Stories – Una Goliath
Una Goliath was born in Salt River and has lived in the Salt River/Obs community all her life. She is well known here.
She says she was a rebellious child who rarely went to school. ‘We bunked all the time. Took our private clothes with us and then went to the broken cars in Fenton Road, changing and hiding our books.’
They would then wander the streets, getting up to mischief. ‘Later on we went and changed back into our school clothes to go home.’
At the age of 13 she was caught for house breaking and sent by a Magistrate to a Girls Reformatory. ‘I was young for prison.’ she says.
She managed to escape (during the cookery class she jumped out of the window, taking supplies of food). She spent six weeks on the run until she finally gave herself up.
At the age of 17 she began working in a factory but was fired after only one month on account of her rudeness. She was then arrested a second time for housebreaking, charged and received a 2-4 year custodial sentence which she served in Worcester.
‘I really didn’t want to be there but I was so rebellious I didn’t care.’
After her release she was rearrested for selling drugs, first short sentences but finally a full five years which she served again in Worcester.
‘I was in and out of prison. For two years I was trying. Every night at midnight I would say I would change but God let me go to prison so He could deal with me.’
Light breaks in
While in prison, in 1984 she heard the gospel and believed that Jesus died for her sins. And the struggle to break free continued. She was a serious addict but managed to get free from the drugs while in prison through prayer and reading the Bible.
In 1988 she was released and immediately began attending church. She married George Goliath and they were happily married for 16 years until he passed away in 2004 aged 70.
In 2002 members of Jubilee Community Church began a Saturday Kids Club and regularly visited the families who were involved. One day they knocked on Una’s door. The children had asked her ‘Please, Auntie Una, take us to Kids Club on Saturday.’
‘I visited Jubilee a lot, usually on Saturdays for Kids Club.’ She met some of the leaders. ‘They really loved people, I could feel it.’
When her husband died she went to live in Parow and then moved back to Salt River, visiting Jubilee on Sundays.
Lex Loizides says, ‘Auntie Una is not only an attender at Jubilee services but has become one of our leaders, serving midweek in our SunShade ministry to ladies in the Obs/Salt River area, leading a hospitality team on Sundays, as well as serving in Beauty for Ashes.’
People can Change
She is the house mother of ‘Beauty for Ashes’ a Jubilee residential house in Observatory which cares for women who have been recently released from prison. She now gives care and advice to women who are in the same kind of trouble she once found herself in.
‘I serve at BfA because I feel it’s a calling from God. It’s a privilege for me to be with these ladies. I feel that I’ve been there and I know what it’s about. I feel that I should care and be there for them and just love them, because they’re worth it.’ she says.
‘It’s a tough love sometimes but it’s love! People can change because God has changed me. People also thought I would never change. Even when God changed me people didn’t believe it. But it was a real thing because God is a real God.’
With that kind of hope she is inspiring others to break from the past and start a new life.