From the past month’s “revelations” by News24 of the day-to-day life at Kwasizabantu Mission, it seems that the public must reckon with two completely different institutions. These institutions represent total opposites, and I cannot help but think of other stark contrasts – heat vs cold, light vs darkness, purity vs depravity, following God vs following a man etc. The one cannot exist in the presence of the other, yet it is portrayed as a “complete package”, where you get heaven and hell in one experience.
I have known the one mission for 35 years, and the media has presented me with the other only recently.
Firstly, the media’s mission:
A place of horror, with a “slaughter room” where beatings are carried out, depraved leadership, no freedom, fear, forced marriages, forced confession, spiritual bondage, emotional bondage, sexual assault portrayed as the norm, brainwashing and the list can go on and on. It describes a place where no sane human being would choose to live.
Now, the place I call home:
For as long as I can remember Kwasizabantu Mission has been a place of peace and refuge for me. I never lived in fear of another human being but was always encouraged to have a personal relationship with a loving Heavenly Father and to make sure that my life meets His approval. There I was set free from my past, free from hurt, free from sin, free from hypocrisy and free from living for the approval of man.
I lived at Kwasizabantu Mission for four years, before I accepted a teaching position in the Western Cape. I never experienced rejection and always felt welcome when I would visit during the holidays. As a young man, I never felt pressurized into the confession of sin, or getting married in the “mission way”. I wanted to confess my sin, whether intentional or unintentional because I experienced the healing that it brought to my soul. Through confession of sin, I could break down the wall that separated me from my God.
The Lord led me into marriage a few years later and, when I held my wife’s hand for the first time on our wedding day, I knew it was all worth it. Of course, there were the critics who expected me to conform to the norms of our modern society, but I chose to trust God for one of the biggest decisions of my life and have no regrets.
Somehow, when I look at the two versions, I still prefer the Mission I grew up to know and love, and where I received true freedom.
Jakobus de Wet