Matthew 24 you will learn that more plaques are coming as a sign of end times. For people to know this I believe they can be prepared for more, which is better than to be caught off guard.” he explained.
He says that the timeline depicts events of the world from when God created the world and its inhabitants, both male and female up until the birth of Christ, his crucifixion in AD32 to the present era and it was calculated to begin with the birth of Christ. It has been 2 millennium since Jesus appeared amongst mankind. Today is 2020AD; it’s a pity most people in our generation don’t know the meaning of 2020 to them it is just celebration of year after year.” AD stands for Anno Domini, a Latin word meaning “In the year of the lord”.
Mafatlha’s artwork has been triggered by his curiosity when he was still at senior secondary school in his History classes. “But the history I was taught at school wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity. Most history books will tell of events from 17th and 18th century but I always wanted to know what happened before but alas!” From his love of art and history, he combined the two and came up with this artwork. The young man says that from reading the Bible, he found the missing link and he felt the urge to share his knowledge with the world.
His artwork is made from 2 manilla papers, joined and turned into a pictorial timeline with years, and Biblical and historical references. The timeline through pictures obtained from various books creates a story which, according to Mafatlha, shows the events of the past, this current century and awaits fulfilment of the future. “Revelation 16 talks about the plaques that shall befall the world during the last days until the coming of God. We must even expect more, though people will not change or repent, thus fulfilling the book.” As simplified as it looks, the artwork took him about 4 to 5 years to make.
“Bible is a compilation of books which are in a chronological order. One book continues the other. They are all 66. Some are history books, prophesies, wisdom literature and biography of Christ. All books are vital.”
Mafatlha says that one does not need to be going to church since scriptures say that our bodies are the temples of God. He elaborated that this scripture does not rule out going to places of worship. He raised his concern that many people have used churches as businesses and are exploiting the poor and diluting the message of salvation.
“The bible requires a clear conscience when reading it and it will give you sense. As for my part I glory in the Bible.”
However, Decolonization Movements, especially of African descent, do not believe in the Bible or the Christian God, arguing that it was a brain washing tool used by the Whites to colonize and defraud Africa of her natural resources. For Mafatlha, this narrative is different. He explains that the Bible is a book for all.
“Most Africans shun the Bible as they believe it’s a white man’s book but that’s not true. Africans (Ethiopians) as commonly known in Bible have always been close relatives of Israelites for example, Marriam the wife to Moses, was Ethiopian /African.”
Other than art, Mafatlha delights in music, mostly jazz. He says he has a band which play live music at home. Just like many other artists, he says that the Corona Virus pandemic has brought business to a halt.
As for the calendar, he says that people do understand its message but it seems to disturb their comfort zone. “But there’s no comfort in this world unless they choose ignorance. Re baeng lefatsheng (we are pilgrims on this earth).” he laments. Mafatlha provides free Biblical presentations using his timeline but provision of a copy can be arranged.