“The Pastor Knox Ngulube that I knew”

Whenever he phoned me his standard greeting to me was “vakuru vaye” to which we would both burst out laughing before we got down to the business of the call.  I first met Pastor Knox Ngulube, ironically in South Africa, though we were both citizens of Zimbabwe more than 22 years ago. It was at the then AFM Corpus Christi which would then evolve into AFM Midrand Impact Christian Church under the then leadership of Pastor Antoneitte and Dr Dennis LJ Erasmus which became our spiritual home. Over the years our relationship would graduate from acquaintances to eventually family through various interconnectedness.

In our early days in the Republic of South Africa many of us felt like passengers at a bus stop waiting to travel back to our home in Zimbabwe once the dust settled. We would occasionally meet to reminisce about the good old days. Back then there was a general feeling back home that most exiles were renegades because we had abandoned our motherland in favour of a life in diaspora. Pastor Knox would eventually make RSA home for him and his family bringing up all his 3 boys in the Republic.

Despite his demur and posture Pastor Knox was fiercely patriotic. Unlike many of us who were highly opinionated and occasionally verbalized what we thought should happen in Zimbabwe his approach was entirely different. He was of the firm belief that the problems of the nation were largely spiritual and had to be dealt with in this realm. For many weeks he would champion that we meet weekly to pray for the nation. For many days under his leadership we persisted in prayer and I still believe many of the things that started manifesting in the physical were partly due to the strongholds that were tumbling down in prayer. He believed the pastor as a servant of God must speak truth to power like Nathan at a time when most of the church leadership was compromising the gospel to ingratiate themselves to politicians. During the difficult economic times he supported the idea of our church to provide financial and material support particularly to rural pastors in Zimbabwe and orphanages such Manhinga Village.

Pastor Knox also believed that we should fully integrate in the communities we found ourselves in rather than maintain a separatist lager enclave in our host nation. He believed the church was always supposed to be multi-cultural and multi-ethnic where everyone could feel welcome. He took up the mantra of “the whole church, taking the whole gospel to the whole world” and supported the missional nature of the church. We always used to laugh that there would not be Manyika enclave (in jest to me when I always proclaimed this was the language of heaven) in heaven let alone a Zimbabwean one. So to him it was important to get along with all cultures and races while here on earth as a miniature preparation for our final heavenly settlement. It was one reason why English was used as a language of preaching so as to include everyone. When there was economic and political upheavals in Zimbabwe with many citizens pouring across the Limpopo he supported the migrant community to build sustainable livelihoods and was part of an ecosystem which provided a supportive architecture.

Knox was ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 2002 with Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa and served faithfully as a co-pastor in AFM Midrand Impact together with Pastor Antoneitte and Dr Dennis LJ Erasmus. Pastor Knox was the Senior Pastor of AFM Sandton whose establishment we fully supported, and was initially planted as a branch assembly of Midrand Impact and later received autonomy.

He was very strong in delivering evangelistic sermons and once you gave him a microphone he would let it loose sometimes forgetting about time. He believed in the sanctity of the family unit and would work on and support reconciliation and unity for families in distress. He also had a prayer and deliverance ministry which helped many to be restored to full life in the Lord. Pastor Knox like Paul in the bible believed in “tent making”. Together with his late wife sister Margaret through their then recruitment agency, he was responsible for placing many people in formal jobs particularly the technically qualified, in international companies. He was sensitive to the prophetic and moved in the ministry of dreams and visions. He was strong in counselling given his great listening skills and helped many people in this regard.

He fought many battles in his life but I cannot forget his last battle with infirmity. When I visited him during his painful days in a Fourways hospital I said to him we had a battle on our hands and he had to fight. He agreed with me and boy did he fight. I can therefore conclude without fear of equivocation, the scripture 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.

There will no longer be anymore “vakuru vaye” at the other end of the line, as Pastor Knox joins the cloud of witnesses Apostle Paul speaks of in Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

Former Board Secretary -AFM Impact Midrand

Lovemore Tafirenyika Makunike

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