Interview with Rev. Samuel Mkhonta of the Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church in Swaziland
Ubuntu, “I am because you are,” is a way of life in the monarchy Swaziland whereby citizens recognize no stranger, orphan or widow. However, in this small country, formerly a British colony, the strength of ubuntu is challenged by increasing urbanization, where citizens of the kingdom move to the urban areas with a different mindset and ethos than those in rural community. Plus, HIV/AIDS constantly threatens this communal norm; out of fear more people are starting to distance themselves from infected family members and friends, leaving the traditions of ubuntu in question.
Yet, understanding the principles of God’s kingdom, the Zionists from Kukhany’ Okusha Zion church (KZC), under the leadership of Bishop Samuel Mkhonta, are taking their communities back and reclaiming ubuntu as their reigning ethos. Bishop over 5000 members in 5 congregations, Samuel Mkhonta envisions and upholds 5 pillars of the church to include spirituality and healing, love and care, and growth in numbers to name a few.
Partnership with Global Ministries helps implement projects that reinforce these pillars. For example, Kukhany’ Okusha Zion Church continues to provide financial scholarships to AIDS orphans, extending them opportunity to attend school and purchase their school uniforms, shoes, school supplies, and food for lunch. Also, in late 2010, the KZC was able to begin a feeding program through the support of generous churches and individual donors who provided necessary start-up funds. While the program has been successful thus far in creating a few jobs and providing nutrition-filled foods for children, the need of underserved children continues to grow.
Global Ministries has provided missionary personnel over the years to assist with capacity building. Currently, a global mission intern serves the church and assists with the neighborhood care points. We are grateful that we can work together with Global Ministries to provide this opportunity for mutual sharing.
Mrs. Lethah Mkonta, identified as a mother in the church called Make, tells of the church’s success growing the women’s ministry. Women faithfully gather before worship service to study Bible scriptures and daily application. Their teachings to the youth, prayer chains, outreach, charity to the poor and music are all effective in attracting others to become a part of KZC.
With a full agenda to visit churches which have supported their ministry, the Mkhontas want to express their heartfelt thanks for those who have given financial support, which gives wings to these programs.