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 where 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 Adventist ladies planted the seed and they included Joyce Matjila, Portia Manyane, Tembeka Ncoca, Lesego Monama, Tshepiso Phaswana and others. Led by Joyce Matjila (now Jakavula), they 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 of Tuks. It is worth noting the contributions of a 20 year old youth, Dakalo Ramugumo. He was working in the area of Pretoria then and although not a student at Tuks he had a keen interest on this initiative. During our meeting days, he would ensure that before going home to Kempton park, he would go around each Residence transporting students for our meeting.
For our Sabbath worship we would travel together for worship to the Mamelodi central church. We were the just a group of around 5 to 7 students comprised of the ladies mentioned above and now included Takalani Tshivhase, Dr Andries Malebogo Legodi and Dr Nompumelelo Happyworth Obokoh.
Why Mamelodi Central, when there was Sunnyside Church and other churches close by? The worship experience at Mamelodi Central was heavenly and we were well received. After six days of labouring and toiling in a School environment that was tough and a school culture that was foreign, 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 are too small.
Joyce Jakavula (Matjila) really took the bull by its horn. She started the work to ensure that the Church is registered. She got a template of the constitution and Advocate Mkhize then in the SDASA leadership assisted in ensuring that we had a working constutution.
Posters were put all around the campus calling on all Adventists to a meeting. The response was not so good. The meeting was mainly attended by the usual people plus a student called Coornelious (we hardly saw him again). Also amongst those who turned up was Yamikani Kamwendo. 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. Joyce Jakavula was chairperson, Dr Andries Legodi Deputy, Yamikani Kamwendo was internal coordinator, Tembeka Ncoca was secretary-treasurer, External Coordinator was Coornelious.
The committee was elected thus in 1998, at the steps of the Aula, the constitution was adopted and the name of the structure was Tuks Adventist Christian Fellowship. The structure was then registered with the SRC.
No Sabbath services took place, we just continued going to Mamelodi.
We took part in the Net 98 evangelistic series by Doug Batchelor.
Our First Sabbath
At the beginning of the second semester of 1999, a decision was taken to start worshiping on campus. I vividly remember that we were at a mid-week prayer session and Andries Legodi made an appeal that it was time for us to start worshiping on Campus – we have been going to Mamelodi for far too long.
We acquired a worship venue at the Theology building. Our first Sabbath Worship is a day to be remembered. We were joined by about 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. Sabbath school was to be prepared by the ladies. The theme for the day was “Christ Our Solid rock” led by the ladies. The preacher of the day was Sipho Mabena. Afternoon program was led by Lesego Mahlangu. Verspers was by Takalani Tshivhase.
And the Church Grew
From the very beginning, God has always had a special place for the Church at TUKS. From the very beginning He ensured that he sends us just the right people to assist us.
I do not think that it was an accident that this brother found himself in Pretoria at this time. He is a Capetonian who was then one of the Leaders of SDASA and the Lord ensured that He leads him to SDASM @Tuks. He had a vast experience in student leadership from UWC and Peninsual Technicon Churches. We invited him 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 stayed and ensured that he guides us. The idea of launching the Church officially came from Him.
Although we had passion, the church did not have a gift of singing. Elder Zantsi came with his sweet tenor voice and also lured two beautiful ladies – Zandi and Andiswa Batwali. Zandi and Andiswa were just what we needed. Always smiling and always happy with angelic voices, God sent them to Tuks for a purpose.
That Lord brought Elijah to SDASM@Tuks all the way from Kenya. He was an Adventist student leader and the Lord brought him to SDASM Tuks specifically for this project. A natural teacher with a vast knowledge of the Spirit of Prophecy
Anthony Maina Nderitu
The Lord knew we would need a Pastor. 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 a Pastor of SDASM@Tuks. At that time he was studying towards his Masters Degree then later his Phd through Unisa. Hailing from Kenya, you would have thought that the Conference would have employed him immediately but God had an assignment for him at Tuks and in Medunsa. A mild-toned preacher who never shouts, He preached many thought-provoking sermons at SDASM@Tuks that I still remember even today as though they were preached last week. Sermons like “What is a Church?”, “What is the Sabbath?”, “Internalising principle” and many more
Uncle T (Pastor Mongwe)
This was another vessel that God used. The genesis of Tuks coincided with one of the most challenging times in our conference – the dismissal of Pastor Mongwe. Whilst most were thinking that Pastor Mongwe was being persecuted, God had a special project for him – Tuks. Together with Pastor Anthony, these were our 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 funny how in a small setting you see God’s spiritual gifts really at work. We had everything we needed Teaching, Preaching, Singing and 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 Chronicle – “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 fill work towards filling the Theology building Lecture Hall 2-25 on a normal Sabbath without visitor – Lesego Monana and Yamikami later called this Vision 2-25.
Uncle T stood to give his well wishes and he testified that as a pastor and minister sometimes you get a turn to also be ministered unto – Today is one of those day!
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
This was another year to remember. Joyce got married and she moved to Mamelodi full time. We were now making too much noise at the Theology building and they kindly asked us to leave. Our new Venue was what was known as the Kloostersal (now a Dining Hall for the Day Scholars). It was a much bigger venue of 250 capacity and it really gave us an impression that there was much bigger work to be done. This challenge was really intimidating. We were just a handful worshipers even with the new first that had just joined us like Fulufhelo Tshivhase, Chairmaine, Nthabi Phaswana, Edzani Netshifhefhe, Ponatshego Bojosi. There were other bretheren like Maluta Tshibubudze and Hangwi Mbedzi. We had 2 week of Prayers conducted by Boyce Mkhize and Pastor Gwala.
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 on 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 the SDASM@TUKS.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
-Gordon A. Eadie-
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
-Shannon L. Alder-
“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-