Church leader helps transform village
Pastor Kolobe Kgongoana gives men leadership skills
THE building at Makibelo village outside Seshego in Polokwane, Limpopo, may be mistaken for any other displaced structures that characterise the landscape of rural areas.
It is only when one approaches the building that the eyes open to a church which its leadership has taken a conscious decision to also equip members of the community with knowledge to be able to face the world. The sight of youth spending most of their time at shebeens, and seeing other men with potential just loitering was too much for Pastor Kolobe Kgongoana of Makibelo International Assemblies of God.
He approached local traditional leaders and other structures in the area on how the situation could be turned around. It’s then that he initiated the Community Leadership Training Programme.
The first workshop was held on Saturday and the main objective was to equip both young and old men with leadership skills, so they can apply what they learnt at their families, churches and community structures which require leadership prowess.
Pastors of churches from neighbouring villages were also attended to receive such training.
Kgongoana said he felt obliged to initiate the programme together with other community leaders after observing how some people with potential leadership skills were carrying themselves in the community.
He saw the need to launch it at Makibelo village after a thorough analysis of the community: “I would see young men of this village in shebeens and I also meet most of them on the road in the early hours on weekends especially on Sundays carrying alcohol beverages.
“This became the cause of concern to me and that was when I approached one of the traditional leaders to assist in informing the entire community to come and receive the teachings on leadership. He welcomed the idea and expressed that he is also concerned by the state-of-affairs in the community. I also saw the need to invite members of the church to be part of the event.”
Kgongoana, who has been at the helm of the church for a period of 10 years to date, said he realised that for one to become a pastor, one needs to also be part of the community. Being part of the community, a pastor will then be concerned when some members of the community head in the wrong direction.
He said that one of the aims of the training programme was to produce responsible and credible leaders of the community - be it at school, at work or structures established in the community.
The training programme is yet another project initiated at the village. A library also stands at the vicinity of the church.
“It is the love I have for this community that forced me to open a library within the church. The journey was not smooth in establishing it because we needed books that would be useful to the children of this community. The library was sponsored two white pensioners from Springs in Gauteng after hearing about our intention to establish this library. They informed other people who were willing to donate books. They told us to come and collect them,” he said.
He said former president of the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), Dr Mosibudi Mangena, also donated books after he was informed about the library. He said renowned journalist who is currently part of the SABC Board, Mathatha Tsedu, also made a donation towards procurement of books for the library.
Turning again to the training programme, Kgongoana said during one of the church leaders’ conferences he attended, he met Pastor Lucas Shipalana who is also a motivational speaker. It was then that he invited him to conduct the training programme at Makibelo.
The local municipal councillor Tlou Moeti said she was impressed by the initiative of Kgongoana. She said she learnt a lot as one of the leaders of the community and was inspired by the workshop.
“I will inform most of the people I work with in the council, so they can attend. I promise to mobilise the community and ensure that the hall is full to its capacity,” she said.
One member of the community, Johannes Boshomane, said that things will never be the same for him after attending the workshop. He made a pledge before everyone that was present at the training workshop that he was going to apply what he learnt in his family.
BELOW: The library within the church was opened by Pastor Kolobe Kgongoana.
Community members of Makibelo village attending the Community Leadership Training Programme.
Motivational speaker at the event Pastor Lucas Shipalana (left) with Pastor Kolobe Kgongoana.