The spirit of Ubuntu has no boundaries. So said Pastor Oscar Eliezel of Jesus Christ Union Church when asked why he opted to launch an internet café at Site C aimed at providing free internet to the community and to teach residents basic computer skills – for free.
The 55-year-old Congolese pastor said the role of church leaders was not only to preach the word of God, but also to empower impoverished communities and offer them a helping hand.
He said he discovered that many township people, including the youth, lacked basic computer skills and that it had been an uphill battle for many of them to acquire jobs and better their lives.
One of the fundamental aims of the internet café was to assist pupils with their school work and allow them to use the internet for free when doing research or when they are applying for jobs, Mr Eliezel said.
He said even though his church was based in Parow and he was not a South African that did not dampen his desire to spread the spirit of Ubuntu and assist people who live in disadvantaged areas such as Site C which had a high number of unemployed young people, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.
Mr Eliezel said this was a pilot project and he wanted to see how effective it is going to be.
He said he could have donated food parcels to the community, but that was not going to help them find jobs or have skills that would boost their future prospects.
He believed that the tithe which was offered by the congregation to the church should not only be meant for the pastor, but should be used to uplift the community and challenged other pastors and church leaders to follow in his foot step and be a beacon of hope to those who are hopeless.
“I bought 20 computers and I’m paying the daily operational costs of the internet café from the tithe that is being offered by the congregation.
“We are going to train the community about how to use Microsoft PowerPoint, MS Word and emailing and internet.
“We are living in a world where everything is about technology and we need to equip our people with much-needed skills in order for them to be employable.
“I might not be South African, but I’m an African and I can’t stand and watch my fellow brothers and sisters suffer while I have a bit of means to help them.
“I know this is a drop in the ocean, but for some of the people it means a lot,” he said.
Mr Eliezel called on young and old to grab this opportunity with both hands.
Ndibulele Wababa, who assists the pastor, said this was a once in a lifetime opportunity presented to the community and urged people to make use of it.
”As time goes on we will ask those who would be attending some of our training to assist us with anything so that we can reduce the burden on the shoulders of the pastor.
“And we appeal to the community as well to support this initiative with whatever they have because an idle mind is the devil’s playground,” he said.