IN SOUTH AFRICA, THE 25 PROJECT PARTNERS WITH QUINTIN AND TERESITA NDIBONGO AND INTLANTSI CHRISTIAN SCHOOL (A MINISTRY OF INDAWO YETHEMBA FOUNDATION). THEY SERVE THE XHOSA PEOPLE OF THE DEBE NEK REGION.
Intlantsi Christian School opened its doors on January 15, 2019, serving thirteen grade 8 students. By extension, the students’ families and communities are also being served.
Intlantsi is a residence-based school with weekly boarding. It is situated on a property called Fort White. Seven small villages surround Fort White within a ten km (6.2 mi) radius. The people in those villages have limited access to electricity. They collect water at communal taps and use outhouses. It is an interesting contrast between old and modern times, where herdsman keep their livestock while cars zoom by.
The Xhosa (pronounced kow-suh) people inhabit most of this region. This is the second-largest people group in South Africa. Many people in rural communities practice a traditional African religion, inkolo yahwantu. This religion has its own deity, Qamata. They communicate with their deity through ancestral worship, including ritualistic animal sacrifices. Some people mix Christianity with elements of this African traditional religion.
It is customary for the Xhosa people to consult “traditional healers” or sangomas (aka witch doctors), or to seek help from faith-healers. Within the local churches, one will find healers who claim to be Christians. People may seek help from these “healers” because of their tradition or superstition. Sometimes, they are driven to the healers out of fear when faced with challenging situations. They engage in “water rituals” and the practice of tying cords around the wrists, ankles, neck, and waist. Many of the children we serve come from families who practice these traditions.
“While many Africans give far too much credence to evil spirits and powers, the American tendency to dismiss all such things as fun or pretend (think Halloween) does not mean they are not so. An interesting idea to ponder, especially when our worlds intersect.”
While Intlantsi is a new school, Indawo Yethemba Foundation is not. What we see and experience is not new either. Over the years, we’ve learned a few things. When God is on the move, the forces of darkness will attempt to bring chaos and disruption. At times, God allows us to be shaken, and in the shaking, things get dislodged. This leaves room for God to do his work. Because of Jesus’ victory on the cross 2000 years ago, there is nothing we need to do, except to trust in God alone.
Regardless of your personal beliefs about supernatural occurrences, some things are certain:
- The Bible prohibits various occult practices, including communication with the dead.
- Some of our students practice veneration of ancestors because it is a practice of the Xhosa culture.
- Such practices can open doors to spiritual darkness for individuals and their families.
- Students who have participated in such practices (by their choosing or that of their families) have now come to Indawo Yethemba/Intlantsi and found that the darkness within them conflicts with the Spirit of the living God.
- As a result, Satan will attempt to disrupt the work of God.
At Intlantsi we share with our students the importance of knowing who they are, where they come from, and where they are going. We challenge them to leave their traditions behind and follow Jesus.
GOD IS ON THE MOVE IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OUR STUDENTS. THEY ARE WRESTLING WITH TRUTH AS THEY ARE BEING EXPOSED TO THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.
PLEASE PRAY WITH US. PRAY THAT GOD WOULD CONTINUE TO OPEN THE EYES AND EARS OF OUR STUDENTS. OUR DUAL PURPOSES ARE BEING A CONDUIT FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS AND SPIRITUAL HOPE; PRAY THAT WE WOULD NOT BE DISTRACTED FROM THIS.
Teresita Ndibongo, our ministry partner and head of Instalsi Christian School wrote this article. It was first featured in our 2019 Annual Report.