by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
Dr. Knight: Would you please share with us your early Catholic formation.
Obakeng: I am a cradle Catholic but was unconvinced about the Faith. I spent a lot of time in my high school years being a lukewarm Christian. When I got to Varsity, it got worse. I was exposed to so much knowledge, but I had surprisingly little understanding of the Truth. I realized after some time that I lived I life that prioritized the form of things and paid little regard to the substance. Age 25 my mother invited me to a pilgrimage to Ngome that turned out to be the door to a faith on fire. I did not look back. Today, I am 5/6 years grown into the Faith and it is a journey while worth every bit of study, patience, self-denial, and humility it requires. It has brought me a radical sense of joy that nothing I did not experience before I truly encountered Christ.
Dr. Knight: What is your vocation/calling?
Obakeng: I am for the most part still trying to figure that out, but God reveals new things to me from time to time. I am passionate about teaching young minds which makes being a lecturer a great privilege. I also enjoy learning in the traditional and non-traditional sense – hence me currently pursuing my PhD in digital culture and media studies. I also love to discuss topics on how race operates in our society, our lives and our homes, and how media representations impact our ideas of those around us. Race is not a scientific concept (although science uses race as a category); race is a social construct that can just as easily be deconstructed if dare to traverse the colour line.
Dr. Knight: How did you become interested in writing for Profiles in Catholicism?
Obakeng: It was by chance, really. I read an interview that Profiles in Catholicism (PIC) had with Father Patrick Noonan. I think that he is a wonderful priest, and one of the best human beings I have encountered. I also am deeply inspired by his writing. I saw the call for volunteer writers and decided to I wanted to participate in knowledge-generation and offering perspectives of the world from an intellectual, personal and religious point of view. I enjoy the diversity of writing offered by PIC and it goes to show something we easily forget: God really is in the world – not apart from it, we just need to keep on seeking Him in every personal and global situation.
Dr. Knight: Do you think/feel that your life is somewhat a mosaic of your different gifts?
Obakeng: Yeah – for the most part. Sometimes life seems just to happen, and other talents remain buried deep down within. But I am not so much worried about getting a final answer to that question. I am yet to experience a lot in life, but I have learned something new about myself with every season of life: my ability to adapt, learn quickly, make the most out of the least and grow better as a human being. Resilience is a gift, too.
Dr. Knight: Thank you so much for offering us this interview.