After Claiming He Provided “Natives All Over Kenya” With Water And Receiving Backlash, Bishop T.D. Jakes Issues Apology

October 18, 2013  |  

Bishop T.D. Jakes has issued an apology to the country of Kenya for an insensitive statement made earlier this week in which he called the people of Kenya, “the natives” and then overstated his ministry’s role in helping “the natives” gain access to clean water.

The controversial statements were made while sharing his now infamous remarks at the pulpit at The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas where he  denounced the Preachers of LA.  He referred to the reality show as that “junk” on television, and reminded his congregation that he always had money and doesn’t need theirs for his lavish lifestyle. You can read his full controversial remarks here, or watch this video here. However, here is the part of what he said, which he is now issuing an apology for:

You don’t do that kind of business being shake and bake and slimy…So let the work I’ve done speak for me. You are sowing into good ground; and the 300 families that are employed in this ministry eat from this ministry, work in this ministry, and help us to produce the excellence that we do. The natives all over Kenya drink water because of this ministry. And the hospital in Nairobi survives because of this ministry. I do not need you to buy my car. I got this.”

The reaction to Jake’s “the natives…” comments from both continental and Diaspora Kenyans was pretty swift. Many took to social media, including Twitter, to express their outrage to and about the Dallas preacher and movie producer. Here are just a few of the wonderfully snarky takedowns:

You do not need to be Caucasian to have the ‘White Saviour’ complex. @BishopJakes seems to be afflicted. Kenyans are people; not ‘natives’

The native all over Kenya drink water because of this ministry….” TD Jakes WTF! Is he the rainmaker?

Hey @BishopJakes Am also a native of Kenya, my taps are all dry, has your ministry collapsed?

Natives of Kenya, please don’t “anika” @bishopjakes, lest our water supply is cut…

As @BishopJakes takes credit for supplying the natives of Kenya with water, some natives may demand a miracle: Turn It Into Wine! #SemaAmen

The Kenyan news website Jambonewspot.com sought to verify Jakes’ clean water claims and found that in July 2012, Bishop Jakes did tweet a photo of a construction site in Kenya with the caption: “@MegaCareOrg breaking ground at Melchizedek Hospital’s new well site in Kenya. The website also reports that MegaCARE Missions (MegaCARE), which also goes by the name of the International Humanitarian Organization, was founded by T.D. Jakes. And according to video posted on Vimeo entitled Melchizedek Hospital Well – Thank You, MegaCare and it’s partners had completed the project and the new well has enabled both the Melchizedek Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya as well as surrounding villages to access clean water. However, outside of the hospital and surrounding communities, there is no other evidence of MegaCare or any other part of T.D. Jakes’ Ministries breaking ground or digging other clean water wells in any other part of the country’s capital city or the country in general, which is roughly about as big as the state of Texas.

In a letter released yesterday on both The Potter’s House website and via Twitter, Jakes said that while he apologizes for his comments, which have “caused some offense in Kenya,” he also said that the comment was taken out of context to “convey a meaning far from the intent of my heart.” His full statement reads as follows:

An attempt in last Sunday’s sermon to distinguish myself from an American television program portraying preachers in a manner that I found unseemly has caused some offense in Kenya. For that I apologize.  My intent was to show the extensive humanitarian efforts by TD Jakes Ministries through its MegaCARE arm as a means of further distinguishing this organization from the TV program’s exclusive focus on the personal material wealth of the individual ministers over the works of the Gospel. The attempt was to highlight one well and one hospital wing in Kenya as one example of this ministry’s worldwide efforts. It was by no means meant to take responsibility for an entire nation or to minimize the contributions of its people. My focus has always been about the mission of helping hurting people in every circumstance of life, anywhere in the world.The extemporaneous comments when taken out of context convey a meaning far from the intent of my heart. I meant only to communicate to my constituents that my love is for people as demonstrated through years of practical ministry.The fact that these heart-felt words have been taken to mean anything other than their original intent deeply saddens me.I love Kenya and the entire continent of Africa. I am proud of its efforts and grateful to have had an opportunity to minister to its people on numerous occasions. I trust that this explanation will end this apparent misunderstanding.”

Just in case you were curious about Kenya’s drinking water situation: According to the website Water.org, about 59 percent of Kenyans have access to safe water supplies and only 32 percent have access to improved sanitation. Its limited renewable water supply has led to Kenya being classified as a water scarce country. And according to this recent article in Bloomberg, while erratic weather with poor rainfall totals over the last few years have led to drought and water shortages, the most pressing problem isn’t a lack of water, as there are huge underground water sources around the country (including these two recently discovered aquifers, which contain some 250 billion cubic meters of water). Rather, without the benefit of reliable infrastructure, including wells dug deep enough into the earth to tap into the water aquifers, the problem is a matter of access.

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