Sunday, September 2, 2012

The heavens rejoice

There was rejoicing in Heaven today when God welcomed this great man. 

But what a gap it leaves on earth.

Especially in his family.......

You can read about his many accomplishments HERE which include this paragraph
Khoza Elliot Mbuyisa could have opted to remain silent during apartheid but instead chose to seek the truth and call for an equal society. While some ministers of religion chose to avoid involving themselves in politics, Reverend Mgojo fearlessly spoke out against the apartheid regime and provided spiritual guidance to many victims of apartheid. His compassion was exhibited through his burial of apartheid victims in Botswana and in South Africa. He was also called to bless the graves of the apartheid victims in Mozambique.
 Rev Dr Mgojo was the head of the Methodist Church in South Africa and a peer of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in standing against apartheid. He also headed a Theological Seminary in Imbali Pietermaritzburg..... a truly great man of Africa and the church.

But I didn't know any of that when I first met him.  I was sitting with my Mom in the foyer of my new school - Epworth - start of Grade 4.  He was sitting in the same foyer with his daughter Nosipho.  We were the only 2 new Grade 4's.  Dr. Mgojo was a huge man and when not smiling had a stern look on his face......I was mildly terrified.  Nosi and I gave each other a tentative smile and as we entered that classroom as the "new girls" we entered into a friendship that endures to this day.  We spent all our school years together and crossed paths at university later.  My Mom ended up working as a preschool teacher at the Theological Seminary and I hung out there with Nos and she came to my home - in defiance of Apartheid rules of the time. 

We both watched our parents stand up to injustice and demand equality.... and pay the price.  I came to know her Dad not just for the fierce, intelligent warrior he was but also for the loving, gentle husband and father he was.  Never was there a greater transformation than when Dr Mgojo put his head back and laughed - the stern face gone and the deep wholehearted laugh and twinkling eyes - there were moments when I held my breath and only exhaled when that twinkle told Nos and I were weren't in too much trouble after all.

The world may not stop today.... but I will - to honour this truly great hero of the struggle against Apartheid, true hero of the faith and wonderful husband and father.  It's been years since I had the pleasure of seeing him but I rejoice that I will see him in heaven and we will have plenty of time to laugh together.

To Stella and Mxolisi and Nosipho and Khayakazi - my deepest condolences - your loss is unimaginable.  Hold onto one another and your faith and may you know peace and joy in the days ahead.


Nicky "Khethiwe" Byres on behalf of the Richardson/Byres/Gates families.

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