Merle Africa speaks about her life
My name is Merle Africa, disciple of JOHN AFRICA and Minister of Administrative Coordination. I am a 45 year old woman of color living in the US. I’ve been a member of the MOVE Organization since 1973 and these 22 years have been the most satisfying and happiest I have ever experienced despite the 18 years unjustly spent in prison and vicious brutal murder of my family experienced at the hands of the system, May 13, 1985.
Before joining MOVE, I had relatively the same type of existence as everybody else in the system; I went to schools in Phila., graduated, got a secretarial job at Temple University, but I had plenty of problems with no hope of finding solutions for them. My only so-called relief, outlet to these problems was intoxication. I was an alcoholic from the age of 8 and habitual drug addict since the age of 15.
My father was a heavy drinker and along with other relatives, as a young child they would let me drink form their glasses, taking a sip until I had acquired a taste for liquor and as the years
passed, I drank at home and at friends’ homes until I turned into a drunken alcoholic.
Children are supposed to be happy, problem-free, but I was far from happy. I was fat and mentally unstable. I have a younger sister (who isn’t in MOVE) who I fought constantly, along with my parents because I thought they preferred her to me, I thought they didn’t love me. I didn’t trust them and felt I couldn’t get any relief by talking to them.
By the time I entered my teens, I was suffering from severe bouts of depression, hallucination and paranoia. I was suicidal, went on eating binges and was bulimic. I also suffered from violent outbursts of temper where I’d try to hurt my mom and sister and tried to hurt myself by banging my head on the floor until it bled.
I realize now the problems I had were because I was so unhappy, dissatisfied, frustrated and mentally demolished. I needed love, understanding, and attention which I wasn’t getting at home,
only vicious abusive beatings from my father to make me tow the line. I didn’t get any relief from talking to psychiatrists and the group therapy sessions my mother took me to. In the meantime, I was still drinking and by 15 I started smoking pot, taking pills (diet and sedatives), snorting speed, cocaine and heroin. I took any drug I could get my hands on, from angel dust to acid because I wanted desperately to escape the pain I was experiencing. I was suicidal because I felt I had no reason to live and when I asked my psychiatrists to explain my purpose in life, they had no answer, just told my mom I was too violent, too disturbed to live at home, I was dangerous. They didn’t have any solution for me so they kept after her to institutionalize me, which she refused to do.
The turning point in my life came when I met MOVE people and started hearing the powerful teaching of JOHN AFRICA.
I felt drawn to the true love, sensitivity and family unity I saw in the MOVE people I met and eventually, from talking to MOVE I started going to study sessions to hear the teaching of JOHN AFRICA, MOVE LAW. The information I heard is the most powerful analytical, truthful writing I have ever heard about this system. I was real impressed with the way JOHN AFRICA took the time, had the patience to talk to a mother about her cranky unruly child or listen to JOHN AFRICA speak at meetings giving a couple a solution to a marital problem they were having. Whenever any of us was unhappy or troubled the coordinator always had the patience, the time to talk to us, give us real solutions to our problems, something no doctor, psychiatrist, minister or parent has ever done for anybody before. I kept going to more and more study sessions and other MOVE activities cause I felt drawn to MOVE Law because it is the truth and unlike other organizations I’ve heard of and read about, I realize JOHN AFRICA’s teaching ain’t just a lot of meaningless rhetoric as the newsmedia claimed, but there’s uncompromising power in MOVE Law
and its shown in the family unity, love and sensitivity I’ve experienced and displayed since being in MOVE. I have personally witnessed miracles within myself and other MOVE people. In the
1960’s I had 2 back room abortions performed on me.
After the 2nd abortion I almost died from loss of blood. After that I was in constant pain and hospitalized for cysts and boils on my tubes and vaginal area. The doctors I went to couldn’t find a cause for the medical problems I was having. When I got in MOVE, the trouble continued until JOHN AFRICA told me what was wrong. He didn’t physically examine me or run no tests. He told me I had a tumor in my stomach and it was because of the abortions I had had and I hadn’t told him about the abortions. The Coordinator told me what to do, how to eat and said in time I would get better. I was in pain, bed-ridden for months at a time and bleeding, at no time did the coordinator force me to do nothing I didn’t want to do, he didn’t force me to stay in bed; in fact it was the coordinator who told me if I wanted to go to the hospital he would get one of the men to take me and I told him I didn’t want to go, that I trusted him and knew he was the only one who could help me. I put my faith in my belief, in JOHN AFRICA to make me better and he did cause the tumor came out on its own without me ever going back to the hospital for an operation and I’ve never had any more menstrual or stomach problems, no more cysts or boils. Long Live JOHN AFRICA Forever!
If it hadn’t been for the healing power of JOHN AFRICA I would be dead. If I hadn’t been in MOVE, by the time the doctors finished probing and experimenting on me with medicine and gadgets the cancer would have spread to the point where the only thing left for me was to say goodbye to my family, cause I didn’t have a chance, but JOHN AFRICA gave me my life back, gave me the opportunity to live for which I am so grateful and why I am so committed to my belief because it works, I’ve seen, felt MOVE Law work for me!
Long Live JOHN AFRICA Forever! Because of his example I know I can always depend on my belief to give me everything I need to keep me healthy, strong and free of mental illness. That’s something nobody can say about anything in this system. I’ve found in MOVE Law my reason for living, satisfaction, happiness and that’s what the whole world is searching for and its available for anybody who wants it. After years of being in the system and abused by men who I thought loved me and were faithful to me, but ultimately left me alone and disillusioned, thanks to JOHN AFRICA and our application of MOVE Law, I finally have a loyal faithful husband and we have a good strong marriage and that’s something every woman longs for in the system.
When I look back and see how I was before MOVE and how I am now, I can’t help but give my loyalty, my commitment to JOHN AFRICA, because without him, I would be dead. I feel privileged to be allowed to be a member of MOVE, to help spread the teaching of JOHN AFRICA to the people of the world; to give them the motivation, the will to stop endorsing this system and start fighting it and take back all that it’s taken from us!
On March 13, 1998, Merle Africa died in prison under suspicious circumstances.
from "Memorial for MOVE members"
By Betsey Piette, Workers World, 28 May 1998
...Among the most moving were statements from "lifers"--women in prison with [Merle] Africa at Muncy, where she had spent 15 years. Through letters and poetry, these women spoke of
Africa's courage, compassion, and uncompromising principles.
One described Merle Africa as "an everyday holiday ... she brought the gifts of joy, knowledge, a listening ear, the discipline of life."...