*As part of the in-depth research project, one of the requirements of the BA Honours in Journalism and Media Studies degree at Wits University, students are required to write daily blog entries to show the progress of their projects. This year the theme is Yeoville and students have to take on a topic that tells a story that is Yeoville specific.
Lutho and I kicked off the day’s work by visiting Tandoor on Rockey street to meet artists for her project. Tandoor was originally a double storey house where Joe Slovo and his family lived. It became an Indian restaurant and now it’s a venue for Rastafarian events.
Walking through the doors and being greeted by the smell of weed was a bit of a culture shock. But listening to the two artists, the Black Bees, talk about how their work is inspired by God and the scriptures, it broke down a lot of the stereotypes I had.
I left to speak to a youth leader at a church we found on Louis Botha which serves the Yeoville community. On the way there I managed to speak to a few people. One of them, Hlulani Risenga was listening to Gospel music while selling airtime. He says he goes to the church his family goes to. When I asked him if he would try out the new Pentecostal churches in the area he said he would never leave the church in which he grew up.
You don’t need a building to go to church.
He says he had been searching for a job for three years since he left school. He believes God gave him his job. I hope to find members of the congregation I’m visiting tomorrow with the same kind of story.
Similarly, two vendors further on Cavendish street were very expressive about their views about churches and their pastors. Fearing the building collapse at the church in Nigeria, they don’t want to attend any of the new churches. “It’s satanism. No more God there.”
A woman, who goes to the Zion Christian Church says that God is everywhere. You don’t need a building to go to church. You can pray anywhere and everywhere. She says it’s wrong to force people to go to church.
After a while she asked if they were being filmed by hidden cameras! (I wish I had access to special equipment like that). She wanted to remain nameless but strangely didn’t mind being photographed.
When I finally reached the youth meeting, I spoke to Hortance Kanka, who used to work as a journalist in the Congo. She now serves at the church. She spoke about how being part of the church has turned her life around. She is now expecting a child that she spent years praying for. She advised me to come through to meet the pastor. This church has a lot of activities in the week which will be great to capture for the multimedia project.
Before leaving I got to share in some of the treats at the youth meeting. Two slices of cake. I considered saving one for Lutho, but then I thought … nah.
Later after meeting up with Anazi, we found a conference of church pastors on Kenmere street. According to Pastor Elijah Fire, who has a church in Berea, the conference was to make the different congregations aware of being proactive in sharing the Gospel given the end times.