Slice of Life: Last time I was in Soweto I was shot

'When I came to this conference, it’s the first time I came back since ‘95,' says Timothy Maluleka (Oupa Nkosi)

'When I came to this conference, it’s the first time I came back since ‘95,' says Timothy Maluleka (Oupa Nkosi)

They took my car by the church in Rockville in 1995. In the morning, I was doing a feeding scheme for the poor and, when I finished, I went to the car. I put the key in the door, and the hijackers came.

They didn’t even ask for the key. They just shot. Two bullets lodged in my body. One still remains in my spinal cord. I became crippled until, by the grace of God, I was healed.

I’m a Salvationist. You see the church does not go with this politics.

I was ordained in 1986 when I was called by God to serve the poor souls and to win souls for Christ.

The Salvation Army didn’t want us in the ANC, so we joined the underground. As ministers, we conducted funeral services for our cadres who had been killed by police. We protected them.

At the church kwaLanga, the soldiers didn’t want our members gathering, but I used to hide them. I sat there with the Bible on the table while they met. When the soldiers came in, I would stand and act as if I’m preaching. Then they would go.

I’m disappointed in things now. Some of us didn’t manage to be delegates. I wanted to come as a non-voting delegate. I wrote letters to the SG’s [secretary general’s] office, but they were not answered. They should’ve told me, then I wouldn’t have come. I came in a bus all the way from my home in Mpumalanga.

It’s because we want a change that they don’t want me there. I am leading the CR17 campaign in Mpumalanga. There’s a lot of corruption, so we believe that it’s only deputy president comrade Cyril Ramaphosa who can do much better.

When I came to this conference, it’s the first time I came back since ‘95. — Reverend Timothy Maluleka as told to Ra’eesa Pather

*The Salvation Army has responded to this article, saying: “Mr Maluleka is no longer an Officer (full-time minister) of The Salvation Army and therefore does not have the privilege to wear The Salvation Army’s Officers uniform.

Mr Maluleka, however, does attend the Salvation Army on Sunday’s at Emangweni Corps in Mpumalanga where he is still a member.

He does not represent The Salvation Army in an official capacity and his viewpoints do not represent that of The Salvation Army.”

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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