Nomthandazo and the township church


Here is another little township story for you. It is about the church services in South Africa, which are totally different to those in Europe.

On a Sunday Spihwe (my hostsister in the township, her name means gift) and Betty took me to church, which was a beautiful and scary experience at the same time. At this point I have to say that my believe in God is not very strong but I have to admit that the following service really moved me in a way I cannot explain.

During the praying Spihwe just began singing a song and the others joined in. They sang and praised with such beautiful, strong voices and most of all they danced to it with passion.


The preaching was the most fascinating part. It began slow and quite. Only a few people were nodding to the message the prophet tried to bring to them. Then the first one started shouting out in agreement. Shortly after more joined in. They lifted up their hands and waved to the prophet. It got very loud as people jumped from their seats in passion and shouted to the preacher. They all looked as if they were in trance, their minds captured by the presence of their God. Suddenly a woman, lets call her Nomthandazo (meaning Prayer) screamed in agony. Her body bent and she fell on the floor. A man came and covered her small body with a red blanket; nobody else seemed to have noticed her fall. That is how caught up they were with their own God in their own minds.

Later, when everything was over and the fallen woman sitting safe on her chair again, Spihwe told me that Nomthandazo had been touched by God´s spirit.

Now I don´t say that I believe that Nomthandazo was touched by God but that her believe is so strong that she faints for her God really fascinated me.


3 thoughts on “Nomthandazo and the township church”

  1. I was the wife of an Episcopal (Anglican) clergyman in the United States for many years, and at one point in his ministry he was an “interim,” which meant he went around to different churches and filled in while they were waiting to call a new rector. The Episcopal churches in the United States can be very different from one another – some are staid and stuffy, some very charismatic. Our children were young at the time. I remember that at one church we had a lot of elderly people, and one gentleman fainted during church. Everyone was afraid he had had a heart attack or a stroke, so it was quite dramatic, and my daughter was much affected by this. Then at the next church, people were regularly “slain in the spirit.” The first time this happened, my daughter said “Mommy, what’s wrong? is so-and-so sick?” No, I told her. She’s just praying. There was a moment of silence, and then my daughter asked, nervously “Do I have to pray like that?” No, I told her. You can talk to God in any way you wish. As it happens, she’s now a candidate for the ministry herself. So I guess I gave her good advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I asked myself exactly the same question as your daughter when that woman fainted. I always find the thoughts and questions that children have very interesting, as they are always very logical in a way an older person would never think.
      Thank you for that little story.


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