Tell us a little bit about your background and life?
I come from Durban, but grew up in Greytown. I was the third of five children and we all grew up with my mom alone as my dad passed away when I was six years old. She raised us under God’s hand. Growing up was difficult because sometimes she didn’t even know what she would give us to eat, and would tell us to pray. Sometimes she would leave the house to go in search of food for us. My mom is still alive today and such a blessing. I have three sons and a granddaughter.
What made you come to Alpha?
One of my sons joined an Alpha first and then when I saw it advertised I thought, “Why not give it a try?” I did not know what it was about, but had heard that I could ask whatever questions I wanted to. Many times I had asked God questions, but felt guilty about it. But when invited to Alpha, I thought I would try.
What was your life like before Alpha?
We grew up in a Christian home with Christian values, but at around the age of 19 I became severely ill and no doctors could find out what the problem was. I was in second year of college, trying to write my final exams. I could not walk without crutches and could only move my head and one arm. I went for a back operation, which was not a success and I ended up having to use crutches permanently. I was desperate and started looking for hope in other places. This led me to train to become a sangoma, a journey I do not wish for anyone. My back healed and I walked without a stick. This made me believe that I was doing the right thing and that being a sangoma was my calling. After some time I realised I was possessed and wasn’t controlling my own actions. I felt like a robot.
What changed for you?
I started praying again, telling God that I didn’t want to be doing this anymore. I had been doing it for eight years by then. I told God that if He had given me a gift, was there another way to use it? God was working in His own ways. My family were also praying for me at the time. They took all my things that involved my life as a sangoma and burned them. They came to where I was and prayed for me, and burned the rest of my sangoma things. I felt lighter after that and felt more able to socialise with people again. In 2014 I met a friend who I had gone to college with, and she invited me to her church. When I was there I accepted Jesus into my life, but was struggling and the church was far from my home. Then someone from the Sharks Board invited me to the Grace Family Church and I started going there.
What was your experience of Alpha?
Before Alpha, when I tried to pray, I could feel that there were forces against me and I felt like I couldn’t communicate with God. When I arrived at Alpha, a lot of things changed. Although I was not always aware of the change at first, I could feel something slowly shifting. There are things that I thought I knew, growing up in a Christian home. For example, I thought I knew what the Holy Spirit was but being on Alpha showed me that I actually didn’t know. After the weekend away, I experienced peace like I’ve never felt before; I really can’t explain what it felt like. It was as if God removed something. I now know that in every situation, God is there. Everything may not be smooth sailing, but I know that God is with me and He cares about me.
What impact did Paradigm Shift have on your life?
I already knew how to sew because my mother taught me when I was six years old. I wanted to make something out of my talent, and also had to find ways of making a living as I had to retire at the age of 30 due to ill health. Paradigm Shift helped me with basic business skills, as well as how to handle customers. Even though my business has not changed much yet, (due to my ill health) how I view my work has changed a lot because of what I learned. I went to Paradigm Shift before I did Alpha, and I wish it had been the other way around, because I did it when I was still very cluttered and unsettled. Now that I have done Alpha, everything is clear.
What advice do you have for others?
I want to encourage people to do Alpha. Just do it. If you have doubts, don’t let them hold you back because you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
The Paradigm Shift Program is a tool that connects business men and women within the church to micro-entrepreneurs in poor communities. Learn more: shiftingparadigms.org