MORE SPONSORS PLEDGE THEIR SUPPORT TO THE CHURCH’S CAREER EXPO AIMED AT EXPOSING DISADVANTAGED YOUTH TO CAREER OPTIONS
A young woman growing up in Philipi may dismiss her ambition of one day becoming a pilot as just a pipe dream because gathering information on such a career and funding opportunities are far removed from her daily struggle of survival as a disadvantaged young woman in the township.
As the Dr SB Radebe Foundation, the social responsibility unit of the Revelation Church of God (RCG), holds its annual Career Expo on Saturday , June 9, at the Baxter Theater in Cape Town, the local youth will have much to celebrate as more sponsors have pledged their support.
The Cape Town Youth Expo that began as an internal event by the Khayelitsha and Philipi branches of the RCG who donated money from their own pockets for an event that aimed to expose the youth to career opportunities four years ago, has become a national event with more sponsors joining the drive by offering career choices and sharing funding opportunities.
To date over 10 000 young people have benefitted from attending the Expo, which is part of the Dr SB Foundation’s Youth Month celebrations.
“We’re humbled by how the Expo has grown and the number of young lives that have changed for the better. And, the hard work of our volunteers that has attracted more corporate sponsors is much appreciated because as the result of their commitment and dedication, we’ll be able to touch the lives of more disadvantaged young people,” said Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe, the Chairperson of the Dr SB Radebe Foundation.
Furthermore, Radebe said with the escalating unemployment figures, standing at 27% in South Africa, it was incumbent upon those who are called to serve God to double their efforts in improving the lives of communities where their churches operate.
“A church is not a building that only preaches the gospel but the church must be able to respond to the needs of its people and the community. South Africa is facing a crisis with the triple scourge of poverty, unemployment and inequality that is destroying many families. We can’t stand in the pulpit and watch, we must intervene wherever we can,” he added.
A number of graduates who made informed decisions on their career paths when the opportunity was presented to them four years ago, will be among those who will attend this year’s Expo, to serve as testimony for those who will be coming for the first time that knowledge is indeed power.
Community-based initiatives, education being key among them, is one of the pillars of RCG, a church founded and led by Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe nine years ago.
Among sponsors that have pledged their support for this year’s event are; the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Woolworths, Old Mutual and the Department of Labour.
An avid supporter of the Youth Expo, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Fatima Chohan who had a similar vision – that of exposing the disadvantaged youth to career options, heard about the DR SB Radebe Foundation’s initiative and decided to join forces with them to ensure the event becomes a greater success. Minister Chocan will deliver a keynote address tomorrow at the Youth Expo.
The Dr SB Radebe Foundation Youth Expo will be held at the Baxter Theater tomorrow, June 8, starting at 08:00 till 14:00.
INKOSI PHAKAMA SHEMBE
Many people who are familiar with the ways of worship in the Nazareth Baptist Church will know that today is our sacred day, the Sabbath. As a leader of the church for the past twenty-six years, it’s the first time ever that I will not be with our congregants on a Sabbath.
For me to be able to attend the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe, I had to request permission at home from our ancestors by burning incense to let them know that I was going to miss the morning session of the Sabbath. That symbolizes the significance of today where history is being made.
When Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe shared Inkululeko Yesizwe’s vision with me a few months back, it resonated with me. His vision of promoting and uplifting our indigenous churches, including our Nazareth Baptist Church that was founded by Prophet Isaiah Shembe in 1910 and especially the inclusion of traditional healers, is something I had been longing for.
Through Prophet Radebe’s explanation, I realized that I had arrived home, hence I decided to join Inkululeko Yesizwe. The decision to be part of this historical Association was also informed by looking back at Prophet Radebe’s own church that he founded in 2009 and what he has achieved through his prophetic walk with God and where he is heading, I concluded that I was not lost.
When Prophet Radebe made a call for us to unite to be able to resist what’s currently taking place, that non-Christian want to control our indigenous churches but they are not even practicing nor understand our African way of worship and the fact that our churches are neglected and not respect, I concurred and decided it was time for action.
I’d like to thank Prophet Ntsikana for his prophesy – to whom it was revealed that African believers were to be united. As we are here today, celebrating the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe, I can say Ntsikana’s prophesy is being fulfilled. Also, iLembe eleqa amanye iNkosi uShaka had said Black people must be one nation. All our ancient Prophets, including Prophet Isaaih Shembe who used to say “Blacks unite, wake up Africans don’t be other nation’s doormats”, wanted this day to happen a long time ago.
It’s my wish that one day we will we do away with borders separating our African countries because I don’t understand why the movement of our people is restricted. My wife is from eSwatini. Whenever I want to visit our family, I must fill papers and get asked questions when all I want is to go home because as Africans we are one nation.
When I see all churches united here today, celebrating the launch of the Association, I see history being made. I’m glad to see our brothers and sisters from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho here with us today. They really need to fight for borders to be dismantled. When you look at America, they have the United States of America – that means the leaders discussed and agreed to unite and work together. As Africans, perhaps we need to burn our passports for our governments to pay attention to our African dream. That’s what women did when they were tired of carrying passes – hence we say “wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo”.
I’d also like to say happy Africa day to all. It hurts that in South Africa, the day is not yet a public holiday but in other countries it is declared a holiday. I sincerely hope that now that we have the Association, our government will sit down with us and understand why we formed Inkululeko Yesizwe. Some people think we want to fight with government through the Association – that’s not the case – we want to help our government to have access to indigenous churches and to be able to talk to our people.
I call other churches to come join us on Inkululeko Yesizwe. We are prepared and we are forging ahead as we now we have at least a million people as our members. Judging by how our message has been received in public platforms, I could safely say our people love what Inkululeko Yesizwe represents – not only our local people but also those from across the continent.
I say Phambili ngeNkululeko Yesizwe!
May God bless Africa and all our churches here today to celebrate with us and also bless those who are still going to join Inkululeko Yesizwe.
Inkosi Phakama Shembe is the Leader of a splinter group of the Nazareth Baptist Church in Johannesburg and is also a member of Inkululeko Yesizwe.
The faith and spiritual landscape changed for the better with the launch of Inkululeko Yesizwe – Freedom of the Nation – last weekend at TicketPro Dome, north of Johannesburg.
The Association has been established to advance, promote and protect the rights of the country’s indigenous churches and traditional healers.
For the first time since the 1800’s, which heralded the start of the eventual collapse of the original African gospel – adherents to African traditional religion, together with traditional healers, will speak with one voice and unite under one umbrella body.
The ultimate goal of this new formation is to restore our African spiritual inheritance and values that were steadily eroded through the introduction of the Western form of religion.
Through Inkululeko Yesizwe we want to facilitate dialogue between our members and forge a common purpose towards gradually changing the religious landscape in South Africa. It is our objective to promote the acceptance and acknowledgement of indigenous churches, traditional healers and African practices and values in our communities and our country.
It is time for change. For far too long, African indigenous churches have been stigmatized and labelled ‘backward’ as Western forms of Christianity are categorized as ‘progressive’ and ‘advanced.’
This new association has an ambitious goal – namely to be a hub of African Knowledge in South Africa, in the continent, and abroad.
Importantly, through Inkululeko Yesizwe our members will advocate for access to land and places of worship; as well as be assisted to register their churches with the relevant statutory bodies. Furthermore, church leaders will be given leadership training. Inkululeko Yesizwe will work with like-minded African Spiritual leaders and healers’ associations.
On the day of the launch giants in African spirituality such as Inkosi Phakama Shembe (of one of the splinter groups of the Shembe Church and a member of Inkululeko Yesizwe) and Arc Bishop Ndanga of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe graced the momentous occasion while Dr VVO Mkhize of Umsamo Institute – a well-known and respected initiated African healer, who has also joined Inkululeko Yesizwe, sent his message of support.
It is necessary to contextualize the formation of this new association, and the manner in which its founding evokes the spirit of our ancestors who were heroes in African spirituality.
The founding of Inkululeko Yesiwe is in response to a vision I received by isithunywa sami – my Messenger from God. It is furthermore in furtherance of a covenant I made with my Creator at eNcome, kwaZulu-Natal on the 5th of December, 2008 – which led me to embark on the path to work for the restoration of the African gospel and its associated values.
With this comes a restoration of the indigenous and spiritual order of worshiping God in an African context; a transformation of the mindset of the African; advocating for financial independence for Africans and overall freeing Africans from all types of bondage.
By liberating Africans from the spiritual shackles placed on them by Western forms of religion we will ultimately restore our cultural identity and dignity.
Also, the formation of Inkululeko Yesizwe fulfils the prophesy of Prophet Ntsikana ka Gaba, the first African Prophet and Christian who preached the gospel of the great God in heaven – uThixo omkhulu oseZulwini long before missionaries docked their ships in our country.
It was Prophet Ntsikana who prophesied the imminent arrival of white people whom he said will carry two things; the Bible and money. He urged the Xhosa nation to receive the Bible but cautioned that they should shun money: because it was going to lead them astray and divide families.
He conducted is preaching wearing a leopard skin and composed African worship songs. Whilst some followed him, others mistook him for a madman. His prophesy was not heeded; and Africans were subsequently dispossessed of their land.
About two hundred years after Ntsikana’s death in 1821 – we have come together as leaders in African Spirituality to forge unity – zenibe yimbumba – as Prophet Ntsikana urged African believers before he died – we are united in serving the true God in an African way.
On the day, I also commemorated the unsung heroes of African Spirituality – our fallen prophets. Unlike last year, it filled my heart with joy to give a token of appreciation to families of our late Prophetess because they are the least spoken about even in the history of Israel. The presence of the four Prophetesses’ families; Nontetha Nkwekwe (Eastern Cape), Anna Mantsopa (Lesotho), Christina Nku (Gauteng) and Anna Lenshina (Zambia) was therefore significant.
I’m humbled by the honor showed by all dignitaries who took time out their busy schedules to attend our launch; Rev Williamson of the United Peace Federation, Michael Swain of Freedom of Religion South Africa, the National Chairperson of the African National Congress Comrade Gwede Mantashe and Head of Elections Comrade Fikile Mbalula.
My sincere gratitude to His Majesty, King Langalibalele II of the amaHlubi Royal House and his entourage – their presence symbolized the support they have for one of their own.
The Executive of Inkululeko Yesizwe and their congregants, my own church, the Revelation Church of God and all our supporters, I’d like to say the launch was the starting point – we still have a long way to go, your support will take the Association to greater heights.
Dr Prophet Samuel Radebe is the Founder and President of Inkululeko Yesizwe – he also founded and leads his church, the Revelation Church of God.