SDASM@TUKS is a vibrant Seventh-Day Adventist Church Student Movement dedicated to obeying the command of Jesus Christ to go out into the world to proclaim His message of hope to a weeping and dying world.
SDASM@TUKS was formally organised on the 9th of October 1999 at the Theology building Hall 2-25 at the University of Pretoria. The officiating Pastors were Dr Anthony Maina Nderitu, Pastor Tiyani Mongwe and Pastor Patrick Jones. The words “Let there be a church” uttered by Dr Anthony still ring today as though they were uttered yesterday.
The founding executive committee comprised of:
– Chairperson: Yamikani Kamwendo
– Deputy Chairperson: Takalani Tshivhase
– Secretary-Treasurer: Tembeka Ncoca
– Internal Coordinator: Lesego Mahlangu
– External Coordinator: Lesego Monama
– Additional Member: Lulama Zantsi
The genesis of SDASM@TUKS did not start on 9 October 1999. The foundation of the work can be traced back to 1997. In 1997, several ladies comprising of: Joyce Matjila, Portia Manyane, Tembeka Ncoca, Lesego Monama, Tshepiso Phaswana and others worked tirelessly to start an Adventist fellowship at the University of Pretoria.
By 1998, mid-week prayer and Sabbath opening services were established and venues would rotate between the tea rooms of different residences on campus.
For our Sabbath worship we would travel together for worship to Mamelodi Central Church. We were a group of 5 to 7 students comprised of the ladies noted above and Takalani Tshivhase, Dr Andries Malebogo Legodi and Dr Nompumelelo Happyworth Obokoh.
The worship experience at Mamelodi Central was heavenly and we were well received. After six days of labouring and toiling, a Sabbath at Mamelodi was like going home.
We were well taken care of by the families and embraced by the local youth. The Mkhize, Morallanes and Masilela families amongst others, always cooked a sumptuous meal, a welcomed break from the canteen food.
Establishing the Church
Despite all this, our focus and discussions were always around the fact that we needed to start a church on campus. This was always countered by the predominant excuse that we were too small.
In 1998, Joyce Jakavula (Matjila) started the work to ensure that the Church was registered. She obtained a template of the constitution and Advocate Mkhize then in the SDASA leadership assisted in ensuring that we had a working constitution.
Posters were put all around the campus calling on all Adventists to a meeting. The response was not positive. Nonetheless, the meeting took place on the steps of the Aula chaired by Joyce Jakavula. The consititution was adopted at the meeting and an Executive Committee to lead the church was elected.
The Executive Committe elected comprised of:
– Joyce Jakavula – Chairperson
– Dr Andries Legodi – Deputy Chairperson
– Yamikani Kamwendo – Internal Coordinator
– Tembeka Ncoca – Secretary-Treasurer
– Coornelious – External Coordinator
The constitution was adopted and the structure was named – TUKS Adventist Christian Fellowship and then registered with the SRC.
Our First Sabbath
At the beginning of the second semester of 1999, a decision was taken to start worshiping on campus when during a mid-week prayer session, Andries Legodi made an appeal that it was time to start worshiping on campus.
We acquired a worship venue at the Theology building. Our first Sabbath Worship is a day to be remembered. We were joined by four young people from Kempton Park Church, namely Dakalo Ramugumo, Tshifhiwa Ramugumo, Pitso Mokete, Linda Kula and Sipho Mabena. The other individuals present at our worship were Tidimalo Mahlangu and Lesego Mahlangu.
The theme for the day was “Christ Our Solid rock” led by the ladies. The Preacher was Sipho Mabena. Afternoon program was led by Lesego Mahlangu. Vespers was by Takalani Tshivhase.
And the Church Grew
From the beginning, God has always had a special place for the Church at TUKS. From the very beginning He ensured that He provided us the right people to assist us.
Lulama was a Capetonian who was then one of the Leaders of SDASA who found himself in Pretoria in the late 90s. The Lord ensured that He leads him to SDASM@TUKS. Lulama had a vast experience in student leadership from UWC and Peninsula Technikon Churches.
He was invited to preach on our second Sabbath and he preached a sermon – “Singing the Lord’s song in a strange Land”. After that sermon, he never left – he remained and guided us. The idea of officially launching the church came from him.
Although we had passion, the church did not have a gift of singing. Elder Zantsi and two ladies, Zandi and Andiswa Batwali, came and assisted us with our music department.
That Lord brought Elijah, an Adventist Student Leader to SDASM@TUKS all the way from Kenya. A natural teacher with a vast knowledge of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Anthony Maina Nderitu
In those days, the church did not have an official program/department for campus churches. The Lord organised Pastor Anthony and assigned him to be the first Pastor of SDASM@TUKS. At that time he was studying towards his Masters Degree then later his Phd through UNISA.
Hailing from Kenya, Pastor Anthony was a mild-toned preacher. He preached many thought-provoking sermons at SDASM@TUKS such as, “What is a Church?”, “What is the Sabbath?”, “Internalising principle”, etc.
Uncle T (Pastor Mongwe)
Together with Pastor Anthony, they became our official Pastors. We were privileged to see the best of Uncle T at TUKS. It was here at TUKS where he preached sermons that would never be forgotten – “From Strength to Strength”, “John Mark – the write-off”. As a professional physiologist, he gave us many free professional counselling sessions.
The church was small but the members were focused and committed. It is admirable to witness how in a small setting you see God’s spiritual gifts really at work. We had everything we needed, Teaching, Preaching, and Singing.
These are some of the hands God used in our first year:
- Joseph Hawumba (now Dr)
- Lesego Mahlangu
- Malebogo Andries Legodi (now Dr)
- Elijah Maanzo
- Tembela Ncoca
- Tsakani Valentine Maswanganyi
- Tidimalo Mahlangu
- Andiswa Batwali
- Lesego Monama
- Tshepiso Phaswana (now Dr)
- Andiswa Batwali
- Yamikani Kamwendo (passed away in August, 2010)
- Zandile Mdliva
- Joyce Matjila Jakavula
- Portia Manyane
The Official Opening
The official launch took place on 9 October 1999 – it was a high Sabbath. We had the Mighty Technicon Northern Gauteng (now TUT Soshanguve SDASM), Medunsa and Wits SDASM Churches fellowshipping with us.
The Sabbath School was based on 2 Chronicles – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”
Main Service was delivered by Pastor Patrese Patrick Figueiredo Jones.
The Afternoon Service was the actual officiation. Elder Zantsi, Pastor Mongwe and Pastor Anthony led the charge by imploring us to have a church at TUKS – “Let there be a church” was the caption of the day.
Elder Zantsi gave us a challenge to work towards filling the Theology building Lecture Hall 2-25 on a normal Sabbath without visitors – Lesego Monana and Yamikami later called this Vision 2-25.
Vespers was taken by Ps Jones and the message title was: “How long?”
The official name of the Church was TUKS Adventist Christian Fellowship.
Year 2000 and Beyond
Our new venue was what was known as the Kloostersal (now a Dining Hall for the Day Scholars). It was a bigger venue of 250 capacity and it gave us an impression that there was bigger work to be done. This challenge was intimidating given that we were only a few worshipers.
Due to the similarity of our name with that of the popular student church on campus, TUKS Christian Student Fellowship (TSCF), a decision was taken to change our name to “Seventh-Day Adventist @ TUKS” (SDA@TUKS).
In 2002, the church at the union level developed an official program for secular tertiary Institutions. In line with that program, a new constitution was adopted and we became known as SDASM@TUKS.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
-Gordon A. Eadie-
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”
-Shannon L. Alder-