IN HONOUR OF MY AFRICAN FATHER BY JOSEPH DHLAMINI




Women Of Reverence welcomes Joseph Dhlamini as a guest blogger for Fathers Day Month. Joseph Dhlamini who is Swati by origin was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.


He has been involved in Health, Construction, and in Farming. industries.

In 1996, he graduated from the All Africa Bible with a qualification in Theology.


Joseph Dhlamini is a Lead Elder at Gateway City Church, Alexandra Township, and also serves on NCMI Global Apostolic Team. He is married to Lusanda Dhlamini and together they are blessed with four daughters.


He is passionate about transformation, teaching the Word of God and raising leaders. He enjoys reading, listening to jazz and traveling



Joshua was faced with the same decision as my father was, in Joshua chapter 24:15 (BSB). He declares: “But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”


"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!"


This is easier said than done, especially in the time around the 60s - 80s, in a setting of a community deeply entrenched in ancestral belief in Africa. However, my father (who is now with the Lord) lived his belief proudly without flinching, and now, so do 3 generations after him.


The system of Ancestral Belief is based on fear and centred on man. The aim – according to the belief system – is to avert disaster: avoid family deaths, marital issues, sickness, poverty and discontent. To make things worse, as the firstborn of the family, you are the carrier of the family name, and there is a believed spiritual authority that affects not just your family, but the families of your sisters or brothers and their families. In any ritual that is undertaken, the firstborn is expected to be there and perform the spiritual activities that are believed to “prosper and protect” the families.


This was my experience as one of the many sons of my father (he was the firstborn). At the height of ancestral worship, when Christianity was said to be a foreign concept brought by the Europeans, he stood proudly for the Lord and the one and only true salvation. Phillip Esron Dhlamini never eased or let go of his belief until he went to be with the Lord. He did not shy away from his belief and was also very vocal about his stance. With a history of boxing (in his time dropping a few unfortunate men to the ground who tried to rob him) he was known to be fearless in both the spiritual and the physical. He had a Bible in one hand and a fist to protect himself (one of his ears had a portion missing from one of his fighting-for-survival escapades)


As a family, we were told of the anger of the ancestors and curses that were arrayed against us because of our stance, yet the faithfulness and protection of the Lord was always there for us. I remember times when he was blamed for the sicknesses, deaths and suffering in the family, and even accused of witchcraft. These experiences brought me to understand the pressure that women or children go through when, as believers, they are married or born into a family with different beliefs. This scripture of families against each other became a reality that we saw. Matt 10:35 BSB: “For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’

36 A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”


In all this, I have seen that though you can be estranged, the Lord provides love and family from all around.

Mar 10:29 (BSB): ‘“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for My sake and for the gospel will fail to receive a hundredfold in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.”’


I wouldn't know how he really felt under all this pressure, but he never stopped reaching out and being there for his siblings and their families. For us, at the time, there was such conflict in our families which, even as a child, I was aware of. As the sons and daughters of the siblings, we had to fight to find intimacy amongst us.


I stand proudly in my faith today because of him and am forever grateful for his staunch belief. I will always thank and honour him for the journey that I am walking today



My takeaway:


- Not to confess Christ but yet live in complacency in our relation with Him and to people. I have learned that in complacency, we legitimise the opposition to the Gospel. There should not be a blurred understanding of what is righteous and unrighteous in how we live our lives.

- One should stand in times of affliction and even in those times, take the lead in matters of truth and belief, regardless of persecution.

- When one stands for Christ, the strength from the Holy Spirit comes to enable and protect one from internal and outside pressures. Internal pressure can even come from those you are leading.

Rom 8:18 UKJV: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

2 Cor 4:10 UKJV: “…Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”



He led the whole family by standing in truth and showing them “The Way” no matter whether they agreed or not. Today, the knowledge of Jesus has gone far and wide and I know he had a big part to play.


Be Blessed

Joseph


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