Pastor Zondo tells of how his siblings died from malnutrition

Archbishop Stephen Zondo of RLW tells of how his siblings died on malnutrition


WATCH: “It pained us to see them dying.”

Based on his childhood hardships, Archbishop Stephen Zondo of Rivers of Living Waters Ministries International (RLW), wanted to change the lives of the poor because he loved helping, counselling, encouraging and healing people.

Although it has been decades, he still recalls clearly the dreadful episode of the unbearable death of his two siblings. He says he still remembers the gurgling sounds coming from their chests as their souls departed their bodies.

Zondo’s family was among those who were subjected to racial segregation, resulting in the slaughtering of their cattle and horses by “the Afrikaners”, which left them poverty stricken.

Due to poverty, they went to bed without food and suffered from malnutrition, triggering the death of his two siblings.

“It pained us to see them dying. We didn’t know what was happening because we heard a child cry and all of a sudden there was silence. You could hear mama was crying but she didn’t want to cry out so that we could hear her. When she walked out she was sad,” said Zondo.

“Our mouths would turn pinkish because they said we were malnourished. To eat we had to go into the field to catch some birds. It was pap and birds that we were eating. The best meal that we would eat was potatoes, mixed with cabbage. If we needed anything like meat we had to go and hunt,” Zondo remembers.

Zondo was born in a farm in Heilbron, Free State, but his family migrated to different places. Lastly to Evaton. “This happened after the Afrikaners killed my father’s cattle and horses. It actually pained us and we decided to leave.”

Archbishop Bafana Stephen Zondo at his church in Evaton near Vereeniging. Picture: Alaister Russell

Archbishop Bafana Stephen Zondo at his church in Evaton near Vereeniging. Picture: Alaister Russell

He said a black man’s cattle would be killed for accidentally grazing on “white people’s” land. To prevent the killing “you would give them to the whites. They killed everything, even dogs. That made us bitter and to hate white people. But we were healed by the Bible and were able to forgive”.

His father had to find a job far away from home and could not send money to his family for reasons unknown to them. Based on his experience, Zondo wanted to change the lives of the poor by becoming a medical doctor because he loved helping, counselling and healing people.

“I wanted the ways and means of how to ease pain on people’s lives; to make people who are under the poverty line to cross over that, because after our cattle were killed we experienced hardship and poverty until 1978.”

Zondo drew near to God because he wanted “this God who can change the situation that I was living in. I wanted ways to help others not to suffer the way our siblings did”. He found hope in the Bible and realised that following God’s laws brings blessings. He rejected pastoring because pastors “were poor and I did not like it”.

“It was like when you have a calling from God you are less important than others.” In 1978 he gave his life to Jesus Christ in the Apostolic Faith Mission and later studied at Rhema Training Centre in Randburg.

He watched American Pentecostal pastors like Jimmy Lee Swaggart on TV, and yearned to see the manifestation of the “God that is served by these white people” in his own township.

Though he did not want to be a pastor he used to pray that “if I become a preacher I want to become like him (Swaggart). I would say one day I will preach in the stadiums and fill-up the stadiums just like Jimmy Swaggart. I had this thing, but why is God using only white people. Why not black people. I wanted to serve Him so that he can use me.”

Today Zondo preaches the gospel to multitudes in stadiums and performs miracles through God’s Word.