Most of the Mukhanyo staff are deeply committed to church and welfare work in addition to their full-time or part-time roles at Mukhanyo. Many lecturers are regularly preaching, incorporating what they are teaching their students on weekdays.
Mukhanyo is blessed again this year with a roster of highly qualified visiting professors. We also welcome several more lecturers, both full-time and part-time, to the Mukhanyo team.
Rev. Paul Mahlangu is quiet and peaceful when you see and talk with him. But when lecturing, preaching or mentoring, Rev. Mahlangu changes into a passionate enthusiastic speaker driven by the Word of God.
Rev. Mahlangu is a lecturer at Mukhanyo’s KwaMhlanga campus, this year teaching Biblical Worldview. On Sundays, he preaches at an independent church which he is busy planting in KwaMhlanga, where he has lived most of his life. During the week, he also mentors about 45 students at five distance groups in and around KwaMhlanga.
Farewell and Welcome
Dr Gerrit Heino who served on Mukhanyo’s team for nearly six years, has now retired and plans to return to the Netherlands. He was sent to Mukhanyo by the Dutch Gereformeerde Zendings Bond as well as his church and Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education. His term was supposed to be for four years but was extended to six, during which time he developed study guides for four Christian Teacher modules.
Over and above authoring these modules, Gerrit also lectured in theology at the diploma and degree levels, served at the Pretoria Campus, and was the programme manager of Mukhanyo’s School of Education. Back home with his wife, Gerrit hopes to remain involved with some of Mukhanyo’s education programmes, inducing the development of more education modules.
This year’s Opening Ceremony took place 17 January 2022 at the KwaMhlanga Campus where Dr Anton Knoetze, pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church of Secunda, addressed the entire Mukhanyo staff. He emphasised the need to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
From no identity to being worthy in Christ
Victor Vythalingum Pillay was born in 1957, in a semi-ghetto in Overport, Durban. Descendant from a family of indentured labourers on the coastal sugar cane fields and before that from Chennai, Tamil Nadu in India.
His religion was grounded in Hinduism and the practical rituals of Kavady (a procession in the streets of people under the spell of spiritism, piercings and the carrying of wooden structures adorned with flowers, brass milk containers, lime and artefacts), sacrifices of animals, the worship of icons and many other Hindu practices.
At around 9 years old he attended the Sunday School of a full-gospel church. Such was the enthusiasm that he and his friends ventured to other churches as well. They ended in a Reformed church Sunday school and eventually Victor was catechised. These early teachings made the gospel message very clear for them.
His real commitment came at the age of 20 at a youth camp. He was baptised and, by the Lord’s grace, mercy and guidance, became the only Christian at home. But after many years of toiling in prayer, his entire family came to the Lord. His dad gave his heart to the Lord at 66 years old.
After serving the Lord through all aspects of church services, the call of the Lord weighed heavy upon his heart. Sustenance was the key question for his wife and son. However, one day at about 2 AM he read Mark 4:13 ff. Verse 19 hit him square in his heart and mind, challenging all his concerns.
His theological academic journey started in 1989 at the University of KwaZulu Natal with BTh (Hons) and MTh Degrees, while serving the Lord in the Reformed Church in Africa (RCA) – Emmanuel Durban – for 27 years in lay- and full-time ministry. As the first clerk of the international executive of the Reformed Ecumenical Synod for five years, he was able to travel and minister in many countries.
Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Missiology at the University of Pretoria whilst serving the RCA Charisma congregation in Laudium, Pretoria from 2007 until today, with the full active support of his wife and two sons.
“The Lord has also granted me the privilege to serve the Mukhanyo Theological College as a part-time lecturer for a few years and from January 2021 as a senior lecturer”, says Dr Pillay. “Trusting the Lord to keep my family and me in the centre of His mission and ministry”, he concludes.
Three additional lecturers will join the Mukhanyo team in 2021. But more full-time lecturers are still needed, with several positions open to start from July 2021 or January 2022.
Three New Lecturers
On 28 November, the Board of Directors approved recommendations from the Management Team to appoint three additional lecturers:
In addition to these three new lecturers, we also welcome several new part-time and visiting lecturers who now serve on Mukhanyo’s team at the various regional centres. As of January 2021, there will be more than 30 committed church leaders serving on Mukhanyo’s faculty. More information about our gifted and experience faculty is found at https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/lecturers.html.
Mukhanyo is still seeking to fill two academic positions: a Campus Manager and a Programme Manager. These appointments were delayed by the pandemic in 2020 but the plan is to fill them before the third quarter of 2021. More information about these open positions is found at https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/vacancies.html.
More Lecturers Needed
More full-time lecturers are also still needed to serve the students in our five regional centres. The academic selection committee will continue reviewing and testing applicants in 2021. More than 75 applications were received in the past year for teaching positions. Mukhanyo is seeking for lecturers with faithful ministry experience, consistent Christian character, and sound biblical confession.
Each faculty member subscribes to the teachings of the Christian faith as expressed in the Mukhanyo Statement of Faith and several historical confessions. The Bible, as summarised by these sources, is the foundation of our biblical perspective, our value system, our motivation for ministry, and our curricular content.
To Work for the Lord You Need to Know Him
After working for the Lord in ministry for almost two decades (1985 to 2003), Pastor Paul Mahlangu came to realise that he didn’t properly understand the Bible, hence the work he was doing for the Lord was not properly done. He then started his theological studies at Mukhanyo. Today he’s one of Mukhanyo’s fulltime lecturers.
The great turning point in Pastor Paul’s life was when he got the opportunity to study reformed theology. That was after having been involved in ministry for so many years – without a proper understanding of the work of the ministry.
Born in Bethal, he moved to what was then called the KwaNdebele homeland where he matriculated at the Mandlethu High School. He had been brought up in the Zion Apostolic Church, a syncretistic church. “That church never preaches salvation”, he says.
Upon Paul’s arrival in KwaNdebele, he came across people who were preaching salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, he was converted, became a child of God and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ. That’s where he became involved in his church’s ministry, preaching through tent meetings all across South Africa all these years. Today he’s also pastor of this church in KwaMhlanga.
While doing this ministry, he came to realise that he had been working for the Lord but without proper understanding. He needed to study. In 2004 he heard about Mukhanyo and decided to register. He completed his BTh degree in 2007 and then his Honours degree in 2009.
At present, Pastor Paul lectures mostly Homiletics modules with the diploma-level classes. He’s also involved in the new Focus programme and distance Higher Certificate classes. In addition, he’s busy with Zulu-language Bible study classes in three nearby villages. At times, he has also lectured Ecclesiology, African Spirituality and Old Testament.
What are his future plans? Pastor Paul answers, “To reduce my workload so that I can further my studies and do a Masters in Theology”.
With the death of Rev. Ben Fourie, 59, pastor of the Reformed Church Kameeldrift, on May 2, Mukhanyo has lost a unique, big and loyal friend and lecturer. He is survived by his wife Susan and his three sons and a daughter. Our condolences go to them and all the family.
Rev. Ben lectured Hebrew at Mukhanyo since 1997. But because of health problems since 2010, he found it increasingly difficult to be involved as much as he desired. He was strongly of the opinion that knowledge of biblical languages must be used to open up the treasures of God’s Word. However, his fight with health challenges did not prevent him to live fully the life God gave him.
When the doctors advised him to slow down and recommended to terminate his work at Mukhanyo, he declined to do so because, as he stated, he loved his work at Mukhanyo and its people which gave him so much joy and satisfaction.
He was a many talented man, exceptionally well-read in theology and classical languages, but also able to play nine musical instruments. Rev. Ben had a beautiful baritone voice and always enjoyed a joke. He was a leader in his congregation, at church synods, with youth camps, and in many other ways.
We at Mukhanyo will miss him as a colleague, friend and servant of the Lord. We thank the Lord for what He gave us through Rev Ben.
New additions to the lecturing staff, Dr John Span and his wife Anne, were supposed to have arrived soon to join Mukhanyo respectively as lecturer and teacher. But COVID-19 put a spanner in their plans. However, they still hope to be able to join the Mukhanyo family before the start of the second semester, the Lord willing.
As visiting lectures, the Spans were giving classes and helped out at Mukhanyo in KwaMhlanga earlier this year before they returned to their home country, Canada. They enjoyed being at KwaMhlanga so much that when the Mukhanyo Board called on them to join Mukhanyo on a more permanent basis, they accepted. After most things were in order and ready for travel, the pandemic made it impossible. Now they sit and wait for the earliest opportunity to come to South Africa. God willing, they will be here soon.
With his reformational theological background, Dr John describes himself as a global mission capacity builder with three main passions: (1) to see the name of Jesus Christ held in high honour; (2) to learn, teach and build capacity; and (3) to equip people and organisations to thrive.
Dr John’s background has equipped him with cross-cultural experience and evangelistic approaches. He completed his PhD at the John Calvin Faculty in France where he studied evangelistic strategies. From 2000 to 2011 he worked as an administrator and evangelist in Guinea, after which he became vice-principal of the Alexandria School of Theology in Egypt.
His wife Anne is an English teacher, especially with students for whom English is a second language. That is what she hopes to do at Mukhanyo, in addition to work as a writer coordinator.
Let’s pray that Dr John and Anne will be able to join the Mukhanyo family soon. The biggest hurdle at this time is the lockdown on international travel.