HOW REFAL CAME INTO BEING
In the summer of 1984, Brother Kha Sekhem Wy attended the Afrikan Echoes lecture series which were being held at the Church of St. Agnes in East Orange, New Jersey. After about three weeks, the group relocated to St. Matthew’s church in Newark. However, when the beloved historian, Dr. Ben, challenged the church leaders with authentic African spiritual history (and invited their pastor to travel with him to Egypt that year to see the truth for themselves) it was the beginning of the end of Afrikan Echoes’ stay. The pastor indeed traveled with Dr. Ben that summer, yet upon his return, his attempts to raise the awareness of his parishioners by inviting various African centered speakers in, resulted in the parishioners having him removed from that church and ousting Afrikan Echoes next.
By the time the group relocated to their third location -- St. Rocco’s church on Ashland Place in Newark-- Brother Kha approached the head of Afrikan Echoes and said, “we need to get our own building.” The response he received was, “you do it.” Undaunted and with a glass jar in hand, he immediately began soliciting donations to acquire one.
Throughout the summer of 1990, four people: Kha Sekhem Wy, Geraldine Dawson-Hogans, George Van Dyke, Jr. and the late James “Omale” Mallard, gathered together to form what later became REFAL Inc. (a name selected by Kha while filing documents to incorporate in Trenton, on January 2, 1991.) Later, he obtained non-profit status for the fledgling REFAL organization. Eerily, Brother James predicted that when it came time for membership, Kha would probably be on his own, alone. He was right, for when it came time to bring in people, none of the original three remained. But Kha persisted.
REFAL Inc. believes that people have pride in their community by taking ownership thereof and that is what we have literally accomplished. In 1991, a small group of African American men and women worked together to raise money to purchase a vacant, decaying, 10 year old property in the heart of Newark’s South Ward in a challenged, ‘inner city’ neighborhood.
Now inside their forth location "The House of Illumation". It was time to make the move. Instead of seeking assistance from local or state government, this group single handedly purchased three city lots. The property was completely overhauled, renovated and restored. A formerly blighted area was transformed into Waset Kommuniversity: a community center adding pride and value to the neighborhood. It has now been changed to REFAL HEADQUARTERS to better reflect its true owners.
The story of Refal is a story of presentence and one of not giving up. It’s one of believing in the best of Afrikan people. To show we can build the type of structures (pyramid etc.). We have come a long way and now, with a firm eye on the future, we expect to accomplish even more with and for our people.