Vusi Manganyi grew up in one of the South Africa’s toughest neighbourhoods, where many young men turn to crime due to a combination of peer pressure, a high school-dropout rate and poverty. By the age of 22, he was taking drugs regularly, and was involved in car theft and hijacking. At the age of 26 he was arrested for a number of crimes. After 15 months in awaiting trial cells he was sentenced to 12 years in prison at the notorious Johannesburg Central Prison.
Inside Johannesburg Central Prison they have a very active Alpha program, and Vusi found himself drawn to this. From the time of his first meeting, he was hooked, finding himself completely blown away by the love of God and the open honesty of the Alpha team working in the prison. Vusi says he was never really a chur
ch goer as a young man, so had little to no knowledge of the Bible. His mother was always a strong follower of Christ though, and did her best to instil those values into Vusi and his siblings.
The Alpha team helped Vusi answer the questions about his life that he had struggled with for years, and he found hope and answers. The personal interactions with the team leaders and group co-ordinators, as well as a good grounding in the word of God from the Alpha introductory booklet, helped him understand. Even before he finished Alpha, Vusi had begun preaching regularly in the prison and was seeing his life turn around.
He accepted Christ just before the Holy Spirit encounter time and after this he noticed how his life began to change even more. Preaching regularly in the church and helping to run and coordinate Alpha inside the prison, Vusi saw his prison sentence halved, and six years later he was a free man. Free and determined to follow God, Vusi found a job and over the next few years, met a woman who is now his wife, and was able to purchase a vehicle. As he says: “I have a ring on my finger, a beautiful wife, a job and a car, the Lord has been so good to me”.
Taking the course of his life into consideration it is little surprise that Jeremiah 29:11 has become his life verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (NIV).” ●