Stories – Dominic Mabikwe
The village that was my childhood home is Kwelerhana in the Eastern Cape, but I went to a convent boarding school in a nearby town when I was four and it was there that I spent most of my young years, going home to the village for school holidays.
I learnt much about the Christian life at school, but had no personal experience with Jesus Christ. I went my own way for the first twenty years of my life, which was focused on alcohol, dagga and women. In and out of jail, living this empty and meaningless lie, I began to question what life was all about and why I was not happy.
One of my old friends, who was like a brother to me, told me about Jesus Christ – who He is and what He had done for me. He said that I needed to receive Christ and my life would turn around. I believed straight away and made the decision to follow Him for the rest of my life. Things changed instantly and I turned away from the life that was leading me downhill.
I began to study the Bible and joined a church. After five years of training, I stepped out and started working for God full time as a travelling evangelist. My travels took me around the Western Cape, including Simonstown where I met my beautiful wife, Rosemary, who is still by my side today.
Life was not easy for a black man in South Africa during apartheid. Things got even harder in 1961 as my pass had to have the signature of a white man before I could move around freely.
Bantu administration ordered me to leave Cape Town and go back to King Williams Town. I had no money so I turned to my Father in Heaven. The Chief Native Commissioner had mercy on me and reinstated my pass. This meant I could stay in Cape Town and continue God’s work there.
The church was a large part of my life and I was eager to know more about God. Although things were difficult, I had read in the Bible that black, coloured and white people would all be in heaven together eventually, and realised that the government and the world was not forever. I read that there was no longer Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor master, but that we were all new creations in Jesus. This encouraged me.
We would visit white churches and although we were of the same denomination, we would sometimes be turned away. ‘This church is for white people. We’ll come and teach you in your church, but you cannot come here.’ We were told. We were not angry as we were seeking knowledge of God and the Bible.
This is not to say that we were not hurt, but we forgave them because it was the law of the country and we were all Christians. Those were hard times, but God saw us through because we loved Him.
One day I heard of Jubilee Community Church in Wynberg, Cape Town, a church which preached about multi-racial fellowship. I jumped at this opportunity as I had been longing for this for years and committed myself to this church. Here I was worshipping with people of all colours and backgrounds.
A white man hugged me on my first Sunday there. I had never experienced this before. In previous years we were not allowed to shake hands in Adderley Street even though we were Christian brothers. That day was like heaven for me. My tears fell like rain. Even today, when I am with white, coloured and black people in my church in Guguletu, I feel so happy I sometimes just cry at the miracle that God has done and thank Him that I have seen this in my old age. I never thought I would see this day come to pass.’
From an article in Today Magazine (Dec 2000)